A new ESPN miniseries makes the OJ Simpson tale worth reliving
- Author: Hannah Rogers Jun 17, 2016,
Jun 17, 2016, 4:09
The next episode is mostly devoted to the trial of the century, which officially began in January 1995 and ended on October 3, with Simpson's acquittal. "Nothing could have made him more famous than being put on trial for murdering his ex-wife".
Shipp also says that he is dismayed that Jason Simpson is being accused of the murders in the Sheen documentary, and says this is the time for Simpson to show some character, and tell the world that his son didn't do it, that Jason Simpson is innocent.
Douglas, who has not spoken to Simpson since Cochran's 2005 funeral, would not say whether he believes that the warts-and-all documentary makes the former National Football League star look guilty. "He's part of my consciousness from the time I was a child". Does Simpson need absolution and will he seek it in his later years?
As a film about race in America, Made in America is razor-sharp and remarkably nuanced. In the series, activist and sociologist Harry Edwards notes, "O.J. was the first to demonstrate that white folks would buy stuff based on a black endorsement as long as it was not pressed as a black endorsement". Though still Wednesday to Marguerite, at The Daisy nightclub in Beverly Hills, he became smitten by a lovely 18-year-old waitress - Nicole Brown, who was white. "They don't let them hijack the trial that way". It's a testament to both Made in America's remarkable sophistication and to America's remarkably twisted racial pathologies that, by the end of the film, one has the sense that both sides may have been equally right.
Those spots - with Simpson, in a business suit and carrying a briefcase, dashing through a busy airport to the rental auto gate - helped make him one of the most successful TV pitchmen in advertising history.
However, Shipp, who has known him for decades, says that Simpson will apologize for the 1994 murders. Much like the news clips from the '60s and '70s that have white anchors casually referring to African Americans as "they", there's some eye-opening footage in Made In America of Roy Firestone interviewing Simpson in the early '90s and giving him a friendly forum to shrug off his arrest for spousal abuse. And it was while at USC that Simpson infamously told Harry Edwards, who organized black athletes' 1968 Olympics boycott, "I'm not black, I'm O.J".
OJ at Rich Stadium press conference circa 1975. Here the O. J we know and despise comes to the forefront, but again that's only part of the story as so much time is spent giving necessary context into what was happening in Los Angeles at the time with the LAPD, including the Rodney King beating and resulting riot.
People too young to remember the details of the trial might mostly know about it from subsequent media coverage, which often has treated Simpson's guilt as a given, said Carl Douglas, part of Simpson's murder trial defense team.
In the mug shot made public Monday, Simpson, 68, is smiling and wearing a green shirt presumably part of his prison uniform in front of a red background. Who knows if he'll get it, or if anyone will even care.