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
    • 4.8 • 13.1K Ratings

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. 

    Wondery Presents: Bunga Bunga

    Wondery Presents: Bunga Bunga

    Silvio Berlusconi was a charismatic multi-millionaire real-estate mogul who upended the Italian political order and hypnotized an entire nation. He was the longest-serving prime minister of one of the world’s wealthiest countries, until he was brought down by three powerful women - and two words: “Bunga Bunga.” From Wondery, the makers of Dirty John and The Shrink Next Door, and hosted by comedian Whitney Cummings, “Bunga Bunga” is an eight part series on the incredible true story of the rise and fall of Silvio Berlusconi, told with Whitney’s signature wit and style.

    Listen to Podcast: wondery.fm/Gladiator_BB

    • 5 min
    Playing Through Pain

    Playing Through Pain

    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/gladiator

    • 32 min
    Interview

    Interview

    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/gladiator




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    • 23 min
    Beauty & Violence

    Beauty & Violence

    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?




    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/gladiator




    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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    • 32 min
    Erasing Aaron

    Erasing Aaron

    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




    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/gladiator




    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

    Hims - Get a trial month for just $5 when you visit them at forhims.com/gladiator

    • 41 min
    The Patriot Way

    The Patriot Way

    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




    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/gladiator




    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

    Brooklinen - Get $20 and free shipping when you use promo code gladiator at brooklinen.com

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
13.1K Ratings

13.1K Ratings

soulfulblues ,

Not Just a Story

Humanized story of a young man that was gifted but so troubled.

stenellalong ,

Balanced story telling

I really like how there is no attempt to justify anything that happened with him, but try to show us everything that influenced how his journey turned out. Excellent narration.

DeeGram ,

Boston rag

Brian McGrory is a sexual deviant.

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