There's a favor I need to ask.
Can we agree to NOT WATCH any of O.J. Simpson's parole hearing Thursday?
Can we agree that we are NOT INTERESTED at all?
Can we not sit there WITH OUR MOUTHS OPEN, transfixed by this?
Millions will decide otherwise. They will watch Thursday's hearing, which will be carried on the networks, complete with guest analysis. NBC will use Chris Darden, a prosecutor during Simpson's murder trial, while Fox will go with Mark Fuhrman, the police officer who eventually pleaded no contest to perjury charges for statements he made during Simpson's trial.
The gravitational pull of celebrity, even old, tired prison celebrity, makes me want to put my fingers down my throat.
I have been done with O.J. Simpson for decades. I lost interest even before he was acquitted of killing his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman. Not even recent documentaries on Simpson and the case returned me to the world of Juice. Join me. I beg you.
Let's talk about the Rays. Let's talk about Bucs camp. Or health care or the NBA summer league or the Russia investigation. Anything but O.J.
Of course, there is an actual betting line or two on Simpson's parole chances. The smart money appears to be on paroled, because Simpson has served nearly nine years for kidnapping and robbery and has, by many accounts, been a model prisoner out there in Nevada. His victims and the prosecutors in that particular are apparently not opposed to his parole.
I don't care. And I don't care how he looks. Lost weight? Whatever. I don't care how he sounds. I don't want to hear his voice. I don't care how he served his time or if he has been a model this or that. I don't care if he coached football inside, or what his slugging average was in softball.
Yes, like the rest of the planet, I was hypnotized on June 17, 1994, The Night of the White Bronco — O.J. on the lam. I was at the NBA Finals at Madison Square Garden. The New York Knicks were playing the Houston Rockets. Hardly watched the game. From my press seat, I stared at the TV monitor in Bob Costas' NBC perch, as did dozens of other media. You couldn't take your eyes off that car. It's hard to explain it to someone who wasn't around back then.
I stopped being interested even before Simpson's trial-in-the-round ended. That seems callous, particularly if you believe he got away with murder. But I can't muster outrage anymore. Simpson, 70, might be free by October. He just needs to leave the rest of us alone.
I remember being at New York's Shea Stadium in 1972, ice cold as can be, but I wanted to see the Juice, then with the Buffalo Bills. The Jets creamed the Bills, but O.J. got 89 yards. I smiled as I rode the train away from the stadium. I'd seen O.J. What a day.
O.J. Simpson is up for parole Thursday. Big event. TV event.
I've seen enough.
Let us ride the train away from the stadium. And stay away.