Aaron Hernandez and the 10 Biggest Scandals in Patriots History
Does anyone besides me think this Aaron Hernandez investigation gets weirder as days go by and we don’t hear anything? I mean I get that the investigators’ first stops were Club Desire and the Cadillac Lounge. Because I’ve never once seen a cop show where they could crack a case without first going into a strip club and asking questions. Then they took the mystery box of stuff out of his house. Then they came back with the dogs. Then they came again and pulled all sorts of evidence bags out of the place. Then they searched a pond. (Note: Between the titty bars, the dogs and the swimming, investigating Aaron Hernandez sounds like more fun than my vacations.)
But that’s it? I mean, they supposedly issued an arrest warrant for the guy on Friday. It’s now late on Tuesday. And all they’ve got for us is more plastic bags of mysterious clues? Is he going to be arrested? Is he a suspect? Is it like his agent says, that everything we’ve heard is wrong? Because I try not to believe much of what I read, but I haven’t believed a word that’s come out of a sports agents mouth since “I don’t like black people? I am Mister black people.” But like I said, the more time passes without any kind of concrete development… like, y’know, an actually arrest or something… the stranger this gets. It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.
A week ago, this looked like it would easily the biggest scandal in Patriots history. And that is a long and distinguished list. So what the hell. While we’re waiting for something to actually happen, here’s a ranking of the 10 Biggest Scandals in Patriots History. Not the controversies, fights or just general weirdness… that would take a book. I’m talking about just the full blown scandals that dominated the news and embarrassed the organization:
10. Dave Meggett Serial RapistGate, 1998-2009
Ordinarily a guy with Meggett’s resume would rank higher on this list. In ’99 he was in a Toronto hotel room with his buddy, 3-waying a hooker, the way best friends do. But when Meggett’s rubber broke, things went kind of sideways. The escort in question told him to shut down and re-Jimmy Hat himself. Instead, he smacked her in the head, finished his business, then took his money back. His lawyers argued that when you have sex with a whore without paying, it’s more shoplifting than actual rape and a jury agreed so he was acquitted. He later beat a rap of raping his ex while he was working as a director of Parks & Rec in NC, like a sexually deviant Ron Swanson, But his hot streak ended in ’09 when he was convicted of breaking into a college girls’ home and sexually assaulting her and he was sentenced to 30 years. The only reason he’s not higher on the list is he’ll always be considered more of a NY Giant than a Pat. It would be like pinning the OJ murders on the 49ers.
Gate-o-Meter Rating (Scale of 1-10): 2
9. Ty Law’s EcstacyGate, 2000
After an overtime win in Buffalo in a blizzard, the Patriots gave permission for Law and WRs Troy Brown and Terry Glenn to skip the team flight so long as they were back in Foxboro for team meetings the next day. Law used his shore leave time to shoot over to Canada with some chick. At 5:30 in the morning he was crossing back over the Rainbow Bridge (literally… that’s not some kind of drug euphemism) when US Customs searched his bag and found 3 whole Ecstacy pills and 4 crushed ones. Law got out of it with the “Dog ate my homework” excuse of International Drug Smuggling, “That bag belongs to my cousin.” Which became even funnier years later when he was trying to squeeze an extension out of the Patriots by accusing Bill Belichick of being a big, fat liar.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 3
8. Monday Night FootballGate, 1976
This was the one where Patriots fans made national news with a complete breakdown of the societal order. The town of Foxboro learned the hard way that the people who start boozing it up at 9 AM for a 1 o’clock start, will, when the game is at 9PM will start hitting the sauce at… 9AM. As the Pats took a 41-7 lead, the crowd went all Lord of the Flies. There were 60 arrests. A cop’s gun got stolen. A guy had a heart attack in the stands, and someone took a piss on the EMT while he was performing CPR. 35 people ended up in the hospital. So many drunken shitbags were taken into custody the cops ran out of places to put them so they handcuffed a line of them to a chain link fence. After a repeat in 1980, it would be 20 more years before they hosted another Monday Nighter.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 4
7. Tie: BuffaloGate and PlaneGate, 1978 and 1996
Two great coaches. Two very successful seasons18 years apart. Two major controversies where said coaches had already taken other jobs and were doing work for their future employers while on the clock for the Pats. The ’78 Pats were winning the first division title in team history while Chuck Fairbanks was in his office calling recruits for the U of Colorado job he’d already taken. The Pats were going to the Super Bowl while Bill Parcells was putting his staff and roster together for the Jets job he’d already taken. Fairbanks was fired on the spot and later rehired for the playoff game, but he’d lost the team and the Pats were blown out. Parcells skipped the flight back with the rest of his team, and after months of denying he was going to New York, wound up in New York. And in both instances, the Patriots got progressive worse in the years following. History repeating itself.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 5
6. Terry Glenn PissGate, 1998
I could argue Glenn’s whole existence is one big scandal. The waste of talent. Dogging it. The fake injuries. The time he got caught doing 85 through a neighborhood on Thanksgiving morning, hammered. The time he ran a lady and her baby off the road in his Mercedes because he was 3 hours late for practice. But I’ll go with the time he grabbed some chick’s boob at the Palace in Saugus, and when that did win her heart, he peed on her limo. Because peeing is funny.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 5.5
5. MoshGate, 1997
Drew Bledsoe, Scott Zolak and Max Lane were at the Paradise to see Everclear. The band invited them onstage, where all 800lbs of them did stage dives into the mosh pit. Among the fans who caught them was Tameeka Messier, who caught them with her head, neck and spinal column. Apparently not clear on the concepts of Grunge bands, mosh pits, NFL players or gravity, she needed major surgery and- surprise! – sued. The suit not only cost the band, the club and the players almost a million bucks, it cost Bledsoe a major chunk of his mojo as every self-important, sanctimonious crank in New England called into talk shows to bitch about him. “What’s he doing out running around drunk in a club at all hours? Doesn’t he have young kids at home? He’s supposed to be a good guy! Blah bitty blah….”
