Many of you know OJ Simpson as a guy acquitted of a double homicide. I know him as a great running back at USC and with the Buffalo Bills – and for being acquitted of a double homicide.

I was in attendance at Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium – later known as the Silverdome – when OJ blitzed for Detroit Lions for 273 yards rushing.

I watched in amazement when The Juice crushed UCLA and Arizona for 150 yard rushing days when ABC showed the Pac-10 game of the week right after showing the Big Ten game of the week.

But I never saw anything like it during the greatest performance of his career in Pontiac against the Lions. The man was nearly unstoppable, although the Lions sported the best defense in the NFL at the time and the Bills were bottom feeders in the league.

The best word to describe OJ that day was slasher.

He slashed and slithered through the Lions defensive front and past the secondary.

Unfortunately the word “slash” would later be associated with Simpson following the double murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her pal Ron Goldman in 1994.

The following year the entire nation followed the most dramatic murder trial in history. The case divided us by class and race.
Imagine that happening in our country.

OJ proclaimed his innocence and vowed to find the real murderer. I guess he could not find the culprit on any of those golf courses he frequented.

Many of us still remember where we were while watching the slow Bronco chase. I was at an outdoor festival in Pontiac. And I watched the verdict in Tampa, Fla.

I was one of the few black people who did not cheer when Simpson was acquitted of the murders. I carried the baggage of my father being murdered and the killer getting off Scott free. That damaged our family and I carried around the pain for decades.

I had met O.J. Simpson during a sports round table a few years before the crime. I did not like the man. He came across to me as arrogant, anti-media and anti-black. It did not surprise me he would be accused of murder down the road.

I get why black people cheered the verdict.

They had seen many black males convicted of crimes they did not commit. So it was great to see a black man beat the system. It bothered me that OJ was the shining light.

I got booed when I told this story during a community outreach event in Detroit before a mostly black audience. This was not America trying to bring justice for past injustices. O.J. got off because he had money to hire attorney Johnny Cochran and other lawyers known as the dream team.

Prosecutors also bungled the case led by the crooked Los Angeles Police Department who was hell bent on framing a guilty man.

I carried my past encounter with OJ into the Detroit meeting along with the past history with my dad. I did not tell the audience what it wanted to hear. I told people my truth. And that often gets you in hot water.

I write this today because Simpson died Wednesday at age 76. It’s a big story.

Once upon a time he was one of the most beloved humans in the United States as a spokesman for Hertz Rent a Car. I can still hear the old lady pumping her fist and screaming “Go OJ go” as Simpson ran through the airport. And America loved him for his role in the Naked Gun movie series as Det. Frank Nordberg.

I was also screaming “Go OJ go” until a chance meeting where I got to see the darker side of OJ Simpson. America got to see it following the murders of Nicole and Ron Brown.


For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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Original Photo Credit © Malcolm Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: April 11th, 2024Categories: NFL, Trending News

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