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Cover image of Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc.

All episodes are available for free, with ad-free episodes available for Wondery+ subscribers.Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes.From Wondery, the podcast team that brought you Dr. Death, Spotlight asks: Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control?Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game. 

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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Hail Mary | 1

When Aaron Hernandez was found hanging from a bedsheet in a maximum security prison cell in Massachusetts, he joined a growing number of former football players who’d taken their own lives. But he was the only one who left a trail of bodies in his wake. Spotlight investigates how Hernandez’s personal life spiralled out of control even as he rocketed to NFL stardom. His teammates on the Patriots were never sure whether he was a goofball who took a special kind of thrill in unnerving them, or whether he was truly dangerous.For more information on issues raised by this series, including suicide prevention, mental health, LGBTQ+ support, and concussion and sports safety, here is a list of support groups and educational organizations.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. Support us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

35mins

15 Oct 2018

Rank #1

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Bristol | 2

Aaron Hernandez was an exceptional athlete from an early age, a star in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut. His father was a charismatic ex-athlete still known by his high school nickname, “The King.” He ruled the Hernandez home through fear, and a strong opinion of how he believed his two sons were supposed to act. The long shadow of Aaron’s upbringing -- and his childhood secrets -- would hover over him his entire life.For more information on issues raised by this series, including suicide prevention, mental health, LGBTQ+ support, and concussion and sports safety, here is a list of support groups and educational organizations.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/gladiatorSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

35mins

15 Oct 2018

Rank #2

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Gator Nation | 3

Aaron Hernandez was one of eight players who graduated high school early to join the powerhouse University of Florida football team. Six of them would go on to play in the NFL. Forget the senior prom, it was time to learn a playbook as thick as a dictionary. But perhaps the most important lesson he learned was after he got into a bar fight his freshman year: when you're a football player, actions don’t always have consequences.For more information on issues raised by this series, including suicide prevention, mental health, LGBTQ+ support, and concussion and sports safety, here is a list of support groups and educational organizationsListen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/gladiatorSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

35mins

23 Oct 2018

Rank #3

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Playing Through Pain | 8

The New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl again, and many current NFL players are feeling the physical toll the season has taken. Aaron Hernandez spoke to his former teammates nearly every day from prison: about the injuries they endured, and the drugs they took to dull the pain. Some of the drugs were legal, administered by the teams, but some drugs weren't. The drugs can help players remain on the field. But at what cost?Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/gladiatorSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

32mins

29 Jan 2019

Rank #4

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Interview | 7

Aaron Hernandez died in 2017 but his life still raises questions. On this special episode Liz Dolan, host of “Safe For Work” and “Satellite Sisters,” speaks with Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team about the making of Gladiator, and the one question he still wants answered.Listen ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/gladiatorSupport us by supporting our sponsors!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

23mins

20 Nov 2018

Rank #5