O.J. Simpson Wasn’t Even That Sorry, Was Obviously Still Granted Parole

O.J. Simpson Wasn’t Even That Sorry, Was Obviously Still Granted Parole
  • Tanya Ray Fox

On Thursday, O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing was televised nationally across multiple networks in the anticipation that he would indeed earn his freedom after spending nine years in prison. That’s exactly what happened, as all four members of the board agreed to grant him parole.

While the outcome wasn’t surprising based on predictions from media and even the Vegas odds (yup…) the decision to release Simpson after his notably unapologetic testimony has left many people feeling unsettled and viewing this as yet another failure to hold him accountable.

Simpson’s long-winded explanation of his crimes, how he handled himself in prison and what he plans to do with his life if granted parole were interspersed with oddly-timed jokes and attempts at humor – some of which even worked. However despite being repeatedly asked to express contrition and responsibility for what occurred back in 2007, Simpson couldn’t bring himself to do so.

Instead, he consistently expressed the belief that his only real mistake was trusting the wrong people at the wrong time. Here’s one of his responses to the parole board on the subject:

“I wish this would’ve never happened, I apologized to them at my sentencing. You know, there’s nothing I can do about this kind of media circus going on right now, but I could do something about the whole thing in the beginning. If I would’ve made a better judgement back then, none of this would’ve happened. And I take full responsibility because I should’ve never [trails off]… I haven’t made any excuses in nine years, but I should have never allowed these alleged security guys to help me because it turned out they were only trying to help themselves. If they weren’t there, Bruce and I – we tried to do this. We tried to sit down in the room and call this guy Mike Gilbert and discuss it all but these guys took over and we were unable to do that. If we were able to do that, you would’ve never heard about this. None of us would be here today.”

O.J. repeated that phrase “I wish this had never happened” many times throughout the hearing, always following it up with some version of deflecting the blame onto the others involved in the robbery. The most important factor in any parole hearing is the expression of real and honest remorse – regardless of the crime committed. It’s the reason that wrongfully convicted people rarely get paroled, because the claim that they did not commit the crime and therefore can’t be remorseful does not satisfy the terms of eligibility for release.

He also frequently made the claim that he has no history of past violence, going so far as to say that he’s lived a “basically conflict-free life”, which naturally elicited some strong reactions on social media.

There was also this vintage O.J, outburst during which we got a glimpse at his infamous tendency to slip into bouts of rage before quickly composing himself and turning back on the charm:

In the end though, it appears he was aided significantly by compelling statements from both his eldest daughter and friend and victim of the actual crime, Bruce Fromong. Simpson is expected to be released on October, so until then, we can expect the jokes to keep coming.

Tanya Ray Fox

Tanya Ray Fox is a sportswriter and producer who has worked for nearly 7 years in both digital and television sports media. She has previously worked in TV production experience for Comcast SportsNet New England, NFL Network and Time Warner Cable Sports. In addition to her work for SportsGrid and appearances on the affiliated FNTSY Sports Network, she is also a contributor for USA Today's Rams Wire.