Dick Harmon: Paths of Aaron Hernandez, Dennis Pitta took drastically different turns

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 24, 2017 10:38 a.m.

    Salt Shaker, did we read the same article? Nowhere in this article did Harmon address gang affiliation, crime rate, or anything of the kind. He didn't say that Hernandez's father died because of gang affiliation, but from Hernia surgery. The quote from his mother said he had problems after his dad died. Didn't say what, problems he had.

    Go back and re-read the article.

    Hernandez obviously had problems.

  • SaltShaker33 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2017 9:28 a.m.

    This article is one of the most insensitive pieces of writing I’ve ever read. These two men grew up in different places, raised by different people, attended different schools, coached by different coaches - the only thing that strings these two men together is they both played football in both college and the NFL. Arron Hernandez grew up in Bristol, CT, one of the safest cities in the county, only having 21.44 crimes/1000 people, whereas, Fresno, CA, where Pitta grew up has a daunting crime rate of 48.42 crimes/1000 people. To claim that Hernandez grew up in a marginalized and crime saturated area is nonsense. Aaron’s father past away from surgery complications and not because of gang affiliated actions. Let’s not act like his father has everything to do with this. Yes, it is sad that he passed away when Aaron was so young, but maybe Aaron needed help with coping with the loss of his father? Maybe, just maybe, we could use this as an example of how younger people need help when it comes to mental health. Hernandez could have been battling a number of mental health issues after dealing with the death of his father.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 23, 2017 5:49 a.m.

    Great article, good comparison. Many valuable lessons here.
    The main one is that at the top football schools the tendency is to ignore poor / illegal Behavior in order to win. At BYU the athletes, come first and winning football games takes a backseat to helping young men become their best possible selves. What parents would not want to see their kids go to BYU

  • armchair quarterback DRAPER, UT
    April 21, 2017 11:25 p.m.

    @kkayel ...maybe you're a bit too quick to jump to the racism conclusion. To me it seems obvious that Dick is simply trying to draw another similarity between the two. Hernandez had ties to Puerto Rico, Pitta served a mission to the Dominican Republic. Just like their stats...2 countries right next to each other.

  • bigutefan Las Vegas, NV
    April 21, 2017 2:06 p.m.

    This is a ridiculous article. In summary, Pitta good, BYU great. Hernandez bad, Florida worst. Hope there is a follow up article Tebow good, Florida great. Max Hall bad, BYU horrible.

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    April 21, 2017 12:17 p.m.

    @ bleedcougarblue "Hernandez the better TE in college?"

    He played against much tougher competition. Not Pitta's fault; he's very good despite MWC-level competition.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    April 20, 2017 6:08 p.m.

    gdog3finally & xert

    Not interested in ice hockey, not interested in Alabama.

    I AM interested in all things BYU football, in most BYU sports personalities, in U of U sports personalities that have gone on to do good things.

    To many of us, xert, you're right. And the DN is my best source for that.

    gdog3finally, you're right too. I wish many of my fellow fans were less sensitive, less niaive, and less prone to visiting the Utah side with smack talk. But they're my fellow fans and we are united in feeling something different for our cougars than I really think any other fans can feel.

    It's the Deseret News. It IS the only place we'll get an article like this, and WE are the only fans that will really appreciate it for what it is.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    April 20, 2017 5:37 p.m.

    @ xert - Santa Monica, CA - April 20, 2017 7:15 a.m. - "Nothing is really sports news until it's contrasted or related to something involving BYU football or Jimmer Fredette, is it?"

    The article's comparisons to the 2 were spot on: similar positions (TE), productive college years for both, similar physical measurements, similar year drafted, somewhat similar success in the NFL, etc.

    So, the article is totally pertinent.

    Jealous much?

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    April 20, 2017 5:30 p.m.

    Article quote: "College career-wise, Pitta amassed 221 catches for 2,901 yards. Hernandez had 111 catches for 1,382 yards."

