Geraldo, Limbaugh decry NFL's gang problem following Hernandez arrest

Aaron Hernandez stands with his attorney during his arraignment last Wednesday. (USATSI)
It's official, everyone has now weighed in on Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. On Friday, Geraldo Rivera and Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves to share their thoughts on the matter.

Rivera, appearing on Fox News, denounced the what he thinks is the NFL's gang culture and "jungle ethos."


"(Hernandez's) got the gang tattoos all over him," Rivera began.  "(The killing of Odin Lloyd) wasn't even in the heat of passion. It wasn't a beef over a girlfriend. What it was is, 'You have offended my macho pride. Now I'm going to, y'know, do this kind of, jungle ethos. I'm gonna to hunt you down; I'm gonna kill you. How dare you disrespect me?' I mean, so many youngsters from the inner city, from the ghetto go down that road where meaningless deaths just pile up, like in Chicago with this whole gang thing."

Rivera continued: "I don't know why the league who recruits these kids from the inner city, how they don't have minders, how the agents who are collecting 10 percent of $40 million ... Where are they in all of this?  Why aren't they mentoring these young men who are fatherless, many of them -- Ray Lewis and all of the rest. Michael Vick. You can count them.  There's a ton of them. They sign them because they're superb athletes and doing nothing to preserve their character and put them on the right road."

As PFT's Michael David Smith points out, Rivera doesn't have all his facts straight. Hernandez grew up in a middle-class subdivision in Bristol, Conn., and he wasn't technically "fatherless." Hernandez's father died unexpectedly when he was 16 and it reportedly had a big effect on him. The NFL also has programs in place to help players, starting with the rookie symposium.

Limbaugh then added his two cents.

"It's almost like he's saying that the NFL is a contest between the Crips and the Bloods," Limbaugh noted, referring to his 2007 comments in which -- you guessed it -- he compared the NFL to a contest between the Crips and Bloods. "It's almost like Geraldo is saying the gang culture has taken over the NFL. And he's probably not going to get in any trouble for that."

On Friday, officials were examining Hernandez's tattoos for symbols that might suggest possible gang affiliations. This prompted Limbaugh to observe: "This guy is a star player in the National Football League, a star player for the New England Patriots. This has the potential to blow the lid open on the NFL and gangs and the whole concept."

But no conversation about the NFL would be complete without a mention of Tim Tebow. Cue Rivera one more time:

“Ironically a college classmate at the University of Florida of Tim Tebow -- ironic, why? Because Tim Tebow, probably the most religious, straight-shooting ballplayer in the league. And Aaron Hernandez, a kid, an ex-hoodlum. You can take the kid out of the hood, you can’t take the hood out of the kid. He was a Bristol Blood, he was a gang banger.”

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CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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