Good morning, Buffalo Bills fans! Welcome to today's Morning Joe.
It's been 20 years since the fall of a Bills icon. Our very own O.J. Simpson was seen on television by 95 million viewers, riding in the back of his white Ford Bronco holding a gun to his head, as his friend and former teammate A.C. Collins led the LAPD on a police chase. Many of us are old enough to remember that very moment; it was such a surreal scene. A guy that many of us looked up to and marveled over as Bills fans was now a fugitive of the law, as he was the lead suspect in the murder case involving his ex wife and her friend. The catch phrase "the Juice is loose" took on an entire different meaning that day.
The Simpson trial was epic in so many ways, primarily because it touched upon so many different elements: race relations in America, the United States judicial and penal system, and corrupt public officials. It was a nine month long trial, and we witnessed court room theatrics at its finest. It is what led to the rise of court television shows and the beginning of reality TV.
The trial featured the smooth talking defense attorney Johnny Cochran, as he outfoxed the prosecution team. ("If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!") Mark Furman, an alleged racist and corrupt police officer planting evidence. Kato Kalein, Simpson's friend and house sitter, was the star witness for the prosecution team. Lance Ito, the fiery and feisty judge. The alleged intimate relationship between lead prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. The entire ordeal was a huge circus.
However, what seems to get lost in all of this is that there were many victims; the deceased and their families, the children of O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson, as well as Simpson himself. Whether or not you believe O.J. was in fact guilty, you still have to admit that there is still something tragic about seeing a monster of a man, both figuratively and literally, become feeble and helpless as he succumbs to the pressure of his ex wife death and the pending court case. A man with an illustrious football career, a successful acting career, and the face of many endorsements, was on the run contemplating suicide, and fighting for his life in the trial of the century.
I want to leave the community with several questions. 20 years later, how do you feel about Simpson? Has your perception of him changed since the murder trial? Is your view of Simpson different, because he's an all-time Bills great? Do you have any sympathy or empathy for Simpson? During the trial, did you root for O.J. simply because he was a Bills great? Does the fact that he is affiliated with your favorite team impact your opinion, perception, or feelings towards him in any way?