Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who stars as O.J. Simpson in the new series, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, thinks that Simpson may suffer from brain damage that occurred during his career as a football player.
People reports that Cuba Gooding Jr. recently spoke about Simpson possibly having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain disease, typically found in athletes who suffer repetitive brain trauma. According to Gooding, Simpson exhibited some of the classic symptoms of CTE during recorded 911 domestic violence tapes.
“You’ll see an episode that details the actual 911 tapes based on the domestic violence that he experienced, that Nicole Brown Simpson experienced. One of the aspects of having CTE is that the physical manifestation of that aggression that your brain motivates in a person is something that’s uncontrollable and memorable. I think that it’s just so very telling in his behavior.”
Forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu agrees with Gooding, even going as far as telling People last month that he would bet his physician’s license on it.
“I would bet my medical license that he has CTE.”
In 2012, Simpson’s attorneys thought about using CTE as a way to get him a new trial for his 2008 armed robbery conviction. Simpson’s defense team planned to say that CTE caused the former football star to concoct the plan of robbing Bruce Fromong, a sports memorabilia dealer, at gunpoint, in a Palace Station hotel room in Las Vegas.
Simpson’s attorneys hired forensic Norton Roitman to testify on behalf of the former NFL player. According to court documents, Roitman was prepared to state that, “repetitive blows to the skull can produce a neurological impairment that involves confusion and problems with judgment that can impair processing and perception.”
Yet, after preparing to use CTE as his defense, Simpson’s attorneys scrapped the idea last minute and focused on a different defense.
Simpson’s former business manager Norman Pardo revealed that O.J. is “like a child” due to his brain damage, and in turn, feels that Gooding isn’t properly representing Simpson in the new series.
“I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and all, but he’s definitely not like O.J. Simpson. O.J. has a lot of issues. He’ll do things that are just whacked out. He’ll sit in a corner and he’ll talk to himself. He’ll answer himself. And I’ve caught him doing that numerous times … He doesn’t really understand a lot of things. … When you handle him he’s like a child.”
Pardo referred back to the 2007 robbery incident to give an example of Simpson’s behavior.
“Like Vegas, when he went into that room. He knew better. He called me and I told him, ‘Don’t go in there,’ but he did it because he doesn’t understand things.”
Regardless, Simpson was convicted of robbery and is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Pershing County, Nevada.
Simpson hasn’t been diagnosed with CTE, as a formal diagnosis entails examining the brain after death. However, in 2012, he revealed despite getting hit in the head numerous times, he continued to play football.
“I was knocked out of games for such head blows repeatedly in the 1970s and other times I continued playing despite hard blows to my head during football games.”
To see the new O.J. Simpson series, tune into American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Tuesday nights on FX, at 10 p.m. EST.
[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images/Stringer]