O. J. Simpson – 1947–
Orenthal James Simpson was a star of the University of Southern California football team (named All-American, 1967–1968) and went on to a stellar professional career as a great running back. After retiring from football, he went on to a sportscasting and acting career. On June 12, 1994, his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were brutally stabbed to death.
Simpson was accused of the crime and, after a sensational, televised 266- day trial, was found not guilty, despite what the prosecution characterized as a “mountain of evidence” against him. Most African Americans, including those on the jury, believed his defense, that he was the innocent victim of racist Los Angeles police officers determined to frame him for the murder of his white ex-wife and her white friend. The verdict and the public response to it were themselves dramatic evidence of the deep racial divides in American society.