Believe it or not, O.J. Simpson still has a say when it comes to the Heisman Trophy winners. The Juice won the esteemed award himself in 1968 while attending the University of Southern California. Every Heisman Trophy winner gets a vote each year to determine the next recipient, and despite his complicated past, O.J. still gets to put in his two cents.
The former running back is fresh out of prison for a robbery and kidnapping arrest after serving nine years behind bars. The 70-year-old spoke with TMZ while he was out celebrating daughter Arnelle Simpson’s birthday Monday night.
When asked if he had voted for the 2017 Heisman winner, O.J. responded, “Of course I did.”
The Juice seemed very knowledgeable about this year’s nominees and assumed Saquon Barkley of Penn State would have been in the running. O.J. seemed to favor Barkley, as well as Sam Darnold of USC. However, both men were not revealed as nominees for the prestigious award.
O.J. admitted nominees Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, and Bryce Love of Stanford were both worthy of the Heisman, and always assumed Lamar Jackson of Louisville would be nominated as well. The parolee did not let on to who he lent his vote towards, but the big winner will be revealed next week on December 10.
It’s rather shocking that O.J. is still allowed a vote in the Heisman race, as a Heisman has been removed by scandal in the past. Reggie Bush notoriously forfeited his 2005 award in 2010 after it was revealed that Bush had received cash and other benefits while playing at USC. Despite spending nine years in prison, the Juice is still allowed his vote.
However, O.J. no longer has his esteemed trophy as he sold it in 1999 for $255,000. The former Trojan sold the trophy to help pay part of the $33.5 million he owed (and still owes) the Goldman and Brown families for his wrongful death civil judgment. According to Reuters, he now owes the families around $58 million, and hasn’t put much of a dent in the sum.
When speaking with TMZ, O.J. also noted why winning the Heisman was an extra special day for him. He remembered being handed a note during the ceremony that informed him his daughter had been born. O.J. confessed he couldn’t give a proper speech because he was so excited about the birth of his daughter. Coincidentally, he was with Arnelle when he revealed the story, who turned 49 on Monday.
O.J. was extremely proud of his daughter while speaking with TMZ and walked with his arm around her, opened her car door, and proclaimed “Happy Birthday to my daughter!” as he got in his Tahoe and left.