Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the fiancée of Aaron Hernandez, is filing a lawsuit against the NFL and the New England Patriots, claiming that the former pro football player’s newly-discovered CTE diagnosis caused his suicide, according to TMZ.
As the New York Times reports, Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, announced on Thursday that Hernandez had Stage 3 of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a brain disease linked to head trauma. As the Times noted, the disease has been found in more than 100 former N.F.L. players and is only detectable posthumously. The convicted murderer hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19th while serving a life sentence.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hernandez’s young daughter, according to TMZ Sports. Jenkins-Hernandez said the NFL and Patriots “were fully aware of the damage that could be inflicted from repetitive impact injuries and failed to disclose, treat or protect him from the dangers of such damage.”
Hernandez signed a $40 million contract with the Patriots in 2012, but was later convicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was killed in 2013. He was later acquitted in a separate trial in a double-homicide. That acquittal came just days before his suicide.
Jenkins-Hernandez and her daughter are seeking “redress for the loss of parental consortium” that came because, as they allege, the NFL and the Patriots didn’t properly educate Hernandez about the dangers of CTE. Several former NFL players who have died by suicide have done so without impacting their head so researchers could test for CTE.