Pro Football Hall of Fame issues statement acknowledging O.J. Simpson's passing

The passing of O.J. Simpson has prompted many different reactions. It's impossible to remember his life without acknowledging the thing for which he's best known.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has managed to do the impossible, issuing a lengthy press release that focuses on his football career, points to his "second career in acting and broadcasting," and takes great pains to point out that he is enshrined in Canton for his "on-field contributions." It also fails to mention the thing for which he is best known.

It's appropriate to recall his many accomplishments as a player. But there's a significant complication to his story that cannot be ignored.

He was tried for double murder. The evidence of guilt was overwhelming. He was acquitted. He was then found responsible in civil court for wrongful death, of both victims. He later went to prison for nearly nine years, on unrelated charges.

It's unclear why the Hall of Fame decided not to make even passing reference to the off-field realities of Simpson's life. While his off-field behavior didn't prompt his removal from the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame should not pretend those things didn't happen.

For O.J. Simpson, nothing is more significant than the unsolved double murder that many (if not most) believe he committed, and that a civil jury found him responsible for. His name is synonymous with that crime. The fact that he has died shouldn't change that.

We each will have a unique legacy. Simpson's legacy includes the killing of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

Mentioning those crimes does not disrespect Simpson. Omitting them from his obituary absolutely disrespects his victims.