An Idol, Not a Hero

Yeah. O.J. Simpson was at his ex-wife’s house the night she and her boyfriend were slaughtered. He didn’t kill them. The Juice arrived late. How long after the fact? Who knows?

Does the pro football hall of famer, former actor, ex-pitchman know who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman? No. He only has suspicions. These are best for setting investigators off on the wrong trails, having them hound those at the end of inevitable lines if logic.

Just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it’s right. Left to enough people, a syllogism would’ve sufficed to have convicted O.J. Simpson of murder.

If the carnage of October 1st hadn’t occurred in Las Vegas, the parole of Orenthal James Simpson from Nevada custody would’ve led local news’ tongue wagging. The Juice shouldn’t have spent any time in a Silver State poky, much less those nine years he did.

Admittedly the Las Vegas beef that got the Juice jugged was dopy kid stuff. It deserved nothing more than an admonishment from the bench and a fine. But didn’t the Nevada sentencing judge feel vengeance needed delivering, not justice? The kind absent from O.J.’s California decision years earlier.

That the Juice had skated from the murders of his ex-wife and her boyfriend offended the jurist’s sense of right. So the Nevada black robe corrected the travesty of properly applied due process by wrongly larding a lengthy sentence on O.J. Simpson for a misdemeanor.

Upon hearing this judgement who doubts for the only time in his life O.J. Simpson then wished he’d been Alex Karras or Billy Cannon? (Football fans should understand the reference and ramifications intended.)

At first, no one intended pinning a murder on the Juice. But coincidence played a fateful hand the night of June 12th, 1994. Let us suppose Nicole’s coke dealer sent some zips by that evening intending to collect. She’d started owing more than comfort should’ve allowed.

“Her guy” assumed the Brentwood mother a softie, that seeing Compton or East L.A. on her front doorstep would compel covering her debt.

Ron Goldman was a wild card. As far as calculations went, he hadn’t figured in any.

A 10-years younger single guy interested in a 35-year-old divorcee with two children, Nicole must’ve seen him as catnip. Their relationship, if it could be called that, existed across plenty of surface. They looked good together. They comforted one another. He was giving and attentive. She was receptive and responsive.

If he visited unannounced, Nicole would’ve been pleased nonetheless. By his spontaneity. They’d likely reached that point of togetherness where Ron felt protective of Nicole. Two narco bagmen demanding payment in an increasingly unpleasant manner doubtlessly raised Ron’s ire as well as his impulse to defend her.

I wonder if his discovering he had such feelings surprised him. Or whether at this juncture Nicole lifted her estimation of him. Before any he-man display maybe Ron was just fun to be around and good in bed.

Sort of like O.J. at the beginning. Ron reminded her of and delivered that same brand of man tonic.

Ron or Nicole, or maybe both, got mouthy. Okay. Ron first. Nicole, goaded by her boyfriend’s bravado-for-show chimed in.

Being hectored by one or the other would’ve been enough for the zips. Had Ron or Nicole remained cool, mannered, docile, while the other flew off the handle, the threat to the collectors’ self-images would’ve been minimal all things considered. Woofing from just one of the soft and white during a presumed nuisance chore just would’ve been part of the collection procedure.

In the end, whoever barked would’ve run out of steam, calmed down, and seen what could’ve passed for reason under such circumstances. Realization, submission, then reimbursement should’ve followed the brief vocal storm.

But the pair of lovers feeding off another’s bravery possibly believed their own inflated combined strength. Maybe among the Brentwood crowd this yapping might’ve proven pivotal. Unfortunately the opposition played in a tougher neighborhood where the game was for keeps.

Ron and Nicole probably even tried bumrushing the interlopers off the premises. Which is why the murder scene is outdoors. Just because it was Brentwood didn’t mean her candy man’s emissaries were going to take extended abuse.

Now you’re asking why didn’t the zips use guns? Simple. Angry as they were, neither was a dim gunsel. They retained clarity enough to know that reported gunshots in Brentwood would’ve brought a much heavier and faster police response than the same call from inside Compton or East LA.

Sure. Nicole owed. Yet the collectors couldn’t let her punk them out. Getting dogged out by a suburban housewife and/or her boy-toy would’ve been disgraceful. Forget something like that circulating. Alone it would embolden members of the organization as well as rivals.

Even if it stayed between the visitors, they would’ve borne the knowledge and shame. Ron and Nicole left the zips no choice. What happened next could be justified easily. Whoever dispatched them would understand the necessity. Accounting would clear the forfeited debt. Business would continue.

Notice the corpses weren’t discovered until hours later. Again, being clear-headed covered tracks. Had they peeled out – a getaway we’re all familiar with through movies and TV shows – a neighbor would’ve heard the commotion (unusual for that neighborhood certainly) and remembered it when the cops canvassed.

For whatever reason Nicole obsessed O.J. Split as they were he just couldn’t let her go. He was there that night. After corpses had been left behind.

The Juice spied on Nicole. I guess to confirm whatever it is obsessed men need to reassure themselves about women with whom they’ve split. That Nicole’s lover was there likely left the Juice conflicted. I bet the Juice was the kind of ex who liked spying his former wife as she performed quotidian chores around the house. It takes all kinds. Maybe he got off watching her fill the dishwasher.

