By now you've all heard that O.J. Simpson was arrested Sunday in Las Vegas for allegedly stealing, among other things, his own signed memorabilia from a hotel room. This is a bit like me being arrested for stealing copies of my own signed canceled checks. Both would be difficult to explain away and yet, somehow, O.J. attempting to reclaim pictures and items from a time before he was the most reviled man in America, is both tragic and appropriate. And completely expected.
Simpson disputes this characterization, telling the Associated Press, that it was a "self organized sting operation." Which makes perfect sense. Because if there's one person I want to organize a sting operation, it's O.J. Simpson. Especially if he consults with Kato Kaelin in advance. If we sent these two guys to Tora Bora, Osama would be done for. Would anyone else love to see the transcripts of the planning of the sting operation? It's probably as confusing and malformed as the University of Michigan's punt coverage instruction. Plus I'm convinced this phrase was used, "Remember cats, we got to keep the po-po's out of this."
Simpson claims, according to the AP, that he entered the room after pretending to be interested in reacquiring the suit he wore in 1995 when he was acquitted of the double murder. Presumably the only reason Simpson would be interested in the suit is because he could then sell it for even more money than he already sold it for. So he'd be re-scalping his suit. Classy.
Who buys this suit in the first place? There isn't a double murder Hall of Fame. And even if there was, everyone knows the glove is what you'd want. How odd would it be to go to some rich guy's place and see that he had this suit? It would be almost as awkward as visiting LeBron James and having to say something nice about the statue of himself he's created or visiting Monica Lewinsky and seeing her blue dress hanging on the wall. Having said that, right now several defense attorneys reading this column are smacking themselves on the side of the head for not buying the suit and using it as a prop for their DUI commercials on television.
Regardless O.J. has been charged with 10 felonies. Ten! Including kidnapping, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Even Michael Vick was blown away by this many charges. Worse for O.J., he was initially denied bail, which is pretty solid evidence that he's being treated differently than most defendants charged with crimes in Las Vegas. Pacman flew in and out on the same day of his felony charges. Fortunately O.J. has been keeping himself busy in his jail cell reading -- I'm not making this up -- The Purpose Driven Life. Although one does presume that this makes his quest to find the real killers of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman much more difficult.
A legal prediction for you: If allowed by his/her superiors, some ambitious Clark County (Las Vegas) district attorney is going to refuse to plea this case out and attempt to get convictions on as many counts as possible. Getting O.J. convicted would make several attorneys' careers and lead to lucrative paydays down the line. Not to mention the heinous Nancy Grace would blow smoke up your keister for an entire year. Which, for prosecutors, is like being nominated to the Supreme Court.
Since Nevada state law requires that the robbery with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon convictions be served consecutively (as opposed to concurrently) O.J. is facing enough prison time to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life. I think everyone sort of assumed that O.J. would eventually get himself back in trouble, but not over autographed memorabilia. It's almost like O.J. thinks the law doesn't apply to him.
My favorite O.J. anecdote comes from Miami, where it was reported by a former University of Miami football player, that O.J. had approached Kellen Winslow Jr. at a Coral Gables mall shortly after Winslow's "I'm a soldier" rant. O.J. told Winslow that he knew from his personal experience that you had to be careful of the media. Yeah, that's definitely the lesson I would have taken from being acquitted of double homicide, too. The media just completely made up that entire story. Nevertheless here are six further O.J. questions that come to mind after the latest arrest:
1. Who does O.J. hang out with now? It seems like being charged with double murder would have a tendency to whittle down the friend list. Can you think of someone you would least rather be out in a bar with? What if O.J. turned to you while you were drinking and said, "Get me a screwdriver." I'm just saying this might be confusing.
2. Do black people think O.J. was framed again? These stories and polls are inevitable.
3. Reportedly, among the items taken, were some autographed cleats from Joe Montana. Don't you hope Montana gets drawn into this case? I'm praying that Stephon Marbury is somehow involved as well. There's no better witness on earth.
4. Could O.J. still beat me in a sprint? Admit it, you were pretty impressed at what good shape he was in for 60 years old. The Juice even had cool jeans on. Do the jeans help him pick up women? Can anything help this?
5. Why does the sports memorabilia dealer also have a photo of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover that was reportedly taken? Is there any overlap in the market here? How many sports fans even know who J. Edgar Hoover is? Are there that many people who call up the memorabilia guy and say, "I want Joe Montana cleats and a framed photograph of J. Edgar Hoover. Also, if you've got them, Rudyard Kipling's pajamas."
6. How has O.J. only paid $10,000 of his civil judgment to the deceased families? He had to get at least that much for the suit, right? What about the new 2k legends football game? Where's his money going? These memorabilia shows seem like easy ways to get celebrities tripped up because they get paid in cash. I wouldn't be surprised to see the IRS sniffing around the Simpson tax returns as these felony cases proceed.