It’s always worth checking the program guide to see which of ESPN’s great 30-for-30 documentaries are being broadcast on a given day. Who Killed the USFL and The House that George Built films are two of my favorites. I like the former because it’s a David-Goliath struggle, and the latter because it shows how train-wreck George, narcissistic & deceptive, somehow maintained the love of most of the people he over paid.
The episode titled June 17, 1994 was on this past weekend and it brought back the horror of O.J. Simpson.
It’s not all about O.J., though. June 17, 1994 jumps to and fro among 6 historic news developments that day: Arnold Palmer’s last U.S. Open, the kick-off of the FIFA World Cup in Chicago, the NY Rangers parading down Broadway with the Stanley Cup, Patrick Ewing futilely pursuing the NBA title, Donald Fehr going down the path that would lead to the cancellation of the World Series…and the slow motion chase of the white Bronco on the 415.
The documentary doesn’t take a clear stance for or against O.J.. It details his seemingly guilty behavior, and then moves onto the trial and public reaction.
A quick google around the internet reminds us of two defense strategies that kept O.J. from a murder conviction: His lawyers got testimony thrown out that placed O.J. leaving the crime scene shortly after the murders. They also rendered inadmissible the testimony of a cutlery salesman who said that 3 weeks before the murders he sold O.J. a 15” blade that matched the murder weapon.
In both cases, the testimony was barred because the witnesses appeared in print and on TV telling their stories. One was paid $5,000 by Hard Copy. The other received $12,000 from the National Enquirer.
A guilty man benefitted from his fame.
Now comes the news that Roger Clemens has been acquitted of lying to Congress. Tim Kurkjian see this as a good time to repeat his HOF support for Clemens.
Tim isn’t alone. The only problem with this is that Roger obviously did cheat. Part of his defense was that it was his wife that did the steroids, not him. How inexcusably transparent !
Also, the physical changes Roger went through, his on field rage, and his improved performance as he aged all belie his statements.
The HOF requires that a player be a good sportsman. And though Ty Cobb, Ban Johnson and Kenesaw M. Landis are not good sports (racists), that’s no reason to induct Roger. 25 wrongs do not make a right.
So today we have the final verdict. The lawmakers have collected their autographs. The prosecution delivered one mistrial. The Jury chose not to send one very flawed pitcher to jail just even though his narcissism and greed obviously pushed him to cheat & subsequently lie.
Another guilty man benefitted from his fame.
Mike Tyson will appear at a sports card show in August. For just $129 you can have your photo taken with Kid Dynamite. And, $139 to sign your magazine, $149 to sign your large poster, $199 to sign your glove, and $249 to sign your original artwork, should you own any of him.
I’m not sure my Mom would like me collecting the autograph of an ear-eating convicted rapist.
One more time. Another guilty man benefitted from his fame.
One last and incredible note on the life of O.J..
O.J.’s dysfunction may be firmly rooted in childhood. While reading And the Band Played On a few years ago, I learned that OJ’s Dad left his family when the future HOF’er was a babe. Daddy Simpson split for San Francisco where he came out and became a well established drag queen named Jimmy Lee. He died of AIDS in 1986. Not a Brady Bunch upbringing, but perhaps one factor that led O.J. to a criminal life when he was young.