Orenthal James Simpson, known commonly as "O.J." or "The Juice," was one of the most famous running backs in American football history. Simpson gained fame as a star running back for the USC Trojans, setting NCAA records and winning the Heisman trophy. His coach at USC, John McKay, said of his star player: "Simpson was not only the greatest player I ever had--he was the greatest player anyone ever had." Simpson's NFL achievements included most rushing yards gained in one season, most rushing yards gained in a single game, and most touchdowns scored in a season. The majority of Simpson's career was spent playing for the Buffalo Bills, though it was with the San Francisco 49ers that he finished his professional football career in 1979.
After retiring from football, Simpson spent time working as a sports commentator, acting, and golfing. His film debuts included the comedy "Naked Gun" where Simpson played a dim-witted assistant detective. Interestingly, Simpson also acted in the film "The Klansman", where he played a man framed for murder by the police. Simpson regularly was seen in Hertz rental car television advertisements, where he could be seen leaping over luggage and other obstacles in an effort to catch an airline flight. Simpson regularly played golf at various events sponsored by Hertz.
Simpson's first marriage ended in separation and divorce. In 1979, a year after his separation, Simpson's first child of his prior marriage drowned in the Rockingham mansion pool. While still married to his first wife, Simpson met a seventeen-year-old waitress, Nicole Brown. Simpson married Nicole Brown in 1985. Their first child was born 7 months later. Brown Simpson often complained to friends and family of beatings by Simpson, who did not approve of her flirtatious association with other men. Simpson denied ever hitting Brown Simpson, and said that her injuries came as a result of friendly "wrassling". After what was described as a "rocky marriage," Nicole filed for divorce in 1992.
Prior to the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman, the relationship between the LAPD and Simpson was one of admiration for the celebrity. Simpson would often have officers to his Rockingham mansion and would attend some LAPD events. Even up until the time Simpson fled in his Bronco, the LAPD deferred to his celebrity status by allowing him to surrender voluntarily to save him the embarrassment of a public arrest. When Brown Simpson would call for police to assist her in a domestic violence abuse situation involving Simpson, the police--with only one exception--would refuse to charge Simpson with any crime. The one LAPD officer who was the exception was Mark Fuhrman, who both sides in the trial later vilified as a racist "bad cop."
On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were discovered stabbed to death. Suspicion soon focused on Simpson as the perpetrator of the murders. After first fleeing (with a disguise and a passport) in his Bronco instead of surrendering to police, Simpson finally surrendered voluntarily at his Rockingham mansion. Simpson plead "Absolutely, positively, 100% not guilty" to the murder charges of Brown Simpson and Goldman.
While the public had revered Simpson, the prosecution sought to have some measure of control over him. Prosecutors took a special delight in calling him by his full name, instead of the abbreviation "O.J." The prosecution sought to discredit Simpson's alibi that he was in his back yard hitting golf balls at the time of the murder.
Following his acquittal, Simpson's friends, in large part, seemed to melt away, especially in upper-class Los Angeles. Simpson still keeps in contact with some of the sheriff's deputies who guarded him in jail. Simpson still plays golf occasionally, but never at his former home course, the Rivera Country Club. Members of that club informed his business manager, Skip Taft, that Simpson was no longer welcome there.