    Hernandez the better TE in college?

    Get real.

    Just another snub in the long history of snubs against BYU. Yes, really.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    April 20, 2017 4:59 p.m.

    Okay, now that I made my point about the silly foundation for this article, I will say that Dennis Pitta has an impressive football story. His college and NFL career has been an inspiring journey. Speaking for myself, I think football would be in my rearview mirror after two dislocated hip surgeries. Pitta has shown resilience and toughness. He could have taken the money and ran with it I suppose. He is earning his keep, restoring his professional career and putting up numbers.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    April 20, 2017 4:45 p.m.

    I really don't think this was a TE comparison more than a statement that decisions matter.

    This was the lesson in my reading of the article... I think it was written using someone familiar to a lot of us.

    It wasn't a BYU - UTAH article, it wasn't an ethnic bias article... Just a message that decisions matter using a few people we are all familiar with. Wouldn't read any more into it that that.

    Another message from the article, is be there for your children.... and Father's, while you have children, "be there at the cross roads of their lives." It makes a difference. But, I guess we read into things we want to.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    April 20, 2017 4:43 p.m.

    Well said. I wish a certain number of BYU fans would stop taking offense where none is needed. Sure, there are antagonists that enter these forums. But if these relative Cougar fans can't see how meaningless this article is despite Dennis Pitta being a good guy and all, then I think they will remain the ones who
    compare negative sports stories to fairy tale greatness at BYU. That said, I don't know how many fit this description, but I am still surprised at those who allow themselves to be pandered to by these articles. I quote xert; "nothing is really sports news until it's contrasted or related to something involving BYU football or Jimmer Fredette, is it?"

  • Schmonks San Clemente, CA
    April 20, 2017 4:09 p.m.

    What are weird article. Why on earth would you compare the tragedy that is Aaron Hernandez with Dennis pitta? I can al but guarantee you that if Dennis were to read this article he would be shaking his head with disgust.

    I think it's sad to tie a former BYU player to this tragedy simply to get a few more clicks. Time to really raise your standards and not look for cheap shots to get clicks.

    Please take this article down, you should be better than this.

  • KKayel Costa Mesa, CA
    April 20, 2017 2:51 p.m.

    Just a quick Journalism 101 note ... I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but it’s actually ‘lurking racism’ to cite that Aaron Hernandez is Italian and Puerto Rican when it has no bearing on his behavior or the story. The implication is that Aaron Hernandez's ethnicity is one of the reasons why he lived a horrible life vs. Dennis Pitta who is of Caucasian descent and therefore has lived a good life and is lovely and of good report.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:49 p.m.

    "It wasn't until the 6th comment that the anti-BYU bitterness reared its head. Impressive indeed."

    Quite. Let's see if the author of that little gem can wait as long to post his usual snark on Utah articles.

  • Lou Solverson Portland, OR
    April 20, 2017 1:10 p.m.

    Dennis Pitta and about 350 million other Americans made better choices than Aaron Hernandez.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    April 20, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    DEW cougars: Urban Meyer was at Florida from 2005 to 2010, so he was the coach of Hernandez. Meyer may have gone to hospital for exhaustion for a week around 2009 once BAMA beat him and Tebow in SEC title game.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    April 20, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    I'm impressed. It wasn't until the 6th comment that the anti-BYU bitterness reared its head. Impressive indeed.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:09 a.m.

    I don't understand why comparing Dennis Pitta to Aaron Hernandez? Sure they were TE's at the same time. Okay, how about this, Steve Young should have won the Heisman over Neb. Mike Rozier because Mike hired an agent before his college days were over. I know sound stupid talk. How about this, mostly from both BYU & Utah are good guys and has done well in pro sports than most kids from Florida and few other big time P5. Which is TRUE! December 2009 Urban Meyer was on a leave of absent. You wondered if Urban was trying to be like a father for Aaron Hernandez but something went bad. Aaron should have been booked early like before getting in college or rather than keeping him on the roster just like Jameis Winston at Florida State. USC Reggie Bush parents were getting free housing and travel to all his games and yes his Heisman was stripped but or and USC did the right thing to kick off that one kid for criminal history on women. Many big time football are letting things go wild and those big time coaches want to win. Big time sports are more and more not so worth watching anymore. All they care is money and greeds.

