[guest post by Dana]
Simpson, convicted of robbery and kidnapping, was granted parole Thursday — a unanimous vote by the four-member Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners reported instantly by national and international media. He could be free as soon as Oct. 1.
His release, too, is unlikely to go unnoticed. The moment Simpson received his fourth and final vote from the Nevada Board of Parole recommending release, he dropped his head, as if to give a quiet cheer of celebration to himself, before responding, “Thank you.”
Simpson was also asked what he thought life outside might be like:
The former USC and NFL star running back shrugged it off like a tackler who had taken a bad angle on him. “I’ve been recognized since I was 19,” he said. “I’ve dealt with it my whole life.”
Simpson told the board he wanted to be with his family after missing birthdays and graduations. When it was suggested he might have a webcast or blog once he’s out, he shook his head. Not interested.
That’s probably a good thing because some in the entertainment industry have already explained why they don’t think he should work in Hollywood again:
Giving Simpson a slick reality show or some other lucrative vehicle that allows him to make money while rehabilitating his image would be one more example of the media — more specifically, the entertainment industry — getting it wrong. Making O.J. the center of a new story and telling it from his point of view would, inevitably, make him sympathetic to some. Point of view is a powerful tool, and storytellers taking up O.J.’s cause, whatever the environment, would not hard-pressed to resist a redemption narrative. But that tendency would have the unfortunate effect of minimize and possibly even de-legitimize those who think his troubled past — which was not, as he claimed at the hearing, free of violence — is problematic in the extreme.
America loves second chances, but this one has far too many queasy elements to make it work.
It’s just as well. Simpson would then have time to pursue the real killer of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.
In reading about today’s hearing, I was struck by how many people, along with myself, remember exactly where they were in 1994 as they watched a bizarre drama unfold on television with O.J. Simpson in the backseat of a white Ford Bronco and the driver leading the police on a nearly 50 mile chase from Orange County to Los Angeles.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)