I’d like everyone to collectively gasp at the same time as we remember that under Urban Meyer, Florida Gators players not named Tim Tebow frequently engaged in scumbag behavior, and said behavior was pushed aside by some combination of Meyer, the power of cash from boosters, and local authorities who shrugged and carried on.

But one such incident that involved now possible murderer (innocent until proven guilty, yada yada) Aaron Hernandez also included the one we know as Tebow.

It seems that with nearly each passing day, another violent event in Hernandez’s past is brought to our attention. That’s what happens when you’re a person who has been elevated to celebrity status, and you’re awaiting a murder trial: media folks do what they’re paid to do as they travel to the murkiest depths of your past.

Yesterday that brave journey led the Wall Street Journal to a 2007 incident at The Swamp, a well-established bar and grill near the University of Florida campus. The punch up in question occurred only a few months after Hernandez had enrolled at UF, and long before he played even a single down.

You’ve probably read about the latest story of supreme idiocy in Hernandez’s past, but here are the details if you decided that having less Hernandez in your life is a good thing:

A waitress brought Hernandez two “alcoholic drinks.” After Hernandez finished the drinks, a restaurant employee named Michael Taphorn delivered a bill. Hernandez said he hadn’t ordered the drinks and refused to pay, at which point a “verbal altercation” began between the two men. Hernandez called a witness over to try to intervene, but a resolution couldn’t be reached. Hernandez was told to leave and escorted out by Taphorn.

After stepping outside, according to the report, Hernandez told police Taphorn “got in his face” and began yelling at him. As Taphorn turned to walk away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head—a fact Hernandez did not dispute.

Taphorn complained of hearing loss in his ear but refused medical treatment on the scene, the report said. The next day, however, doctors discovered his right eardrum had burst, an injury he was told would take four to six weeks to heal, according to the police report.

Hernandez was 17 years old at the time (ummm that’s just a little under the legal drinking age, and Tebow was underage too), and he wasn’t arrested immediately after the incident. However, the Gainesville police department recommended a charge of felony battery, and as the Wall Street Journal noted, it’s unclear why that charge wasn’t pursued.

Now through more probing into the case by astute sleuth/Gainesville Television Network reporter Julie Quittner, we have a bit of clarity, and we’ve learned that even Tebow’s almighty powers couldn’t stop Hernandez from busting a dude’s eardrum.



Quittner also added that Tebow told police it appeared as though Taphorn was the primary aggressor, and he definitely wasn’t biased at all while attempting to save his teammate from criminal charges. Authorities couldn’t prove who the aggressor was, which is likely why Hernandez wasn’t charged.

For some, this will add to the scrutiny the Patriots are receiving for even drafting Hernandez, which means that some people believe all NFL front offices should employ oracles who see the entire future.

Assuming that NFL teams knew about Hernandez’s 2007 punch up is already some pretty unsafe ground. This sort of conduct is frequently swept under the largest and dirtiest rug, never to be heard about again. And as dumb as this incident was (even if Hernandez was the aggressor) a 17-year-old kid getting into a bar fight doesn’t equal future murderer (with possibly a body count of three).

Those dots can’t be connected. Not by you, or me, or the Patriots, or the league, or any NFL team, because Hernandez’s alleged crime goes infinitely beyond the umbrella of “character concerns”.