  • Goldminer Salem, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:27 a.m.

    A VERY good article! And lessons for us all, too! Thanks! Indeed, Fathers ARE a crucial part in the life of the children, just as Mothers are.

  • Million Bluffdale, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:51 a.m.

    Aaron Hernandez was a train wreck ready to happen. The NFL rates all draft picks on a social scale using criteria like drug usage, past criminal behavior, use of alcohol, interaction with the community, positively or negatively, gang participation, home life, etc. Aaron Hernandez scored a 1 our of 10. He was a risky pick.

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    April 20, 2017 8:31 a.m.


    Plenty of other sports sites where BYU isn't focused on.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    April 20, 2017 7:15 a.m.

    Nothing is really sports news until it's contrasted or related to something involving BYU football or Jimmer Fredette, is it?

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    April 20, 2017 6:59 a.m.

    I admire Dennis Pitta very much. He has done great things with his life and performed well. Another contrast story not told is the struggle of Dennis' brother-in-law, Max Hall, who was the one who encouraged Pitta to walk-on at BYU as an unknown. Max was the darling and efficient QB at BYU. Both excelled admirably at the college level and were expected to succeed at the professional level.

    Max became severely injured in the NFL, got hooked on prescription drugs, and quietly descended into that bitter battle and struggle that became, oh so public. Now, rising above it, Max Hall has come back in his personal and professional life (HS football). Max's paycheck is substantially less than his brother-in-law's. Both men are to be admired for their courage and determination. I often wonder what their conversations are like about football at family gatherings.

  • BobbyPaluga Austin, TX
    April 20, 2017 4:31 a.m.

    Hernandez was at Florida when the team had 46 arrests, way ahead of second place Washington State's 35. Urban Meyer wasn't going to
    take action against a player if doing so might hurt the team overall. That was possibly Hernandez's last chance to be taught about boundres and discipline. Soon he would be off to New England millions in salary He grew up in a gang dominated part of town, with friends who were also gang members. In Boston he had a big house, downtown man-cave apartment and nice cars, yet he was still involved in gangs.
    A big difference between he and Denniis Pitta was self-expectation. Dennis had goals, he expected to earn a degree and get good grades and he did. I recall sitting in the crowd in Ft Collins when BYU played CSU. The Cougar defense was pretty bad, Max wasn't having a good game, tossing a pick-6, where no BYU WR was within 15 yards. Pitta keep BYU in the game by making incredible catches deep in the middle of the field in triple coverage. He refused to let his team lose.

  • Ldsrm Spanish Fork, UT
    April 20, 2017 12:52 a.m.

    I think you're spot on about Denis Pita a very nice and great man.

    the fact that Urban Myers was mentioned in this case is very interesting
    Unfortunately he in my opinion could have made the situation worse instead of decapling he just showed that there are no consequences.

    I think if this is what has ruined college and probably pro sports

    Glad to live in a sate ware college coach's are not afraid to deal with players by showing there are consequences for your actions!!

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    April 19, 2017 8:42 p.m.

    The influence of fathers is so under appreciated, and I question that not having his father was the sole reason for Hernandez's troubles, but there is no doubt it would have helped.

    I would suggest that it is also important to have good rules to live by, and good friends and associates to help anyone go straight. With that said, would it be appropriate to acknowledge that Pita went to BYU (with its honor code) and went on a mission (with its accompanying standards of conduct). He attended church, where people aren't perfect, but they go there in an effort to work toward perfection.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2017 7:59 p.m.

    "For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'."
    John Greenleaf Whittier