O. J. Simpson (1947-2024)…

Today comes the news that O. J. Simpson, running back extraordinaire for the Buffalo Bills back in the 70’s, then parlayed that to becoming an actor in both movies and TV commercials, and then…

…and then…

June 12, 1994 Nicole Brown Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s wife, and her friend Ron Goldman, were found stabbed to death.

The police investigated Simpson and ultimately were about to arrest him when we had this…

I vividly recall being at home and watching the infamous “Bronco chase”. O.J. Simpson, in the back seat of the car, chasing Al Cowling, Simpson’s friend and the driver, and supposedly a despondent Simpson saying he was going to end things.

He didn’t.

What followed was his capture, a trial that said more about us than him, and ultimately an acquittal… even when the evidence was incredibly strong as to his guilt in this brutal murder. There were names that came out of this farce, including the name “Kardashian”. Yup, the father of the Kardashian brood, Robert Kardashian, was a friend and “lawyer” for O.J. Simpson. It was speculated -and we can know no more- that he did this because he might have had knowledge of what Simpson did but as his lawyer he was couldn’t be forced to testify.

Robert Kardashian would die of cancer in 2003. He had long before -supposedly after the trail- stopped talking to O.J. Simpson and, once again, one can speculate as to the why.

After the trail, it felt like most people -even those who seemed so ecstatic that he was found not guilty- belatedly realized he likely was indeed guilty of this heinous double homicide.

Simpson found himself a pariah and the Goldman family pursued him in civil court and won big… though I wonder if they ultimately got whatever monies were awarded to them.

Simpson found himself in jail for nine years after being found guilty of 12 counts of armed robbery and two counts of kidnapping two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in Las Vegas in 2008.

It’s all such sordid, sordid stuff.

Somewhere along the line Simpson was supposed to release a book entitled If I Did It which supposedly was a “hypothetical” account of what “might” have happened the night of Nicole and Ron Goldman’s murder. There was understandable outcry when this book was supposed to be released and it wasn’t.

The Goldman family, through their lawsuit against Simpson, acquired the rights to the book and eventually released it. They retitled it If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer and it was released in 2007.

With the news of Simpson’s death, I feel absolutely no sympathy. He was, to my mind, guilty of the killings and the fact that he “got away with it” is one of the grand tragedies of recent times… as well as a shining example of how the legal system can be twisted and turned and where the sharp use of publicity and age old grievances -real though they may be- can be used to one’s advantage.

Having said all that above, one thing that has become better known since those murders is the issue of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

In recent years we’ve come to know much more about this and have also come to realize CTE can very much have an effect on people who suffer from it lives. There are ex-football players who have exhibited extreme behaviors and emotions following the end of their playing days. One player, Junior Seau, committed suicide shortly after his career in football ended. In 2012 he shot himself in the chest and an autopsy revealed he suffered from CTE.

Did Simpson suffer from this as well? Did it affect his mood and/or possibly contribute to what he may have done with his wife and Ron Goldman?

In the coming days, perhaps there will be an autopsy and perhaps it will be found that he also did suffer from this.

Either way, it doesn’t excuse his actions and it doesn’t make up for what happened to two innocent people back in 1994.