Likeliest there’d been occasions when timely O.J. arrivals allowed him to eyeball Nicole and the chump she twiddled as his substitute reciprocate swampy feelings. A mother of young children, mustn’t Nicole adhere to a schedule benefitting them? Rather than randomly attend to these, her amusements could only find outlets during specific windows of opportunity.

Oh, wouldn’t O.J. have known those hours?

Even after divorcing, Nicole retained hold upon him. She knew how to make him itch and squirm. She ought have invested time and effort into further developing this skill. Had Nicole been less reflexive, bothered strategizing more, she could’ve harnessed him.

Instead, she squandered her influence. They became the worst of foes – combatants who had intimately betrayed one another.

Imagine O.J.’s surprise at the murder scene. Then imagine his horror.

Knowing his children inside, he entered to ascertain whether … well, they weren’t.

In the harsh deluge after O.J.’s 1994 arraignment and remand, I always asked those absolutely 100% positive of his guilt one runaway train stopping question: if O.J. had murdered Nicole and Ron, and the noise awakened his children and they went downstairs to investigate, and they saw daddy hovering over mommy or her friend bloody knife in hand, would he have also gutted them?

The kids didn’t necessarily need hearing any noise. Wonder if one or the other had awakened just wanting a glass of water? Or use the bathroom? Wouldn’t the lights downstairs have drawn their curiosity?

As I said, an abrupt question. O.J. capable of homicide? Sure. Seeing him snuff his own children? Even the most rabid O.J. hater encountered stumbled over that one.

Strangers, especially zips, aware of potential witness presence, would’ve dealt summarily with the possible loose ends they might’ve presented. But the killers remained unaware of any potential complications.

An O.J. hot to kill his ex-spouse would’ve waited for another opportunity, one when their kids overnighted elsewhere.

The people most disillusioned once investigative details cascaded into public and court testimony blackened his image were those who’d idolized “The Juice!” His friends then couldn’t have shared the public’s disappointment. They already knew about him. They’d dealt with the luminary’s less savory aspects.

Because he had been O.J. Simpson, race only became a factor once the trial started. The trial certainly tarred him.

By happenstance, not design, O.J. appeared deracinated in the eyes of mainstream America. Complexion and features aside, who really saw him as black? Since his days at Southern Cal and into his Buffalo Bills career then as a liked pitchman, O.J. Simpson had bundled himself inside cloaks of geniality and amenability. Natural charisma and a charm he refined into celebrity permitted overlooking, ignoring, or see pasting his race.

These abilities let him insinuate himself into our lives. They made him a surface upon which one could project. For tens of millions of Americans O.J. Simpson became an active Chauncey Gardiner.

Mainstream America dumped O.J. after acknowledging he led a life which failed jibing with its popular opinion of him. If any black person had been placed above Anglo society’s reproach and received complete dispensation of suspicion, it was the Juice.

The revelations probably hurt all the more because idol-seekers had invested so much of themselves in worshipping him. Being shown their esteem misplaced, and more importantly with him no longer on TV as a familiar trusted presence, why, wasn’t Orenthal James Simpson just another Five-Percenter? Yup. Who enjoys being fooled and made a fool of?

The crime scene quiet, O.J. needn’t think long or hard. If he reported the murders, he became Suspect Only because of his prior man/woman-husband/wife argy-bargy with Nicole and the fact he peeped around her house that night. Circumstances enough to make him the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song.

Yeah. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Desperate, knowing better than anyone else his and Nicole’s history would lead all roads to him, O.J. decided to take a go-for-broke chance by taking a powder, making himself scarce, and let some passerby discover the dead and alert authorities. His prayers were answered then augmented when considerate cops shielded his children from having seen mommy and her “friend” stabbed to death.

By the way, with all that slashing how come investigators never found what must’ve been the Juice’s blood-drenched clothing? The murder weapon itself is still missing. In the O.J.-haters perfect world, that blade rusts in a culvert somewhere just waiting for a hiker to find it. Could he have hidden every piece of incriminating evidence that well? And after all the hacking, no traces of his purported act managed to contaminate his vehicle’s driver’s side seat?

O.J. must’ve been a ninja the night of June 12th. Or perhaps every supplement he ever shilled and whose effectiveness he later recanted all miraculously kicked in.

After all, then 47 (older than that after being rendered somewhat arthritic through a long football career), the Juice subdued a better conditioned man half his age, throttled a furious ex-wife, both without leaving crime of passion clues behind, bee-lined back to his own home where a limo had been arranged to drive him to the airport for a flight to Chicago where he had a long-scheduled appearance.

His timing a touch off, and the town car already idling outside his home, O.J. vaulted the fence surrounding his property, managed to stealthily enter his premises without alarmng a house guest. There, he somehow stashed blood-soaked clothing (and maybe also the weapon) in a hidey hole that would’ve astounded the Vietcong. He took a three minute shower in seconds flat, then, given the evening’s activity, greeted the limo driver – albeit a bit tardy – with iceman composure.

Doesn’t every bit of the aforementioned break the degree of difficulty scale?

Nonetheless didn’t police take the path of least resistance to the easiest and most professionally satisfying outcome of all? Excluding all external possibilities in order to pin a rap on, no, to take the scalp of a celebrity?

Leading tabloid lives as the Simpsons had, and Nicole’s confidants just itching to be vindictive, O.J. fit the murder bill in a verdict the Red Queen could’ve meted out. Fortunately for the Juice a terrific defense team and a knowing California jury delivered justice. They thwarted the expected punishment and defeated the blood vengeance otherwise demanded.

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