The world waited with bated breath on October 3, 1995, and O.J. Simpson has just done it again.
After being paroled on five counts of armed robbery back in 2013, the former running back has been granted parole and will be freed from prison after serving nine years.
Bruce Fromong, the only surviving victim of the robbery that led to Simpson’s imprisonment, testified in his support. “O.J. never held a gun on me… he never laid a hand on me,” during the hearing. He continued, “If he called me tomorrow and said…’Will you pick me up?’ Juice, I’ll be here tomorrow.'”
The Hall Of Famer didn’t mince words when questioned about his time in prison, remarking that he’s done enough time. At one point, he even admitted that he was sorry, saying, “I’d like to get back to my friends. And believe it or not I do have some friends. I don’t think anyone could have honored this institution better…I’m sorry it happened.”
Arnelle Simpson, O.J.’s 48-year-old daughter, even took the stand to speak on her father’s character, calling him “my best friend and my rock” says he’s “been a perfect inmate.”
The decision was reached by four members of Nevada’s parole board. At the end of the hearing the four deliberated and returned to the hearing room to reveal the results to the public.
The case in question started in 2007 when a group of men—led by Simpson— entered a Las Vegas hotel room and stole sports memorabilia at gun point. After being questioned by police, Simpson’s excuse was that he was taking items that were initially stolen from him. He’d eventually be sentenced to 33 years in prison on several counts of kidnapping and armed robbery.
However, his infamous legal troubles began in the mid-nineties.
Back in ’95, Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his then-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Dubbed the trial of the century, the case focused on the confusing racial intricacies of America and illuminated the ways wealth and celebrity can influence court decisions.
Little did we know, O.J. was just as conflicted within himself. Brought largely to light in ESPN’s O.J.: Made In America, the football juggernaut wanted no part in the black community that helped him in his humble beginnings as a resident of Potrero Hill’s housing projects. And that all changed when he decided to attend a predominantly white institution in USC and won a Heisman Trophy in the process.
“I’m not Black, I’m O.J.” he allegedly uttered at one point as a perennial NFL player and endorsement hoard.
The media let him get away with his claim because his celebrity and wealth became his identity—not his race. This all changed during the murder trial. Suddenly, he could no longer bypass the racial scrutiny. Though eventually found innocent, Simpson’s legal troubles blitzed him going forward.
Juice was scrutinized for owing the state of California $1.44 million in back taxes, faced a battery and burglary charges, and endured the FBI raiding his house in search of ecstasy and on suspicion of money laundering. The situations he found himself in got even more insane from there, like when he was arrested in Miami Dade County for water speeding through a manatee protection zone, or when he was accused of pirating cable television.
Regardless of your opinion on Simpson, the life and times of O.J. have opened the eyes of many about race and class in America.