O.J. WILL STAY IN HALL OF FAME, BUT SHOULD HE?

On the same evening that the Heisman Trophy is being awarded, the Associated Press points out that former Heisman winner O.J. Simpson won’t be losing many of his football accolades after being convicted of felony charges and sentenced to at least nine years in prison.
For our purposes, the only award that matters is Simpson’s membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the AP points out that Simpson’s status in Canton won’t be affected.
But should it be?  We took a straw poll recently of several Hall of Fame voters, and the voters with whom we spoke agree with the position that off-field antics, during or after a player’s career and/or induction, do not and should not matter.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated, NBC, Sirius NFL Radio, and probably a few other things we’re forgetting, was unequivocal.  “I am totally opposed to removing O.J. from Canton,” King said.  “When we vote on players for the Hall of Fame, we have a clear mandate:  Only what happens between the white lines counts.  Citizenship, either during his career or 20 years after it, doesn’t matter.  And I don’t think it should.”
Another voter, who asked to remain nameless, echoed King’s bottom-line position, but also suggested that a different outcome to Simpson’s prior criminal trial might have caused the unnamed voter to support kicking Simpson out.  “If he had been convicted of what we all assume he did and someone moved to change the by-laws, I’d be for it,” the unnamed voter said. 
Nancy Gay of the San Francisco Chronicle also said that Simpson should stay put.  “He is recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his on-field achievements and excellence,” she said.  “His off-field activities are separate.  That’s been my stance when I consider any candidate, and the Hall encourages selectors to consider a player’s on-field credentials only.”
Ditto for John Czarnecki of FOX.  “Off-the-field incidents are never considered,” Czarnecki said.  “Some selectors may have personal views, but that should never impact the objectivity regarding one’s football-playing ability.  O.J. was one hell of a runner.”
Finally, Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange echoed the views of the others.  “[Simpson] was enshrined based on his performance as a player, and nothing that happens later in life changes that.  Off-field conduct that is known prior to being selected is not supposed to be considered and I agree with that.”
In this case, the fact that Simpson’s transgressions came after his career — and after his induction — makes it easier for the voters to cling to the Hall of Fame’s view that only on-field performance matters.  But if Simpson had (allegedly) killed his ex-wife and her friend during his playing career or after retiring but before entering the Hall, we suspect that he would have been waiting a while before ever getting in.
Frankly, we disagree with the notion that off-field conduct shouldn’t matter.  Virtually every kid who passes through the place from now until the doors are closed will be told about O.J. Simpson, the guy who butchered two people and who somehow beat the rap and later went to jail for something that was made to seem a lot worse than it really was.
Is that the impression the folks who run the place want first-time visitors to come away with?  That they saw the bronze head of the guy who nearly decapitated the mother of two of his children?
At a time when we’re repeatedly hearing that playing in the NFL is a privilege and not a right, we think that the folks responsible for the venue that honors the best of those who exercised said privilege should change the rules to keep out — and if necessary throw out — men whose presence would bring shame to the Hall of Fame.

70 responses to “O.J. WILL STAY IN HALL OF FAME, BUT SHOULD HE?

  1. what about lawrence taylor? should he be kicked out florio? a hall without LT and OJ would be a joke, it would be ignoring the past, which in itself is a sin greater than their inclusion.

  2. These people are liars. If they only paid attention to the on field performance, Charles Haley would have been in on the first ballot.

  3. The Hall of Fame is a place great PLAYERS get into . It doesn’t say you have to be a model citizen. Just like Pete Rose, OJ should be in the Hall.

  4. ok since i think im FIRST!, i start off by sayin how funny it is how jim dunaway (who is a ex bill and killed his wife also is never mentioned or dogged out like oj is. and by the way,dunaway killed his wife AFTER oj did the same plus his own kids sued him(and won). WHERE IS ALL THE PUBLIC OUTRAGE??? things that make u go HMMMMMMM!!! LOL

  5. Amen, Florio. The NFL’s front office is always bitching about player conduct, and yet they refuse to kick a murderer and thief out of Canton. They’re all hypocrites, in my opinion. Say we elect someone to a political office, and then they kill two people. Do they get to stay in office because their record was clean when they were elected? NO.

  6. The football hall of fame is a joke and always has been.
    The problem is, football is a team sport, won by the battles between offensive and defensive lines. And there are 5 starting offensive linemen for every starting quarterback and running back. What is the proportion of QBs and RBs to offensive linemen? Something is clearly out of whack.

