O.J. Simpson remains welcome to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies

Once O.J. Simpson was granted parole on Thursday after nine years behind bars in a Nevada prison, the looming question became: what’s next? Where does Simpson go once he’s released from prison in October? What opportunities remain for a man who made his name first as football star, and next as the centerpiece of the nation’s most notorious murder trial?

Simpson has told friends he wants to live a quiet life of family and golf. But the possibility is there for him to return to aspects of his former life. The Pro Football Hall of Fame invites every inductee back for its annual enshrinement ceremonies, and Simpson—inducted in 1985—remains in that number. “All Hall of Famers are invited to attend the annual enshrinement,” a Hall of Fame official told ESPN. (This year’s ceremony is scheduled for August 5.)

Simpson’s bust has remained on display at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio since his enshrinement, with the exception of a brief period in 1995 when it was stolen and quickly recovered. The Hall of Fame has stressed that it only considers players’ on-field activities in terms of honor, and Simpson has certainly tested the bounds of that policy.

The parole hearing on Thursday brought a bureaucratic, if not literal, end to Simpson’s time in prison in connection with a botched 2007 robbery attempt. Simpson was found not guilty in 1995 of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, but remains liable for a $33.5 million judgment in a civil trial over the same crime.

Simpson was the subject of both an acclaimed television series and an Oscar-winning documentary last year, and clearly interest in him—as a tabloid figure, at least—remains high. It’ll be interesting to see how the NFL treats Simpson should he decide to take a closer interest in his former career.

O.J. Simpson, second from right, could still attend future Hall of Fame events. (AP)
O.J. Simpson, second from right, could still attend future Hall of Fame events. (AP)

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.