de Vos: Squeeze more juice
The Friday Report
Come on O.J.! Couldn’t you manage just one more comeback?
Football career aside, Fox Television and FX Productions have teamed up to re-hash the 20-year old O.J. Simpson murder trial. There were those who thought he stabbed his wife and her boyfriend. Others believed it was the One-Armed Man. The jury decided beyond reasonable doubt that Justice truly is blind when a black defendant has enough money.
The ten-part series starts February 2nd. The producers claim they’ve opened up new territory by revealing the chaotic maneuvering of both the defense and the offense. Wait, I meant the defense and the prosecution, forgive the unintended sports analogy but you see, it’s O.J.’s football career that’s important to me.
It was a dark and stormy night (I’ve always wanted to do that) on June 17th 1994. I was parked in a rental car, hopelessly lost in Virginia Beach, trying to make sense of a street map by the dim light of a storefront. The car radio interrupted with news of “a slow white Bronco”. I thought they meant John Elway, but no, it was O.J. who was breaking for the outside on L.A.’s 405 Freeway.
I looked up. The store sold sports cards. It was a sign. I walked right in, smiled at the clerk and smiled wider when I realized the store lacked radio and TV. The clerk had no clue that the value of O.J.’s sports cards were about to explode.
“Got any old Buffalo Bills?” I asked, with studied nonchalance, “Maybe that running back, what was his name? Oh yeah, I think they called him ‘The Juice’.”
I walked out with two mint condition cards, O. J.’s 1969 rookie card and his 1970 card, the first two years he spent with the Buffalo Bills. As I paid, laying the bills on the counter, I felt like a personal injury lawyer throwing down banana peels.
As the murder trial dragged on, I was buoyed by the secret knowledge of my killer purchase. The cards sat in my safety deposit box, my money doubling, tripling, then quadrupling again. In my mind’s eye, the cards got larger and heavier, resembling sports cards no more, but rather golden bullion gleaming in the dark.
A few years ago I walked into Denver Sports Cards, opened the briefcase chained to my wrist and asked what they were worth. “Well,” the guy said after a nonchalant glance, “they really aren’t worth anything.”
“No, no,” I chuckled at his ignorance, “You know, O.J. Simpson, his rookie card, Buffalo Bills, mint condition?”
“I heard you,” he said. “They were worth a lot early on, but after the murder trial and the Vegas stick-up, we can’t give ‘em away.” My thought balloon featuring the French Riviera popped.
“But, but . . . why?” I groaned.
“Well,” he said, looking at me like he was sizing up a unicorn, “I guess ‘cuz he’s an doggone murderer!”
Suddenly it was 1929. My stock market had crashed. How could I face my family? My dogs? The chauffeur I was about to hire? I went to the window, slowly opened it and got dizzy looking down. I was on the very top floor of a single-story house, “No!” I shouted, “Leaping is the coward’s way out!”
But maybe there’s hope. Maybe you can’t keep a good man down. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson premieres Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. MT / 9 p.m. CT on FX. Please watch it.
Remember: always buy sports memorabilia at inflated prices!
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