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Hernandez is not his brother's keeper, making Aaron irrelevant to D.J.'s hiring

This was Friday afternoon. Yours truly takes to Twitter, posting some breaking news about former UConn quarterback Jonathan "D.J." Hernandez becoming Ledyard High School's new football coach.

Then it took 30 seconds.

If that.

Thirty seconds for someone to reply: "Aaron's brother!"



Such a jarring piece of wisdom.

And so it begins.

Or maybe it's just going to end here.

I'll be assigned many opportunities in the coming months to write about D.J. Hernandez and the football program at Ledyard. This will be the last — and I mean the last — mention about his brother here.

Because this just in: D.J. Hernandez is not his brother.

He is not his brother's keeper.

Aaron Hernandez is wholly irrelevant to D.J.'s story.

But this happens frequently in our business. To the point now where it's pro forma: include details in a story about somebody that are juicy, but not necessarily relevant.

Aaron Hernandez was mentioned in other publications Friday into Saturday. Some social commentators believe we erred in "failing" to mention it.

Once again: Why is it relevant?

Pssst. Did you hear? The new coach at Ledyard has a brother who's in jail for murder!

It's just the type of information that's more suited for the barstool than any bout with rational discussion. Or put another way: It's the courtroom lesson that probative value evidence must be weighed by the judge against prejudicing the jurors toward the defendant.

Is the information peripheral or on point?

It's about time media outlets realized that we're not on barstools. We have an obligation to report that which is relevant. And I'm not convinced that D.J. Hernandez's ability to coach and educate the kids at Ledyard High will be affected an iota by the details of his brother's life. D.J. Hernandez has a Master's degree from UConn in school counseling.

Now there's a detail worth reporting. It's just not so juicy.

Full disclosure: D.J. Hernandez's coaching career does have a noteworthy wart: In 2010 while coaching Southington, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the state's governing body for high school athletics, fined Hernandez $1,000 and put the program on probation for a year, following Manchester High School's protest. It alleged that Hernandez used a Manchester player's armband with plays on it during a game.

Ledyard athletic director Jim Buonocore spoke to then-Southington athletic director Eric Swallow, now in the same position at Norwich Free Academy, and other officials at Southington about the incident. He was satisfied with what he heard. He also heard from UConn coach Randy Edsall, Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and Towson State coach Rob Ambrose offering support.

Say this much for Buonocore: He's really good at his job because he's thorough, if nothing else.

Certainly, Hernandez should be on watch to ensure nothing like that ever happens again. For now, though, it's time to let go and move on. We all screw up. Time and space heal eventually. They have healed. And Ledyard has a great hire.

I'm not naïve enough to believe we've heard the last mention of D.J.'s brother. Certain social commentators will offer constant reminders. Media outlets will allow it to happen. Because, apparently, this is one big bar room now.

But, alas, I can only control my actions. And I will. Ledyard High has a promising new coach who got the job here on his own merits. To whom he is related and the actions of those people are irrelevant to the job with which he's entrusted.

Hernandez starts at Ledyard on Jan. 30. Looking forward to meeting him and working with him. Meet Jonathan Hernandez, everyone. He's his own man.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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