By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… here is a tale of two men.
The first man is a very successful individual who overcame a childhood of poverty to become one of the most recognizable men in America.
He was raised by his hardworking mother. The young man was an All-City football player at Galileo High School in San Francisco. While his athletic prowess was evident, his mediocre grades turned off major colleges across the county. Not one to give up, the young man enrolled in City College of San Francisco. He became a Junior College All-American.
A college coach brought the young man, with dubious academic ability, to one of the nation’s most academically prestigious university on the west coast. The young man did not disappoint as he led the nation in rushing in 1967-68. As a junior, he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. In 1967, he was awarded the Walter Camp Award and was picked as a college All-American.
When he was not playing football in college, he was running on the track team. He was a member of the 4×110 yard relay team at the NCAA track championships in 1967. That team broke the world record.
In 1968, he was selected as the Heisman Trophy winner by the largest margin in the history of the award. He again won the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. He was picked a consensus All American for the second year in a row.
In the first round of the National Football draft, he was selected by the Buffalo Bills and after some haggling, he was signed to the largest contract in sports history at that time. After four years when his talents were basically overlooked by his professional coach, the coach was fired. The new head coach built his offense around the young man and he blossomed into one of the best running backs in the history of the league.
In 1973, he became the first running back to break the 2000-yard barrier. For his performance, he was given the Bert Bell Award as outstanding player in the NFL. He was also declared the NFL MVP of the year. He was the leading rusher in the NFL in 1975 and 1976.
In 1978, he was traded to his hometown team the San Francisco 49ers where he finished out his eleven-year professional career. When he retired he was second on the all-time rushing list. Presently he is number 21. He was the fastest player to reach 1000 yards rushing in a season and the fastest to 2000 yards. In 1973, he set a record averaging 143.1 rushing yards per game. He played in six pro bowl games. He is the only man to rush for over 200 yards in six games in his career. He won the rushing title four times. Over his career he averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 the first year of eligibility.
In 1977, he began a film career that included over 20 films and TV shows including Roots, The Klansman, Towering Inferno, The Cassandra Crossing, Capricorn One, Back to the Beach, and The Naked Gun trilogy. He was a highly sought-after commentator for NFL games.
The young man married at the age of 19; he and his wife had three children, the youngest was lost in a swimming pool drowning in 1979. The couple divorced after 10 years of marriage and he remarried in 1985 and fathered two more children.
The second man was born in San Francisco to a father who left the family for an alternative lifestyle. He grew up in the Potero Hill housing project where he joined a street gang the Persian Warriors. He was arrested numerous times and was sent to the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center for a short period of time.
He married at 19 and fathered three children by his first wife. While still married, he began dating another woman. After his divorce, he married again and fathered two children by his second wife. This marriage lasted seven years and ended in divorce after he had pleaded no contest to spousal abuse.
A year after the divorce, his second wife and a friend were found stabbed to death outside his ex-wife’s condominium in Los Angeles. This set off what has been called “TheTrial of the Century” when he was brought to trial for the double murder. His defense team made up of some the most famous defense lawyers in America, took on the female prosecutor. The state presented the most inept case possible and he was acquitted of all charges. His own defense attorneys refuse to proclaim him innocent; they merely stated that the prosecutor was so inept that she could not possibly get a conviction.
He was later found liable for the wrongful death of both of these people and had a 33 million dollars judgement placed against him. The state of California claims the man owes them $1.44 million dollars in back taxes. In 2001, he was arrested for battery and burglary for yanking the glasses off another motorist during a traffic dispute. He was acquitted on both charges. In 2001, his Miami home was searched under a warrant alleging he was involved in a major drug ring. No evidence was found and the charges were dropped.
In 2002, he was arrested for water speeding through a manatee protected zone. He was fined only for speeding. In 2004, DirectTV accused the man of using illegal electronic devices to pirate its broadcasts. The company won a $25,000 judgment and the man had to pay $33,678 in attorney fees.
In 2007, the second man entered a room at the Palace Station in Las Vegas and at gun point took sports memorabilia that he claimed had been stolen from him. He was arrested and charged under a dozen counts including armed robbery. He pleaded not guilty, went to trial and was sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 9 years.
The first man is of course O.J. Simpson. The second man is Prisoner #1027820. Prisoner #1027820 was granted parole last week, and upon his release, he will once again become O.J. Simpson. The question that remains to be seen is which O.J. Simpson will return to Florida, man one or man two?
Thought of the week…“The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.