I was fourteen years old when OJ Simpson went from being a former Football god and comedic movie star to landing the Trial of the Century. As a kid in the 1980’s I saw old football footage of The Juice doing what he did best on the football field and I remember my dad using illustrations of OJ on the field in his glory days to make a point in a sermon he gave from the pulpit of our church. I remember watching The Naked Gun for the first time and laughing to the point my sides hurt when OJ’s clumsy and unlucky Detective Nordberg tried to repeatedly catch the bad guys and would find every way imaginable to screw it up and hurt himself in the process. By the time Nordberg is bound to a wheelchair and seems to be on the mend in a football stadium only to roll down every concrete step and go plummeting to the field below, I was spewing soda out my nostrils and clutching my sides.
But then 1994 happened and suddenly the tone about OJ Simpson shifted to a dark place in my household and in households all over America. In my fourteen year-old naivete, I mistakenly assumed every single human being in the country was certain of OJ’s guilt and assumed that the only reason the trial lasted as long as it did was because OJ was famous. This was partially correct, but for reasons I really had no idea about. I would occasionally hear throwbacks to the infamous LA Riots of 1991 and 1992, and even with the advent of Johnnie Cochran to OJ’s legal team, I’m embarrassed to admit I really had no idea how the two events were related until recently.