There’s big brouhaha going on at the moment in the mainstream media about O.J.’s tell-all confession. It’s made out to be news, but it’s really news that’s 12 years old.
In Simpson’s If I Did It, published in September 2007, Simpson provides a hypothetical [or not so hypothetical] scenario for how he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The only thing new about this confessional is the format. Instead of reading it, one can now see Simpson tell the story, recorded 12 years ago, as he told it on camera.
People seem to think the content of the confession has changed. It hasn’t . It’s still a true crime cock-teaser where Simpson claims to provide an unadulterated version of the events, but then when he gets to them, he goes blank, literally.
So the television reveal, couched in “everything you thought you knew is wrong, and I’m now going to tell you what really happened,” [only, I’m not] is once again the same crock of true crime cock-teasing nothing. It’s also the mainstream media at its clickbait, fake-news best.
Here’s what we do know, though, about Simpson’s motive.
a) In short, the court said O.J. was not guilty because he was black, and the cops were racist.
b) In his “tell-all” book, O.J. spends a lot of time running down his ex-wife. There’s a chapter devoted to the “two Nicole’s”, where he criticizes her promiscuous lifestyle, and drug taking. While O.J. never says what his motive is in If I Did It, there’s an odd undercurrent that Nicole “got what she deserved” because of behavior.
c) The truth is probably an inversion of If I Did It, in that it was O.J. living a double life that was the problem, and drugs were relevant except it was his drug and alcohol use that caused him to act out his jealousy, often to extremes.
The extended versions of these contentions are provided below:
- He was acquitted because the defense claimed the LA cops were racist
What motive was given in court? O.J.’s defense blamed the double murder on drug dealers, saying the murders were a case of mistaken identity, and the slashing of the throats was a “Colombian necktie”, a signature for a kind of gangland hit that was going around L.A. at the time.
If you were sitting in court, listening to absolutely nothing, then the Colombian necklace theory made sense. If you were listening, then the strange size 12 Bruno magli shoeprint left at the scene, the blood trail leading from Nicole Brown’s home in Bundy Drive, into the Bronco, and then onto the driveway of the Rockingham Estate, and inside the Estate, made less sense.
If it was a frame-job or a hit, how did Nicole Brown’s, Goldman’s and Simpson’s blood get into the Bronco, and why was Simpson’s blood, Brown’s blood and Goldman’s blood on the glove left at the scene, and why was Brown’s blood on Simpson’s socks in his bedroom?
O.J.’s defense, led by Johnny “if-it-doesn’t-fit” Cochran, brilliantly argued not so much that O.J. was innocent, but that the cops investigating him were racist, and thus not innocent themselves. They were able to get hold of a voice recording of one of the cops using the word “Nigger” a few times, and that did it for the jury. Many have said the jury got their “payback” on L.A. cops, through this case.
It was the era of the Rodney King incident [two years after to be accurate], but white racism was very much on the minds of disenfranchised black people living in L.A.’s inner city. The trial wasn’t heard in the district where it happened. The jury was mostly black, a black man was on trial, and ultimately Cochran’s appeal to a racist narrative worked.
The fact that Simpson lived in the lily-white neighborhood of Brentwood, and had white girlfriends, and endorsed “white” products like Hertz, and played a white-man’s game like golf and belonged to exclusive [white] golf country clubs, didn’t figure into the reasoning of the jury.
If he wasn’t innocent, neither were the cops who investigated him. A little pantomime around a glove that was made to look like it didn’t fit, also helped the jury do what they wanted to do – they acquitted a much-loved American hero. The sheer brutality of the crime simply didn’t match [in their minds], the beatific image of the celebrity football star.
2. O.J.’s version in “If I did it” was also that Nicole Brown was murdered because of drugs
In If I Did It, O.J. describes himself wanting to break things off with his ex-wife. Kato also becomes an issue, with Nicole wanting Kato gone, when it was O.J. who asked Kato to live with him, to move in with him, after he had originally moved in with Nicole [to help pay the rent]. Inversions abound. O.J. gets upset because Nicole hits an old lady. She’s the abusive one, not him.
