10 episodes

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. 

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. Wondery

    • Football

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. 

    Introducing The Lead: A Daily Sports Podcast

    Introducing The Lead: A Daily Sports Podcast

    wondery.fm/TheLead

    The Lead is a daily sports podcast from Wondery and The Athletic. Every weekday morning, The Lead brings you sports stories of the day from The Athletic’s team of local and national sports reporters. Stories like “Where did the 49ers new star running back, Raheem Mostert, come from?” or “What can Zion Williams do for the Pelicans?”

    • 6 min
    Playing Through Pain | 8

    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?

    • 32 min
    Interview | 7

    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.

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    • 23 min
    Beauty & Violence | 6

    Beauty & Violence | 6

    In life, Aaron Hernandez weighed 240 pounds. In death, the most important part of his body was just over 3 pounds. When researchers analyzed his brain they were shocked by what they found. A lifetime of football had seemingly taken a tremendous toll, but could it explain his violent crimes?

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    Zip Recruiter - Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ziprecruiter.com/gladiator

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    • 32 min
    Erasing Aaron | 5

    Erasing Aaron | 5

    With his arrest, Hernandez traded in his jersey number for an inmate number in the Massachusetts prison system. His voice was rarely heard from again in public -- but he spent hours talking on the phone from inside jail. Spotlight obtained ninety hours of jail calls -- never before heard publicly -- that provide an intimate look at his life and mind in the period before his first murder trial.

    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




    Support us by supporting our sponsors!

    Zip Recruiter - Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ziprecruiter.com/gladiator

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    • 41 min
    The Patriot Way | 4

    The Patriot Way | 4

    Aaron Hernandez was enjoying success on the field, but in his third season with the Patriots, the fragile balance of his life tipped. There were people who cared for him trying to intercede, from an old girlfriend to his teammates. But no one could successfully help him escape from violence, drugs, and extortion attempts.

    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




    Subscribe to American Scandal today: wondery.fm/scandal

    Support us by supporting our sponsors!

    Zip Recruiter - Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ziprecruiter.com/gladiator

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    • 43 min

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