Football Legend O.J. Simpson Dies but the Obsession Remains Alive

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    By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

    O.J. Simpson died on April 10, 2024. But the obsession around the former football legend widely suspected of murdering his second wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994, continues.

    Simpson was found not guilty on October 3, 1995, after a jury acquitted him. A 1997 civil trial would find O.J. Simpson was liable for the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Goldman, and he was ordered to pay over $33 million in damages. Over 150 million watched the trial live. At first, networks were reluctant to give the Simpson case major news attention. That changed when viewers tuned in in record numbers.

    “He asserted his innocence from the very beginning,” said Alan Dershowitz, one of Simpson’s attorneys, on Piers Morgan Uncensored on April 16. Dershowitz also added that there was proven tampering with evidence.

    “The prosecution messed the case up in every way… this was the American justice system working,” he added.

    The trial was televised, turning it into an obsession that riveted the nation over weeks. O.J. Simpson’s legal team was legendary and a key reason why he won a case over public prosecutors. Simpson’s team included Barry Scheck, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Kardashian, and, perhaps most notably, famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran.

    A pivotal point in the Simpson trial came with the realization that one of the Detectives in the Simpson case had made racist statements in the past. Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman, now a former detective of the Los Angeles Police Department, was a central figure in the 1995 trial.

    On Fox News, where Fuhrman was an on-air contributor, Jeanine Pirro and Richard Fowler pointed out that tapes that included racist comments by then-police detective Mark Fuhrman screwed up the prosecution’s murder case against  O.J. Simpson. They left out that Fuhrman has worked for Fox News for years. Fuhrman took the fifth when asked if he planted evidence.

    So much of the analysis around the Simpson case ignores the general context of the criminal justice system’s treatment of Black men. Black men in America are disproportionately incarcerated and given longer sentences than white males. Because of Simpson’s wealth, he was able to do something most defendants cannot do: Hire the best multi-expert legal team available. The reality of a Black man being acquitted in the murders of a white woman and man was clearly jarring to many commentators.

    The family of O.J. Simpson will not be allowing his brain to be analyzed for any possible issues around Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The brain disorder, which scientists have concluded is likely caused by repeated head injuries, is also related to suicides in NFL players and violence after their playing days ended.

    Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent investigative journalist and the publisher of Black Virginia News. She is a political analyst who appears regularly on #RolandMartinUnfiltered and speaks on Crisis Comms on YouTube @LaurenVictoriaBurke. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke.

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