Aaron Hernandez’s dad regularly beat him and his older brother

Beaten and brutalized by his father: Aaron Hernandez’s dad regularly attacked him and his older brother, as it’s revealed the football player did not cry at his funeral

  • Dennis Hernandez was revered in his community and nicknamed The King
  • But in his own home he beat his two sons to a pulp, Jonathan Hernandez claims
  • Jonathan says he and Hernandez lived in ‘constant fear’ of their father’s beatings
  • Sometimes they came as punishment, but other times for no real reason at all 
  • Dennis also feared Hernandez may be gay and often even called his son ‘f****t’

To the outside world, Aaron Hernandez’s father Dennis was true to his nickname in the town of Bristol, Connecticut, where he was known as ‘The King’.

A once-revered high school football player in his own right, Dennis was respected for building up two sons who seemed destined to cement the legacy he had begun at UConn.

It was a myth that Hernandez continued to let the media believe as he spoke of missing Dennis, who suddenly died his junior year in high school.

But in reality Hernandez didn’t shed a tear at the funeral of his father, who reportedly beat him and older brother Jonathan to a pulp for much of their formative years.

Aaron Hernandez and his brother Jonathan lived in ‘constant fear’ of their father Dennis, who frequently beat them during their childhood, it has been revealed. They are all pictured here in an undated photo 

A once-revered high school football player in his own right, Dennis was respected for building up two sons who seemed destined to cement the legacy he began at UConn. Pictured is Hernandez in 2007

Dennis was a man to be feared in the Hernandez household, ruling his sons with an iron fist.

Sometimes they came as punishment, such as when Dennis left Hernandez with a black eye because he drank before a school dance as a freshman. 

Jeff Morgan, who was an assistant football coach for Hernandez’s high school team at the time, recalled the incident to the Boston Globe. 

‘I guess he was drinking before he went to the dance, and they threw him out of the dance at the school,’ he said.  

‘The next time we saw him, he looked like I guess his father did discipline him some. He had a black eye. I’m assuming that’s where that came from.’   

Sometimes they came when Dennis felt his boys weren’t working hard enough in school or at football. Other times they came for no discernible reason at all. 

It was a myth that Hernandez (pictured in 2007) continued to let the media believe as he spoke of missing his father, who suddenly died his junior year in high school

One time it got so bad that Jonathan (pictured with Hernandez while he played for the Patriots) threatened to call the police. But Dennis said he would just beat the boys harder if he did

One time it got so bad that Jonathan threatened to call the authorities. But Dennis remained unfazed. 

‘I picked up the phone once to call, to seek help,’ he recalled. ‘And his response was. “Call them.”‘

‘And he handed me the phone, and he said “I’m going to beat you even harder, you and your brother, and they’re going to have to pull me off of you when they knock down the door.”‘ 

Jonathan said the brothers lived in constant fear of their father’s fury, which was often delivered via a long stick from their Fisher Price game table. 

It was only after receiving counseling later in life that Jonathan was able to come to terms with his father’s abuse. 

‘You realize, that’s not how other families do it,’ he said. ‘You’re just like wow, you don’t have to hide at home if you get a C? Really?’

And Dennis’ household was an especially harsh world for Aaron, who secretly struggled with his sexuality in a place where homophobia ran rampant.

Jonathan said Dennis long had concerns that Hernandez ‘had a feminine way about him’.

Dennis closely watched at how his youngest son ‘stood or used his hands’. And he became enraged when a young Hernandez expressed interest in cheerleading.

Sometimes the beatings came as punishment, such as when Dennis left Hernandez with a black eye because he drank before a school dance. He is pictured here before a senior dance

‘He wanted to be a cheerleader. My cousins were cheerleaders and amazing,’ Jonathan, 32, recalled. 

‘And I remember coming home and my dad put an end to that real quick. And it was not okay. My dad made it clear that he had his definition of a man.’ 

Dennis also frequently threw around the term f****t, which Jonathan said he used ‘all the time’. 

‘Standing. Talking. Acting. Looking. It was the furthest thing my father wanted you to even look like in our household,’ he said. ‘This was not acceptable to him.’ 

There were public signs of Dennis’ violence, though they never seemed to stick to his pristine reputation within the community. 

One such incident was when Dennis attacked Tim SanSoucie, Hernandez’s youth tackle football coach, when his youngest son was just eight years old. 

Dennis was reportedly angry about SanSoucie’s coaching decisions and decided to make it known.

‘He promptly turned around and clocked me one across the face, broke my glasses off my face,’ SanSoucie recalled to the Globe. 

Authorities were called to the scene and Dennis was ordered to pay for the glasses in small claims court. SanSoucie said he never did. 

Sometimes they came when Dennis felt his boys weren’t working hard enough in school or at football. Other times they came for no reason at all. Pictured is Hernandez in 2007

Dennis also ran a home where homophobia was rampant as Hernandez struggled with his sexuality. Pictured is Dennis SanSoucie, Hernandez’s secret gay high school lover

 The pair first began exploring a sexual relationship in middle school, which SanSoucie said continued into high school

Years later, Hernandez and SanSoucie’s son – also named Dennis – explored a sexual relationship together through middle school and high school. 

‘Me and him were very much into trying to hide what we were doing,’ Dennis SanSoucie said. ‘We didn’t want people to know.’

There were also scuffles with the law.  

Just before Hernandez’s senior year (pictured), Dennis suddenly died after a routine hernia surgery at the age of 49

During his junior year at UConn, where he was on a football scholarship, Dennis was named as a person of interest in a home burglary in which a cop had been killed. 

Authorities claimed Dennis had helped the burglars, which included a UConn teammate, evade police. He was never charged. 

When Hernandez was just three, Dennis was charged with trying to buy cocaine from an undercover police officer.   

But still he was The King. The troubled teen who turned himself into a high school football star and raised two sons destined to find even more success than he did.

And then, at the age of 49, Dennis suddenly died after a routine hernia surgery. 

It was a shocking blow to the Hernandez family just as Aaron’s star was beginning to rise. 

Many later theorized that it was the loss of the great patriarch that led the younger Hernandez astray, who kept up media appearances with talk of his father’s influence.

After his father’s death, Hernandez changed his mind about committing to UConn – his father’s alma mater – and chose the University of Florida instead (pictured in 2009) 

‘I wish my dad was here now that more schools are coming,’ Hernandez told the Hartford Courant after Dennis’ death.

‘Notre Dame just came on recently and it really makes you think. It just makes me think more.

‘My dad would have been able to help me out even more. But I’m pretty sure he would have wanted me to go UConn.


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‘My family wants me to go to UConn and my heart’s at UConn.’ 

But when the time to make a decision finally came, Hernandez decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps. 

Instead he forged his own path and picked the University of Florida, where trouble continued to follow him. 

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