Black History Month: O.J. Simpson


Alex Hayes, Reporter

Orenthal James Simpson, better known as “OJ” or “The Juice”, was born on July 9, 1947. Simpson was raised in a poor neighborhood in San Francisco, Calif.

Despite growing up in the midst of racial tension, OJ simply devoted his life to football and never saw color in the world. Simpson rushed through his childhood until he was accepted into the University of Southern California. This is where he blossomed and developed a love for acting while rushing and increasing his draft stock.

For three years, he carried the pigskin for the Trojans, winning the Heisman Trophy, the highest honor of a college football athlete in 1968. OJ entered the 1969 NFL Draft and was selected number one by the not so familiar Buffalo Bills.

During this time period, California experienced high rates of police brutality. Simpson grew to be a global phenom in the season of 1973 for being one of the few players to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Through all of his great athletic achievements “The Juice” missed his home, his birth-state, California. Simpson retired in 1979 after only 10 years in the National Football League. He lived in a big white house with his wife in a neighborhood with mostly white residents.

As the years progressed, racial friction persisted, especially between the police and black males. On June 13, 1994, everything changed for Simpson. He was accused of killing two caucasian people, including his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson. Four days later on June 17, Simpson would run once more, but this time for his life. America was captivated as his white Bronco sped through the California roadway, chased by multiple cop cars. The drama was televised on multiple networks.

Simpson returned home, but this time in tears and hopelessness. With a gun pressed tightly to his head, Simpson decided to go inside his home where he was arrested. Simpson assembled an all-star legal team, consisting of Robert Kardashian, Robert Shapiro, and Johnnie Cochran. On the other side, his opponents were Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden.

Eight months later Simpson was found not guilty. “And if the glove don’t fit you must acquit.”

To this day, Simpson’s trial is still hotly debated but no one can deny its impacted on how race relations is viewed in our society.

The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.”

– OJ Simpson