He will soon be a free man, but there are some places that disgraced football star O.J. Simpson will be banned from, and one of those places is at his alma mater.
A week after the world learned that Simpson would be released from prison, USC football coach Clay Helton spoke to reporters and made it clear that the former Trojans running back would not be welcome on campus. TMZ noted that Helton was asked during PAC-12 media day on Thursday whether Simpson would be invited to watch practices or attend any other events at the university.
“Currently, right now, what the USC administration and athletic department has said is, ‘No, O.J. will not be a part of our functions or invited,'” Helton told reporters, adding, “That’s been the statement.”
The Associated Press reported that Simpson had previously been a guest at a USC practice before the 2003 Orange Bowl. And while the university has made the decision not to have him at future events, the school is still celebrating what Simpson accomplished as a Trojan. This includes keeping his No. 32 jersey displayed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as well as a copy of the Heisman Trophy he won in 1968 at the campus’ Heritage Hall. USC has also chosen to celebrate Simpson’s former teammate, A.C. Cowlings, with an undergraduate residential building named in his honor. Cowlings was the driver during the infamous low-speed police chase of a white Ford Bronco following the 1994 murders of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
One place Simpson will be welcomed, however, is the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
According to a report by ProFootballTalk, O.J. will be still be permitted to attend the annual enshrinement ceremony if he chooses. The reason is that the Hall of Fame only recognizes what an athlete accomplishes on the field and not what happens in their lives off the field.
However, what occurred in Simpson’s life following his football career is hard to ignore. He was acquitted of the double murders in what was known as the “Trial of the Century,” but later found liable for Brown and Goldman’s deaths in a civil suit. Then, in 2008, he was convicted of the armed robbery of sports memorabilia dealers in Las Vegas. He served the minimum nine years of his 33-year sentence and could be released as early as October.
[Featured Image by Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal/Pool/AP Images]