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 6
4. KnifeGate, 1985
Irving Fryar was another guy who’s whole Patriots career was one continuous scandal. He got his shit together years later, but here he was a constant trainwreck. Like Roger Clemens with HGH, Fryar didn’t find Jesus until after he left town. For example there was the time he racked up his car on Rte 1 speeding away from the stadium. At half time. There are lots of such Irving stories, but his Citizen Kane happened the week of the AFC Championship Game in Miami. He missed the team flight on Wednesday because he said he cut his pinkie finger with a kitchen knife. Right. Because he had a reputation for being quite the foodie. Anyway, the cut was severe enough to keep him out of the game. By Friday, the truth was out: He and his wife Jacquelyn were out at a restaurant, had a fight, and he didn’t let a little thing like the fact she was 5 months pregnant keep him from giving her a little of the old Strong Pimp Hand. She retaliated by stabbing him with a knife. He eventually did make it down to Miami but the team decided he was useless and sent him home.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 7
3. DrugGate, 1986
Despite having Fryar back on the field for Super Bowl XX vs Chicago, the Patriots had their heads handed to them. Those Bears were the best team I’ve ever seen, but still it didn’t make any sense that the Pats could’ve looked so bad. I mean, they were a decent team. No one could figure out how they could be so gawdawful. For one day anyway. By Tuesday, it was becoming clearer. We woke up that morning to a Globe expose on the rampant, hard core drug problem on the team. Ray Berry admitted that at least a dozen players were riding the white pony and at least 5: former No. 1 pick Ken Sims, Ray Clayborn, Roland James, Stephon Starring and starting RB Tony Collins had “serious” drug problems. It was so bad, the players voted to have mandatory testing, even though it was against the league CBA rules. But after the names got out, they felt confidentiality had been betrayed and rescinded the vote. A while later, Collins almost OD’ed when his heart rate went up to something ridiculous like 360 beats a minute. The team itself pretty much did die at that point and weren’t remotely competitive for another 9 or so years.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 8
2. SpyGate, 2007
I’ll go to my grave saying this was the most ridiculously overblown “scandal” in the history of the world. A molehill that was turned into the Himalayas. But there’s no leaving it off the list when it was the subject of congressional hearings, cost your coach a half million dollars and your team a 1st round draft pick.
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 9
1. PenisGate, 1990
It was the early days of women reporters in the locker room. And Pats tight end Zeke Mowatt welcomed them with open arms. Unfortunately those arms were holding the ends of his towel when he walked up to Herald reporter Lisa Olsen, waved his dick in her face and said “You wanna bite this?” Oddly enough, it took a day or two for the story to gain any traction with the public. But when someone asked Patriots owner/Electric razor tycoon/Blithering idiot Victor Kiam for a statement, rather than let the story die, by saying nothing, he offered up this little gem: “I’ve heard this Lisa Olsen is a classic bitch.” He didn’t just shoot himself in the foot, he dropped a nuke on his shoes. Thereby turning a story about one creep asking a woman to bite his penis into a national dialogue on sex, sports and male dominated something-or-others. What cable news shows there were at the time were all over it. Talk shows like Oprah couldn’t talk about anything else. There was outrage from every direction and Kiam was taking such withering fire that the NFL stepped in and basically forced him to sell the team. Eventually it lead to the new owner cleaning house, bringing in Parcells and in time, selling to Mr. Kraft and the rest is history. But it took the biggest scandal in Pats history to get all that done. (Note: Thank you, Zeke. And from all of us, thanks to your penis.)
Gate-o-Meter Rating: 10
Obviously if Hernandez ever actually gets charged with anything, he’s got the chance to take the top spot on this list. But I have to admit, I long for the days when the biggest controversy we had to deal with was Brigit Moynahan’s EPT results and Wes Welker cracking foot jokes. @JerryThornton1