According to Business Insiders’ review of the book:
Simpson talks about how he hates his ex-wife’s group of friends, whom he describes as “hookers and drug dealers and unsavory characters.” The chapter also includes transcripts of two 911 calls made by Brown about Simpson in 1993.
He explores this idea of a split-personality, claiming that Brown would get violent — even attacking the housekeeper — but then cozy up to Simpson and act normal. He brings up that he thinks she has a drug problem. The couple resolves not to get back together after making an attempt at it.
In the crucial chapter dealing with the night of murder, Simpson discusses the recital, and plays it like he didn’t want to be with Nicole.
I was also doing my best to stay away from Nicole, admittedly. I wasn’t going to go anywhere near that woman. I was sick and tired of her s—. If she wanted to take herself down, that was one thing. But I wasn’t going to let her take me down with her.
Simpson and Kato Kaelin, who was staying in Simpson’s guesthouse, get burgers after Simpson returns from the recital. Simpson begins to pack for a flight to Chicago later that night when Charlie shows up. This is where Simpson clarifies that the following is “hypothetical.”
Charlie is a fictional acquaintance who reveals information about Brown that sets Simpson off. Charlie says that some friends of his were in Cabo when they saw Brown and her friend Faye at a party.
“There was a lot of drugs and a lot of drinking, and apparently things got pretty kinky,” Charlie recounts.
Simpson decides that “Nicole was the enemy” and tells Charlie to get in the Bronco because they are “going to scare the s— out of that girl.”
He grabs a wool hat, the infamous gloves that would later be used as evidence at the trial, and a knife stashed under the seat, but Charlie takes the knife from him. After entering through a broken back gate, Simpson notices that Brown has candles in the window, which he presumes are for a man she is expecting.
At this point, Ron Goldman, a waiter from the restaurant the Brown family ate at, arrives with glasses left by Nicole’s mom. This sparks Simpson’s rage and he begins screaming. Brown emerges from her house and starts yelling back. She attempts to come after him, but slips and hits her head. Goldman gets in a karate stance and Simpson grabs the knife from Charlie before blacking out.
After regaining consciousness, Simpson is covered in blood, unsure of what’s just happened. Before getting back in the Bronco, he undresses and wraps his bloody clothes in a bundle. He passes the waiting limo on his way back to his house and pulls off into the shadows, leaving the weapon and clothes to Charlie and instructing him to park the car and leave when the limo pulls away.
As he’s running back and sneaking into his house, Simpson bumps into an air-conditioning unit, which startles Kato. He washes up, gets in the limo, and flies off to Chicago where he gets the phone call about his wife’s murder. After arriving back in LA, he agrees to go talk to the cops with no lawyers present.
Like O.J.’s defense in court, this rambling confession is hardly a confession at all. All it is is an account of his wife’s faults, and his own faultlessness. He’s at the scene, there’s some fictional character as well, and somehow his ex-wife and Goldman end up dead.
3. Inversions and motive
Many may be inclined to dismiss If I Did It, but if you’re trying to get to the operative psychology, that’s a mistake. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The authentic emotions are there, even if misdirections abound to obscure them.
O.J. refers again and again to his anger. Often in scenarios like this, when people are looking for blame, it’s easiest to simply transfer one’s own blameworthiness directly onto the other person. Was O.J. jealous – he makes Nicole jealous. Was he taking a lot of drugs – Nicole was taking a lot of drugs. Was O.J. angry, emotional, abusive and possessive – Nicole becomes all of those things. Did O.J. hit Nicole – Nicole hits O.J.
In the JUICE trilogy I deal in a lot more detail with the evidence backing up these conjectures. The crazy part about this case is how much evidence there is, including evidence the prosecutors had but never fielded in court. JUICE deals with that evidence and lot more.
You can read JUICE here.