O.J. Simpson Going to Orange Bowl to Cheer USC

O.J. going to Orange Bowl to cheer for Trojans (Sports Illustrated)

O.J. Simpson plans to root like crazy at the Orange Bowl. “I’ll be in the stands cheering as loud as anybody for USC,” Simpson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. “I can’t wait. I always follow SC — always have, always will,” he said.

Simpson said he hasn’t seen his alma mater play in person for about 10 years, though he has watched most of the Trojans’ games on television during that time.

Ten years? Hmm. Wonder what happened ten years ago to break this pattern?

But the lure of seeing No. 1 Southern California take on No. 2 Oklahoma for the national title Tuesday night was too great for Simpson. The former Heisman Trophy winner lives about 30 miles southwest of Pro Player Stadium.

His attorney, Yale Galanter, monitored the telephone call and wouldn’t allow Simpson to say where he’ll be sitting inside the stadium.

Simpson played for Southern California in 1967-68, winning the Heisman his senior season. He then went on to become one of the best running backs in NFL history, mostly with the Buffalo Bills. After that, he was an actor, television football commentator and pitchman for Hertz. That, more than anything else, made Simpson perhaps the best-known former USC student, surpassing the likes of actors John Wayne, Tom Selleck and Ron Howard; Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

I don’t think he surpassed John Wayne in fame–until perhaps ten years ago. Schwarzkopf is a West Point graduate; his connection to USC is a masters in engineering.

Simpson was tried and acquitted of murder following the June 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in the Los Angeles suburb of Brentwood. Simpson was found liable for the deaths in a later civil trial and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the families of the victims. His Heisman Trophy was sold to pay a portion of the judgment.

Did he ever find the real killer? I haven’t heard much about that lately.

“I’m fine, the kids are happy, that makes me happy,” he said. “They’re doing terrific. My daughter’s in college now, my son is in school here.”

Good to know.

Regardless what we may think about his status as a double murderer, Simpson was acquitted and has the right to travel the country and attend football games at his alma mater. Certainly, were it not for the events of that evening in June 1994, he would be the biggest star at the place. But, geez, it’s still creepy.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SportsBlog says:

    O.J. Simpson Going to Orange Bowl to Cheer USC
    O.J. going to Orange Bowl to cheer for Trojans (Sports Illustrated) O.J. Simpson plans to root like crazy at the Orange Bowl. “I’ll be in the stands cheering as loud as anybody for USC,” Simpson told The Associated Press in…

  2. That, more than anything else, made Simpson perhaps the best-known former USC student, surpassing the likes of actors John Wayne, Tom Selleck and Ron Howard; Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

    Don’t you think the author of this article should have considered the massive popularity of Leopold Stotch and Rusty Shackleford?

  3. Tuesday roundup
    Well, let’s see how long I keep doing these roundups despite there being a legion and a half of posters… Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi may have been caught. Amnesty International and the Red Crescent are probably already claiming that he’s being…

  4. James Joyner says:

    Well, you know the MSM doesn’t know much about blogs.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    If Wonkette didn’t go there, we’re not going to hear about any such connection.

  6. Bithead says:

    You (apparently without knowing it) do a rather fine job of defining the depths and diffeences between the law and reality.

    We know what the law says. Yet was the law cheated, in this case?

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