June 17, 1994 was such a momentous day in sports that it spawned a documentary about its events, but 17 years to the day after the fact, one moment endures – O.J. Simpson’s police chase. Simpson’s white Bronco represents an iconic moment in the history of American media, and the trial that followed the chase was a cultural touchstone like few in recent years. The sad saga moved to the forefront on that day.
We weren’t old enough to really appreciate what was going on at the time of the trial, so we rely on accounts of those who obsessed over it at the time (which was a whole lot of people). We were aware it was happening, but that was about it. We’re kind of happy about that, since it became this ugly, practically endless episode with opinion so divided along racial lines, such a sad reminder of how far race relations in America still had to go…oh, and the fact that Simpson walked despite overwhelming evidence against him.
But there’s no denying that the whole sorry episode captivated the nation – and aside from maybe the eventual verdict, nothing was more captivating than that Bronco. Such a bizarre scene – made even more so by the split-screen with the NBA Finals (remember, big sports day), made even more disturbing by the audio we later got of an LAPD officer pleading with Simpson to throw his gun out of the car. Video of that below. It’s a disturbing scene. 17 years ago today…not long ago enough.