First off, it's about damn time.
Yeah, I get it. Lots of people still, and always will think OJ brutally murdered Nicole and Ron. They are entitled to their opinion, but it has never been anything more than arm-chair prosecutorial speculation.
They weren't there. Nor was I. Nor were you. During the criminal trial, the jury saw all the evidence, lack thereof, and heard all the testimony from relevant witnesses. We didn't. And they came back with a not-guilty verdict. Twelve people and it was unanimous.
That should have been the end of that.
But no, a civil wrongful death suit followed, pushed hard by Ron's parents. And Simpson was found culpable. Here's a question -- How can one be found guilty of wrongful death when a previous jury said he didn't do it in the first place? But that's the way it went down. Ron's family would get a judgment of over 30 million dollars against OJ, attempting to loot him of all assets forevermore.
Yet a couple things were also in play. By that time, OJ was happily living in Florida, where state laws made him basically untouchable. And his NFL pension, a handsome sum indeed, was off-limits. Florida's a great state with tons of things to do year-round, and Simpson could live the life of ease playing golf every day, swimming, hanging out with babes, and whatever else he chose.
But then he did something incredibly stupid. Going to Las Vegas with a couple friends and attempting to retrieve memorabilia he thought rightfully belong to him was a colossal mistake. So was one of his pals having a gun in tow.
So he got jacked up on a whole range of charges. Armed robbery, kidnapping, anything the prosecutor could think of. They threw the proverbial book at him.
And the verdict quickly came back guilty, on all charges. Did he commit a crime in Vegas? Sure. But upon sentencing, it quickly became obvious the "system" was out for "payback" on a verdict they strongly disagreed with in the first place.
So they hammered him. Nine to thirty three years in a penitentiary, for crimes that any ordinary individual would have received far less punishment for. It was a blatant miscarriage of justice done by those with wrongfully vengeful attitudes. And sadly, the public cheered.
There was never any kidnapping, nor was anyone physically harmed in that Vegas hotel room. But yes, it was a stupid thing to do in the first place.
Fast forward nine years and the perception of many has done a complete about face regarding OJ Simpson.
He's not only been a model prisoner, helping many other inmates in various positive ways, but even the guards at the pen regarded him with high esteem. To have done nine years behind bars with nary a complaint for acts that rose nowhere near that level of punishment finally resonated with many in the public as well -- as if they ever counted in the first place. Everybody cheered when his final parole was finally granted. After all, he'd already been paroled on all the charges but simple robbery, and nine years was WAY over the top for such an infraction.
So OJ, now 70, but mistakenly thought to be 90 for a brief humorous moment by a clueless parole official, wants to go back to Florida to live out the rest of his days.
It's probably a pretty safe bet that Orenthal James Simpson will be a model citizen from here on out. He's seen the not-so-fair wheels of justice up close and in person grind away, and it hasn't worked out exactly well in his case. Nine to thirty three years for what more probably should have been a 3-5 sentence.
But still, the powers that be have to get in one last dig. Even though OJ has been given the green light to his freedom, it won't happen for at least a couple more months -- October 1 at the earliest. This is absurd.
They've had nine years to sort out the paperwork when this day finally came, so what, pray tell, is the hold-up, no pun intended, now that it has?
He should be released tomorrow, if not sooner, and while first class airfare probably shouldn't come as part of the deal, at least given a bus or train ticket to take him wherever he wants in Florida. A couple more days on the road likely wouldn't bother him much as he ponders the past -- and future.
Nevertheless, at long last, after all the arm-chair quarterbacking, speculation, media sniping, and the outrageousness of his time being incarcerated, he will finally be free.
And did I mention it's about damn time?