Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end charged in the murder of an associate, was not allowed by Massachusetts jail officials to watch the AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.
“When somebody with any kind of fame comes in, there are already wise guys who try to improve their own stature by hurting him,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson was quoted by the The Associated Press as saying. “We don’t want to have any problems.”
He’s been held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction in North Dartmouth after he was charged in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player.
Hodgson said that Hernandez isn’t allowed to watch TV at all because he is separated from the other inmates due to his fame.
“My job is care and custody. First and foremost, we have to be concerned about the safety of the inmate and the officers,” Hodgson said. “I can’t put this guy in a vulnerable situation where there are people who would like to prove they’re more important.”
In last year’s AFC Championship game, Hernandez caught nine passes for 83 yards in a New England loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
He is allowed outside his cell for three hours per day but never at the same time as the other inmates.
“I’ve spoken to him about it, and he understands it,” Hodgson told AP. “I’m not going to tell you that he enjoys it all the time.”
He added: “Of course, we recognize that everyone’s innocent until proven guilty. But also a judge doesn’t feel like you’re able to be in the community on bail. I don’t make those decisions to send people to our institution, but when they get there, I have a responsibility to make sure they’re safe, they’re fed.”
Hernandez is mostly confined to a 7-by-10-foot cell, which has a bed, desk, and a toilet and sink.
“It’s a big transition from a 7,000-square-foot home to a 70-square-foot cell,” said Hodgson, according to CNN. “There’s no walking from room to room — it’s pretty confining.”
According to TMZ, none of Hernandez’s former Patriots teammates have visited him while he’s been in jail.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.