  7. kicking players out of the HOF for off the field issues is a bad idea. OJ is hardly the only lowlife in Canton.

  8. Pete Rose was banned from Baseball’s Hall of Fame for life. The all-time hits leader in a sport more than 100 years old cannot get in…for GAMBLING!!! How people can believe that is worse than murder is just rediculous. Guys, it’s the Hall of “Fame”, not the hall of good football players. Is a few good years in the greatest sport ever enough to make us all overlook his deplorable actions since? I agree whorehartedly with Florio. People like OJ do not deserve our admiration, especially when there are loads of players, past present, and future, that are as good or better than he ever was. In my opinion, there should be removals of individuals in extreme situations of personal conduct. I’m not suggesting that i know what the standard should be, nor will there likely ever be a standard code, but i do know that double-murder and kidnapping and robbery are all far worse offenses than gambling. There should be a line for these athletes that should never be crossed, and at the risk of losing something that matters more to them than the lives of innocent people.

  9. I agree with the people quoted. Off-field transgressions should be meaningless. Simpson is one of the greatest running backs who ever lived, unfortunately.
    Florio, you don’t have to say Simpson allegedly committed the acts (but then later on you say he butchered two people, without saying allegedly!).
    He was convicted in civil court, and also, there is nowhere close to another suspect because, namely, there is no other suspect, since OJ murdered the two people.

  10. Yes he should stay in the Hall of Fame the crimes he committed had
    had absolutely nothing to do with his football career.
    Now Belichick he cheated to win games.Hall of Fame and Belichick
    should’nt be used in the same sentence.

  11. How in the world did that &^%$#!!! Pete Rose get included in this discussion?
    Kick O.J. out, and tighten the rules. There is enough going at at Canton, he would not be missed, and in time not even remembered.
    There is so little decency left, and the NFL is doing little or nothing to set any in place as a guideline for players or youth. It would be a true breath of fresh air if a movement could accomplish O.J.’s removal.

  12. No one who is ever elected to the hall of fame should ever be removed from the hall of fame for any off field antics. Ok that may be ‘too rigid’ a standard, but that being said, I’m confused as to why the OJ defense team did not utilize the semi-recent ‘concusion-itis’ that’s been going on in the NFL as a defense.
    “Members of the jury… your honor… yes these thing did occur, yes my client did jam a gun in the face of his ‘friend’… however my client suffers fromm long term dementia due to multiple mis-diagnosed brain trauma known as concusions.”
    In any event – he belongs in the Hall and should remain in the hall almost as much as he nelongs in prison and should remain in prison…
    On a side note. I’m wondering what the rules are – can just anyone visit people in jail? Can the Blast Furnace just show up and be like -“hey, we’re here to see OJ”???

  13. Players conduct! What about coaches conduct! Belichick!
    Should Belichick be inducted into the Hall of Fame? NO!

  14. “Spyder Monkey says:
    December 13th, 2008 at 9:11 pm
    Pete Rose was banned from Baseball’s Hall of Fame for life. The all-time hits leader in a sport more than 100 years old cannot get in…for GAMBLING!!! How people can believe that is worse than murder is just rediculous.”
    Pete Rose was an active participant in the major leagues when he was banned for life (which included being excluded, for life, from the Hall of Fame). His gambling may or may not have affected the outcome of games HE MANAGED. He deserved to be banned for life because gambling is STRICLY forbidden and for good reason. Had Rose not been a participant in ML games when he was caught gambling, he probably would be in the HOF. If he was already IN the HOF when he was caught, he would have remained there.
    To draw the conclusion that people believe gambling is worse than murder is “rediculous”. The point is, OJ was in the Hall long before any of these things occurred, and you can’t rewrite history. Had he killed his wife and been convicted of armed robbery BEFORE he retired, and BEFORE he was elected to the HOF, odds are he wouldn’t have made it.
    So in conclusion….don’t be an idiot.

  15. He should stay, but be offered up as a cautionary tale. A sort of pathetic example of where life can lead you down the path of self destruction if you start to believe the crap and ignore/shun reality.
    He really just a version of Pete Rose. Not the same but having a lot 0of the same demons.

  16. That is beyond retarded. Simpson was an amazing football player and earned the Hall of Fame. Anything he does the rest of his life has no connection to that.

