I just read the news that O.J. Simpson, the former American football star, has been sentenced today to 16 years in prison for the kidnapping and robbing of a couple of memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September of 2007. Reading this news (I must admit that I did not follow this case at all, unlike his first trial thirteen years ago), I just wonder if he has had an “honest” trial.
I will never forget how I heard from him the first time in my life. It happened some time in March of 1994, when I, together with a couple of friends, flew to Dallas, Texas, in order to attend a sales convention of an American company we were involved in. Having lived in Europe all my life, I had never followed anything of American football. I still don’t understand the rules, although I would love to attend a game, one day, live. Come to think of it, I just might do that during one of my next visits to America.
Anyway, we had received the convention program a couple of days prior to our departure to Dallas, in which it was announced that a certain O.J. Simpson had been invited to come and give a speech about goalsetting, effective time-management and how to become a winner. “Who the fuck is O.J. Simpson?”, we asked ourselves. Nobody of our party had ever heard of him.
We soon found out during the convention itself. The very moment this guy entered the stage, the whole crowd (95% of the attendees were American, the other 5% were Europeans) started cheering, clapping, screaming, etc… I will never forget how at least one hundred people - mostly women, ran to the stage with cameras, and little notebooks, pleading for signatures. Wow, this guy was popular.
Less than three months later, on June 12th, the rest of the world learned about Simpson when he was trying to escape in the white truck, while being broadcasted on the television channels of the world. Two years later, he got acquitted for all the charges against him.
Thirteen years to the day later, he was found guilty by another jury for another crime, for which he was convicted today to spend the next years of his life in prison. He will be eligible for parole within nine years.
Once again, I did not follow this case, and I don’t want to speak about whether or not he should have been convicted in 1995 (who else could have committed the murders?), but a lot of people will say something like “what comes around goes around…”
But I can’t help it, I tend to agree with John Bois who wrote yesterday: “I am still trying to reconcile my personal disdain for Simpson with a respect for the ideas and ideals of American justice. It’s difficult, but we cannot allow our hatred for a single misanthrope to compromise our perception of justice. If anything, Simpson’s murder acquittal should inspire us to scrutinize the factors that allowed him to walk.
Whether or not Simpson “deserves” an unduly long sentence is irrelevant. We may have seen our understanding of justice violated once; the last thing we need is to see it violated again, regardless of which way it swings.”
October 3rd, 1995: still a hero…
October 3rd, 2008: the hero becomes a zero.
December 8th, 2008: sentenced to at least 15 years.
Tags: American football, O.J., O.J. goes to prison, O.J. Simpson, Simpson trial
Posted in Personal thoughts, VdW-TV |