May 20, 2024

When O.J. Simpson’s death was announced Thursday morning, many took to social media to express their feelings about the onetime football hero and popular celebrity who was accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman in 1994.

Simpson was acquitted during his murder trial the following year, but many people continued to believe he was guilty. In 1997, he was found liable for the deaths in a civil suit brought by the Brown and Goldman families.

From 2008-17, Simpson was incarcerated on armed robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy and other charges, with the punishment being viewed by some as justice finally being served decades later.

Many athletes, former athletes and sports fans expressed their feelings at the death of the former USC Heisman Trophy winner and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A lot expressed rage, bitterness or indifference toward someone they feel got away with murder.

But there also were scattered RIPs, condolences offered toward the family and words of appreciation for Simpson’s accomplishments on the field.

The Heisman Trophy Trust released a simple statement, saying it “mourns the passing of 1968 Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson. We extend our sympathy to his family.”

Lakers legend Magic Johnson tweeted: “Cookie and I are praying for O.J. Simpson’s children Arnelle, Aaren, Justin, Jason, and Sydney and his grandchildren following his passing. I know this is a difficult time.”

Former NFL player Torrey Smith wrote on X that while he’s “not a big OJ guy,” he feels “the amount [of] journalists/media companies that are using OJ’s court pictures to announce his death is disgusting!

“Regardless of what you may think about him he was innocent in court and has kids out here. Y’all have no respect.”

Former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell wrote on X: “RIP OJ he knew how to run that damn ball, [I don’t] care bout none of the other BS.”

Referring to Simpson as “Uncle O” and his “favorite RB,” former Rams running back Todd Gurley paid tribute to Simpson by listing some on-field accomplishments.

Joe DeLamielleure, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who played with Simpson in Buffalo, told the Associated Press: “He did a lot for the Black race even though he didn’t know it. He wasn’t Muhammad Ali or anything, but he was doing things for athletes and not just Black athletes, but he kicked us into a really big thing. That’s what I think of him. He was a groundbreaker.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a lengthy statement that focused almost entirely on facts from Simpson’s playing career, as well as one paragraph on the circumstances of his death.

“O.J. Simpson was the first player to reach a rushing mark many thought could not be attained in a 14-game season when he topped 2,000 yards,” the statement said. “His on-field contributions will be preserved in the Hall’s archives in Canton, Ohio.”

Many chose to not say anything. They include Simpson’s former teams — the Trojans, the Bills and San Francisco 49ers. The Times’ Sam Farmer reported the NFL does not intend to comment.


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