  17. this ahole kills people and they dont kick him out but pete rose gambles and mlb wont let him in , huh ?

  18. Does OJ still have his Heisman vote? Or is it like when they take away your right to vote for commiting a felony? Keep him in the Hall.

  19. Hey Mr. Mike,
    They should put some language together describing
    “heinous, or repugnant and debaucherous conduct
    that warrants removal from the hall based on a
    super-majority vote of two thirds” or something along
    that line. OJ has been heinous, repugnant and debaucherous.
    Given the opportunity, a super-majority might boot him.

  20. Using this logic, Hitler should be in the road building hall of fame. Have you seen that Autobahn? Incredible piece of highway. So he was responsible for a few million deaths, big deal. Now with that said, with all the the other scum bags in there, you can’t take O.J. out. But to say you should only consider what happened between the white lines tarnishes the hall and lessens the honor for the truly great players. It’s called guilt by association. He are known for the company you keep.

  21. Like everyone else in the world, I think it was obvious that OJ was/is guilty of murder, BUT he was found to be NOT GUILTY. You can’t get the court of public opinion judge whether somebody did something or not. And regardless of whether he did it or not, it sounds like no one’s going to pull him because of his off the field antics. He is clearly in trouble with the law right now, but what he has been charged with isn’t anything to kick someone out of the Hall of Fame for.
    If he was convicted of murder, you might have a better argument for getting him out of there, but, according to Judge Ito, he’s as innocent as you or I. (except for Ray Lewis if he’s reading this)
    @ wingnut,
    I agree with you analysis of Belicheat. With OJ, we’re talking about off the field issues that he wasn’t even found guilty of. (and the current issue which he was found guilty of but isn’t egregious enough to be kicked out of the Hall) Belichick was found to be cheating which obviously helps him win games and flaws his record and reputation. He has had some great accomplishments in the NFL, (his 36-44 record with the Browns not withstanding) but you can’t let a proven cheater into the Hall of Fame. And no one give me the “the taping didn’t affect any outcomes” crap, because why would you do something that is CLEARLY against the rules unless it gave you some competitive advantage?

  22. they should remove his plaque and put up a picture of him in cuffs.
    how does off the field things NOT matter? if they dont then why have a player conduct rules, why suspended chris henry, jared allen, etc?

  23. We all know he’s guilty, but in a court of law he was cleared. That’s what is on his record and it seems ridiculous, if we claim to be a “nation of laws”, that you would retroactively punish a man who was cleared by a jury for actions that occurred long after he retired from football. As for the impression left on visitors to Canton, it should be a simple one – they are athletes, not gods. You may admire their athletic accomplishments, but they did not cure cancer, wipe out poverty, or make the world significantly better. Some were pillars in their communities. Many did little or nothing. And some were weak, immoral, and criminal off the field. In other words, they are just like the rest of humanity – flawed.

  24. This isn’t the Pro Good Person Hall of Fame, or the People Who Haven’t Murdered Someone Hall of Fame. It’s the Pro FOOTBALL HoF.
    He was a fantastic football player, thus he deserves to be in the Pro FOOTBALL HoF.
    It’s really that simple.

  25. If we remove all the low-character guys, I guess I’ll have no reason to take my sons to the HOF. I hate people like Florio who want to get all self-righteous and tell us who the real bad people are. Fact is, there are probably a lot of scum bags in the HOF and–GASP!–our families, workplace, neighborhoods, and most likely Florio’s immediate family, if someone were to comb through their lives with a fine tooth comb.
    If parents aren’t capable of discussing the O.J. story as one of the most tragic falls from grace, then those people shouldn’t be parents. O.J. was one of the greatest RBs (top 3 IMO) to ever lace them up. I’m not going to hide that fact from my kids or anyone else for that matter. Second, what O.J. did after his PLAYING career, demonstrates how fame and fortune doesn’t guarantee good decision making and personal happiness. Whoa to those of who want to teach that lesson. Oh wait, I forgot, we’re supposed to shelter our children from all that is “ucky” in this world. If we do that, we’re guaranteed to “protect” them from all the evils in this world.

  26. While I agree that he should not be kicked out, I think it would do those “first time visitors” a lot of good to see a note of some kind of his current lodgings. It might make a real impression on some of the kids getting ready to play high school/pee wee football that just because you can run with a football, doesn’t put you above the law. MAYBE they won’t get infected by the entitlement bug that seems to infect a lot of the elite players.

