Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 9/26/14
Long before Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder, his then-Florida Gator teammate, Tim Tebow, attempted to stop the New England Patriots' former tight end from getting into a bar fight in 2007, the Orlando Sentinel reported, according to Gainesville (FLA) police records. The police report states that Hernandez, then a 17-year-old freshman, punched a bouncer in the head — breaking his ear drum — on April 28, 2007. When Hernandez could not be located by a police officer, who was looking for a statement, around 1 a.m., Tebow was interviewed about the incident. According to the report, Hernandez was served two "alcoholic drinks" at The Swamp, which he refused to pay for, at which point, Hernandez claimed bouncer Michael Taphorn began yelling at him. When Taphorn turned away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head. The report stated the following: A waitress at The Swamp bar allegedly brought Hernandez two "alcoholic drinks," which he consumed but refused to pay for. That's when Hernandez got into a fight with a bouncer at the bar. Hernandez told police [bouncer Michael] 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. Taphorn declined medical treatment but the next day doctors discovered his right ear drum had burst and the injury would take four to six weeks to heal. When the officer could not find Hernandez immediately following the incident, he interviewed Tebow and Shaun Young. “Tebow stated that he witnessed the dispute,” the officer wrote. “… Tebow stated that he went over to try to help resolve the conflict.” Tebow went on to say he urged Hernandez to leave peacefully and tried to make arrangements to pay the bill.  Two hours later, another officer found Hernandez and spoke with him about the incident. Tebow was present during the interview. Hernandez said that he and Tebow had already informed then-Florida coach Urban Meyer about the fight. Though the officer wrote that Hernandez did not appear to be drunk, and was "very polite and professional," Gainesville police recommended Hernandez be charged with a felony. It is unclear how the case was resolved because Hernandez's juvenile records are sealed. A day later, the investigating officer told Hernandez’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, he would not be pursuing charges in connection with alcohol served to minors at the restaurant, but he wrote, “it would be noted in the report so the coaches could handle it internally.” Tebow developed a close bond with Hernandez early in his career with the Gators, hosting Hernandez during his official visit before signing to play for the Gators. Hernandez is currently in solitary confinement in a Massachusetts jail on murder charges.
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