Aaron Hernandez is now a former New England Patriot, former in every sense of the word, having been scrubbed clean from the team's Web site and having his replica jersey the target of a "free exchange" campaign where Pats fans can swap out their "81 HERNANDEZ" joints for a comparable current Patriot's replica.
(For the record, "comparable" refers merely to the original price of the jersey, not to a human being of comparable caliber to Hernandez. That'd be impossible, as last I checked, O.J. Simpson was not a New England Patriot, and Satan never played football.)
But that's pro football for you. Once your usefulness runs out, they kick you to the curb, much like Hernandez allegedly kicked Odin Lloyd's lifeless body to the curb.
But college football is different. "Once a _____, always a _____" is the modus operandi, and for Hernandez, until he's proven guilty in a court of law, I would think that "Once a Gator, always a Gator" still applies, even for an alleged serial-killing thug who left after his junior year (and multiple failed drug tests along the way).
So for purposes of this story, Aaron Hernandez is still a Gator. Got it?
Because if he is still a Gator, then this allows me to say, "Boy, it sure is nice to have a crime story about a Florida Gator that doesn't involve killing people, ya know?"
In fact, this story of crime and a Florida Gator is the polar opposite crime story of every Hernandez story we've read in the past ten days, in every sense of the word, because if you had to draw up the criminal antithesis to a former All American tight end with possible gang ties murdering an acquaintance in a gangland-style execution and leaving the body to rot in an industrial park, it would probably be this:
Enter Grant Van Aman.
Van Aman is a walk-on, redshirt punter from Tampa heading into his second year at the University of Florida. Early Saturday morning, Van Aman was stopped by a Gainesville cop when he rolled through a stop sign in front of the officer's car as the officer was preparing to enter the intersection. Van Aman swerved to miss the car, regained control of his rig (well, of his scooter) and then pulled out his cell phone and put it to his ear.
At that point, the Gainesville officer flipped on his lights, pulled Van Aman over and followed him into a campus garage.
The full police report has the juicy details of a traffic stop full on comedy and (thankfully) light on homicide. The highlights: (NOTE: Anything in bold italics is a direct pull from the police report.)
1. The fact that Van Aman was driving a red scooter at the time of his arrest is a perfect metaphor. The "red scooter" is the "walk-on punter" of transportation modes. For the record, if football players were to get pulled over in the metaphorical modes of transportation that correspond with their positions, the conversion chart would look like this:
Quarterback :: BMW 7 series Running back :: Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Wide receivers :: Lamborghini Aventador Offensive lineman :: Cadillac Escalade Jadeveon Clowney :: Ironman suit Matt Schaub :: Carol Brady's blue station wagon Aaron Hernandez :: Anything rented from Enterprise Long snapper :: Smart car Walk-on punter :: Red scooter
2. It's unclear if Van Aman had an inbound call on his cell phone as he regained control of the scooter, or if he thought that three seconds after narrowly avoiding a collision with a police car was a good time to call home ("You guys won't believe what just happened...I almost drove my scooter into a cop car...but I missed!....Yeah, cray, right?"), right in front of the cop, no less. I don't know what Florida's laws are regarding hands-free requirements on cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, I just know that if they're the same as they are in Texas, they're much easier to avoid if you are doing so a) in a motor vehicle with a roof and walls and some semblance of cover (basically, anything that's not a scooter) and b) somewhere (anywhere?) other than within five feet of a cop that almost ran you over.
3. "The DEF had a very strong odor of alcoholic beverages about him." This was -20,000 in the "Traffic Stop Sports Book" at the Bellagio.
4. "I asked the DEF if he had been drinking. He first said yes and then changed his mind to no." Rule #1: If you say that you were drinking, and then change your mind to say you weren't drinking, then you were most definitely drinking.
5. Ofc Pirtle advised that the DEF told him that he had consumed two beers in Fat Daddy`s Bar. This is the part where I wish Charlie Weis was still on Will Muschamp's staff. "Fat Daddy's" is easy fodder. Damn you, Kansas.
6. Van Aman clearly has a hard time keeping his stories straight. Not only did he flip-flop on whether or not he'd been drinking earlier in the night, but when the officer asked him to recite the line off of his driver's license that assumes consent for sobriety testing, Van Aman said he didn't have his license...even though he had just provided it minutes before. Rule #2: If you try to avoid acknowledging the inherent sobriety testing consent of a Florida driver's license by saying you don't have your driver's license just minutes after showing it to the officer, then you've unwittingly actually conducted your own sobriety test. You're shitfaced.
7. The DEF again stated that he didn`t have it and placed his hands in his pockets. The DEF was asked to remove his hands. When he did, his driver`s license fell out of his pocket and onto the ground. Oh, there it is!
8. "The DEF read the [consent] statement but slurred his words and then told me that he didn`t know what that means." That sound you heard was U.S. News and World Report moving the University of Florida down 100 spots in their college and university rankings for 2013.
9. Just prior to me asking the DEF to read the statement, he informed me that he was a criminal justice major at U/F. Clearly, that's where Van Aman learned all of those sneaky tricks like saying he was drinking then he wasn't, and the one where he hides his license in his pocket (BRILLIANT!).
10. "The DEF stated that he had been at UF for a year, but when I asked what his address was, he didn`t know. The DEF stated that he didn`t know the address because he had never been to Gainesville before..." This is not as crazy at it sounds. Think about it: Johnny Manziel's been at A&M for almost two years and manages to go full semesters at a time without going to campus. The Internet makes anything possible! Either that or Van Aman is gonzo polluted at this point. Yeah, probably polluted. Continuing....
11. The Gainesville P.D. placed Van Aman under arrest due in large part to his "apparent lack of concentration and confusion." Thankfully, for Van Aman, I'm guessing this is at worst a misdemeanor case of confusion, not a felonious case of confusion.
12. Ultimately, Van Aman was issued DUI citation # 5039-XEA, and was also cited by Officer Pirtle for failure to stop at a stop sign.
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Obviously, not a great night for Van Aman and certainly not something the Gators were hoping for.
But hey, nobody died.
(h/t The Big Lead)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.