O.J. Simpson is a free man, or will be come October after successfully earning parole during Thursday’s media-hyped hearing, which was at times amusing, somber and absurd.
Here are the most absurd moments from Thursday’s hearing:
Simpson’s Defensive Quotes
In an effort to defend himself, Simpson shared with the four commissioners overseeing the hearing via video conference a series of questionable statements. Given the controversy of Simpson’s 1995 double-murder acquittal and the drama of his 2008 robbery and kidnapping conviction, Simpson’s criminal history shows some black marks, making these comments from his hearing slightly confusing.
• “I was a good guy on the street.”
— Jay Shelat (@jshelat1) July 20, 2017
• “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life.”
— MS (@Inconcievable24) July 20, 2017
• “I’m not a guy who lived a criminal life. I’m a pretty straight shooter.”
OJ like "I'm a straight shooter, I'm OJ!"
America: Ok… pic.twitter.com/cImzLrImUD
— Tyler Claxon (@T_Clax3) July 20, 2017
• “Nobody has ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them. I never have.”
"No one has ever accused me of pulling a weapon on them" OJ at today's parole hearing pic.twitter.com/fSQBiHLbVF
— Coach Lamphier (@Coach_Lamphier) July 20, 2017
2. Kansas City Chiefs Tie & Heisman Shirt
Simpson’s football career with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers earned him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but not everyone loved “The Juice,” particularly those fans of opposing teams. And while Simpson’s football career was never intended to come up in his parole hearing, one commissioner brought sports to the table, literally, when he showed up wearing a burgundy and gold Kansas City Chiefs tie. The man, Adam Endel, ultimately voted in favor of granting Simpson parole, but he had the Twittersphere wondering throughout the whole event if his tie might have been suggesting a bias against the former NFL star and current prisoner.
— Erin Phillips (@_ELAP_) July 20, 2017
Endel wasn’t the only player to don football-related attire. Simpson’s friend Bruce Fromong, one of the victims from his Vegas crime, spoke to the commissioners on Simpson’s behalf during the hearing wearing a back Heisman polo, likely a tribute to Simpson’s collegiate football success. Fromong had a career as a sports memorabilia dealer, thus offering one explanation for the shirt. But the other possible reason for his fashion choice could have everything to do with the candidate for parole that he came to support.
— James Lewis (@jameslewis1128) July 20, 2017
3. The “Age” of Simpson
Simpson isn’t necessarily the most popular guy in the world, but aging him 20 years? That’s a little harsh. At the start of Simpson’s parole hearing, head commissioner Connie S. Bisbee read from her script, listing Simpson’s name, parole eligibility and the risk assessment procedure. Then, she stated his age.
“We have that you have very recently turned 90 years old.”
Bisbee caught herself almost immediately, repeating 90 and then correcting herself and subtracting the appropriate 20 years from Simpson’s age. The mistake caused Simpson to laugh, perhaps easing his tension before the real questioning began.
— SUPERSTREETx (@SUPERSTREETx1) July 20, 2017
4. The Donald Trump reference
So much of Simpson’s hearing was analyzed, assessed, predicted and studied, but one of the most unexpected comments came “off the record.” In the final moments before the commissioners announced their votes on parole, Simpson and his lawyer exchanged a series of comments, relating to none other than Donald Trump (and a recent TIME Magazine article).
“Kind of like President Trump,” Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm Lavergne, can be heard saying in the final minutes of the hearing. “Trump gets two scoops. Everyone else gets one.”
Simpson smiled. “Oh, I heard that,” Simpson replied. “I heard that.”
The exchange reveals very little about the full conversation that the two men had during the recess, but the comment did bring some additional humor into a hearing that ranged from serious to awkward to comical to intense.
5. “Why is it better to be in the community than in the prison?
It’s only appropriate to ask during a parole hearing why a prisoner would like to be released, so the question “why is it better to be in the community?” may seem logical to ask. Well, almost as logical as its answer. So, what is better about freedom versus jail? Perhaps it’s not being behind bars, perhaps it’s the ability to choose when to eat, when to sleep and when to use the bathroom. Perhaps it’s all of those things, but Simpson, in his response, avoided the obvious and instead tugged at the commissioner’s heartstrings. “Right now, I’m in a point in my life where all I want to do is spend time with my children,” he said.
The question may have been absurd, but Simpson’s answer was not.