OJ Simpson’s alma mater, USC, stays conspicuously silent on his death

OJ Simpson’s alma mater, USC, stays conspicuously silent on his death

Not only is the NFL staying silent about OJ Simpson’s passing, but his alma mater has similarly resisted calls to address the scandalized running back’s death this week.

Southern California has a copy of Simpson’s Heisman Trophy at the campus’ Heritage Hall, and his jersey remains retired by the Trojans in recognition of his two remarkable seasons in the USC backfield. What’s more, https://nhanlambangcap24h.com/ his No. 32 is prominently displayed at every home football game on the banners that drape the peristyle steps of the venerable Coliseum.

But when Simpson’s death from prostate cancer at 76 in Las Vegas was announced Thursday, his school made no public acknowledgement of it.

The silence — atypical for the Trojans, who have lauded their passing football greats with flowery public statements — is an obvious statement in itself about the complicated relationship with one of the most accomplished athletes in USC history.

Lincoln Riley was born 15 years after Simpson won his Heisman, but the current USC coach was left to provide what might turn out to be the university’s only prominent words on Simpson’s death during his normal spring football media availability.

This booking photo provided by the Los Angeles Police Department shows Simpson in 1994

A silhouette of Reggie Bush is seen in front of the retired jersey of USC alumnus OJ Simpson

‘Certainly as a head coach here, you obviously know about his history and his legacy, the kind of player that he was here,’ Riley said. ‘We definitely, certainly recognize that, and obviously extend our sympathies to his family on their loss.’

That disconnect largely has been the standard for institutions in Los Angeles and across the nation for the past three decades since Simpson was charged with killing his former wife and her friend in 1994.

The worlds of sports and entertainment largely disassociated from one of the most famous athletes-turned-actors of his generation, and most of his longtime friends and admirers had dropped Simpson by the time he was acquitted in 1995.

So it’s difficult to remember that until the public course of Simpson’s life changed forever in his late 40s, he was widely perceived as an embodiment of the American dream.

He grew up in the Potrero Hill housing projects of San Francisco, overcoming brushes with gangs, a few arrests and juvenile corrections before finding a way out through football. Simpson then played two seasons at City College of San Francisco, becoming a two-way junior college star.

A young OJ Simpson is pictured during his days at USC, where he ran track and played football

Major programs offered scholarships to Simpson for the 1967 season, and he chose USC, the school he admired growing up. He arrived on campus with high expectations under coach John McKay, but he exceeded every reasonable prognostication by becoming one of the most dominant running backs in college football history.

Just how important was Simpson to the Trojans while they went 19-2-1 and made two Rose Bowl appearances during his two seasons? He carried the ball a jaw-dropping 674 times in just 22 games for 3,423 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Simpson remained popular in Los Angeles when he went on to his NFL career in Buffalo and San Francisco, and he returned to Hollywood to continue his acting career after his retirement from football. He was an avid golfer and a member of the famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, where he played several times a week in 1994 — including the morning before Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were killed.

Simpson was found liable for the deaths in a civil trial in 1997, and subsequent attempts to rehabilitate his image foundered. Simpson’s charmed Hollywood life was over.

The former football star and USC remained publicly estranged for the rest of his life — and an attempt to change that backfired as well.

Simpson visited USC’s practice in Fort Lauderdale in late 2002 while the Trojans were preparing to face Iowa in the Orange Bowl. The 1968 Heisman winner, who hadn’t been around the team since the murders, chatted with reigning Heisman winner Carson Palmer and others.

Simpson is pictured in 1968 – a season that ended with the running back winning the Heisman

Pete Carroll called Simpson ‘a legend’ after welcoming him, but the coach and the school received widespread public condemnation for re-associating with Simpson. His connection with USC was largely finished from there, particularly after his subsequent nine-year incarceration for armed robbery.

Simpson’s death didn’t change how most of his former teammates and friends felt, for better and worse. Many of Simpson’s former USC teammates have also died, and others didn’t want to speak publicly about him when asked Thursday.

Three years ago, Simpson told The Athletic that he didn’t enjoy being in Los Angeles because ‘I might be sitting next to whoever did it. I really don’t know who did this.’

Simpson was mourned by the official Heisman Trophy X account following his death from cancer , leading college football fans to slam the ‘crazy’ and ’embarrassing’ social media post.

Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Ron Goldman (left) and Nicole Brown (right), but was later found liable for their deaths in a civil trial in 1996

Simpson was later found civilly liable for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman.

However, that didn’t stop the official Heisman account from memorializing Simpson, posting a graphic that said the following: ‘The Heisman Trophy Trust mourns the passing of 1968 Heisman Trophy Winner OJ Simpson. We extend our sympathy to his family.’

That post did not go down well with fans, who heavily criticized the graphic.

‘No one is mourning but you and his kids,’ one wrote.

A common response to the Heisman post was also that Reggie Bush, another former USC star, should get his Heisman trophy back.

Bush won the award in 2005, but voluntarily gave it back in 2010 after an NCAA investigation had found he accepted impermissible benefits while at school, with heavy sanctions placed on USC as a punishment.

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