  27. I’m curious cause I dont really know. but how many of the current NFL HoF members have any criminal records?
    If O.J. gets the boot becuase he was naughty after his career was over then any HoF member that has any criminal record should be removed.

  28. No one cares if you agree ir disagree with the HOF voters, your opinion means less than s@#$. You don’t have a vote, you don’t write the bylaws.
    They are voted in based on their careers. His career is a HOF career, period. His life may be a P.O.S. life, but his career is HOF worthy. Removing him from the H.O.F. would be a crime in itself and would warrant doing away with the HOF itself.

  29. Seriously, lets hear the defense of LT or Michael Irving staying in the hall of fame. Role models??? I hope those arent your versions of role models for your own kids Florio.

  30. The hall of fame is about performance on the field who gives a sh*# anyway why the hell is michael irvin in their they need to make up their minds as to what makes a hall of famer is it rings? stats? I for one am sick of it take a look at someguys you think wouldn’t be hof’s wheres andre rison better numbers than irvin and he has a ring where’s irving fryar go ahead and laugh other readers but numbers don’t lie look em up the hall is a joke.

  31. @ meglasdad,
    Yes, OJ=Hitler,
    Good comparison…*rolls eyes*
    Being acquitted (fairly or unfairly, which we all think he did it) of murder charges is exactly like being responsible for over 12,000,000 deaths.
    Same thing, right?
    And what is this road building hall of fame?

  32. I agree with the previous comment about Pete Rose his actions influenced the outcome of games he was involved in, and was one of the things that turned me off to baseball.
    Ray Lewis was cleared of two murders while being an active player, so should that affect whether he gets in ? . I say yes, if I had a vote Lewis or Bellicheat wouldnt get it.
    Here’s another way to look at it: Should Pat Tillman get into the HOF ?

  33. Well, to be fair, I don’t think anyone sat OJ down when he was inducted and explained to him that if he happened to murder two people in cold blood, he’d run the risk of being removed from the Hall of Fame.
    Frankly, had he known that, maybe he would have had second thoughts about killing people. I suppose one could make the case that the NFL ITSELF is responsible for the murders!!!!
    In any event – we can’t just up change the rules on OJ now – it just wouldn’t be fair.

  34. Mike, while I commend that you feel strongly that off field behavior should be taken into account when talking about a player and stuff, but removing O.J. is a bit much. His legacy is unfortunately tarnished by his off the field actions. HOWEVER, what he accomplished ON THE FIELD can not be erased from the record books and should be remembered by fans. Like him or not, Simpson is the first RB to run 2000 yards in a season. That fact is not going to be ever erased, no matter how you feel about him. Simpson was one of the best RBs to ever play the game. Period. I hate what he did off the field. However, he was a great player.
    I knew Pete Rose was going to be dragged into this. Pete Rose was banned from baseball for breaking a rule of baseball:GAMBLING. Would the Pete Rose apologists please accept this?

  35. Would OJ be inducted now given everything that has happened in his life? No, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be removed from the HoF. I think that a player’s off-field actions, positive and negative, affect his chances of getting into the HoF. What next? Are we going to eject HoF’ers whose records are rendered obsolete? Is there going to be a probationary period like when you start a new job, so that if a player messes up after getting in h gets booted? Give me a break…
    Also, to compare him to Hitler is a pretty weak analogy. Let me know when OJ commits genocide. Emmitt Smith has committed genocide on the English language, but he won’t get ‘blowed out’ of the HoF.

  36. BuckFutter says “To draw the conclusion that people believe gambling is worse than murder is “rediculous””.
    i just knew someone would be dumb enough to post this exact response. of course, that was not at all what i was saying. My point was that, to say “you can’t be in the Hall of Fame because you gambled” when a murderer is allowed to stay in, that’s what is rediculous.
    you also said “Pete Rose was an active participant in the major leagues when he was banned for life (which included being excluded, for life, from the Hall of Fame).”
    is that LESS offensive to you than what OJ did? you’re in effect saying that, as long as he waits till after his career and induction is over, a player can go out and gamble, rob, kidnap and/or murder without fear of damaging his sports legend status. why sould it matter if he killed two people before, during, or after his career in the NFL? these people are role models for kids, for crying out loud. what kind of message does that send?
    in my opinion it is more of a disgrace to keep his name & likeness (or any others) in company of people who have not done the kinds of things we all know he did, than to remove him.
    I believe the Hall of Fame should be a privilege, not a right. it’s just one man’s opinion, and opinions are like a**holes, everybody’s got one. i’m not aksing everyone who reads this to agree with me.

  37. I understand both sides of the issue because as a player he was great, and I know that it shouldn’t be about the person himself. But its a image thing, and why would anyone want to glorify him. But if you remove him, there are a few more players you have to get rid of.

  38. I dont agree with OJ’s actions but the Hall of Fame is done,his off the field conduct should not tamper with his accomplishments of his past. People can be so political correct at times. He was never convicted in a court of law,OJ has earned the right to be in the Hall period. 2,000 yds in 14 games is still awesome no matter who does it,again I am not a fan of his off the field actions.

  39. What a hypocrite Peter King has shown himself to be – he goes all righteous on Spygate, ignoring the other coaches like Jimmy Johnson and the proof of spying in the NFL going back 50 years.
    As if that standard weren’t confusing enough he’s now decided to set the bar ultra low when it comes to OJ.
    Does anyone take a word he writes seriously anymore?

  40. its the FOOTBALL hall of fame, not the nobel peace prize society. super skilled players go in, nonsuper skilled players stay out. it should be based on football only.
    the only reason there are conduct rules and suspensions is because the NFL is primarily a business, which needs to run smoothly and maintain a nice image.
    The FOOTBALL hall of fame is pretty much a statistic. so it is based on skill and skill only

  41. 4 all the people bringing up pete rose, i say: i agree, pete rose should be in the HOF, but baseball and the NFL are 2 very different things. baseball has already had bad gambling experiences (black sox) and it announced the serious ramifications gambling would have. football has not had nearly as many scandals (it has more thugs though) and therefore, the NFL does not make HOF decisions based on character…
    plus, pete rose’s crime could have led to rigging games, which no matter how good you are, should never be allowed in any HOF

  42. Mr. Florio,
    Sometimes you need to check your lawyer mentality at the door. The Hall of Fame exists to acknowledge those players, coaches, etc. that perform/contribute to the game of pro football at the highest levels. By making such acknowledgments, the league is not condoning unacceptable off-field behavior.
    If we are to apply a moral standard to those enshrined, who is to be the arbiter of such a “code”. It’s a slippery slope. It’s easy to make the case for murderers to be expelled. How about rapists? Wife beaters? Child molesters? Where does perjury fit in? Bribery? Assault? Embezzlement? Adultery? If you think I’m exaggerating, think about how many players, sports writers or fans would want to kick out any former superstar who later came out of the closet?
    Life is full of triumph and tragedy. Our heroes are flawed. Those are the lessons to be conveyed to the kids that parents take through the Hall of Fame.

  43. Spyder Monkey says:
    December 13th, 2008 at 10:50 pm
    BuckFutter says “To draw the conclusion that people believe gambling is worse than murder is “rediculous””.
    i just knew someone would be dumb enough to post this exact response. of course, that was not at all what i was saying. My point was that, to say “you can’t be in the Hall of Fame because you gambled” when a murderer is allowed to stay in, that’s what is rediculous.

    I’m beginning to wonder if you know that you spelled “Spider” wrong.
    “is that LESS offensive to you than what OJ did? you’re in effect saying that, as long as he waits till after his career and induction is over, a player can go out and gamble, rob, kidnap and/or murder without fear of damaging his sports legend status.”
    Yes. Because OJ no longer had any ties to the NFL. Pete Rose did. What someone does as a private citizen after their career in the NFL is over CANNOT tarnish what they accomplished on the field while they were an upstanding member of both society and the league. A million different factors, outside of the football world, can contribute to the downfall of a player….YOU CAN’T REWRITE HISTORY.

  44. What else does The Juice Man have to his name? He’d probably kill himself if he got kicked out. I bet Fred “gold digging shit eating” goldman is going to hire someone to shank up The Juice Man

  45. There is only one logical solution to all of this:
    CREATE A PRO FOOTBALL TALK NFL HALL OF FAME
    We could call it PFT NFL HOF for short haha.
    We could induct players based on:
    – on-field conduct (sportsmanship)
    – off-field conduct (humanitarianism)
    – on field performance (in relation to era)
    – long term effects of player to his position ( i.e. Junior Seau had a greater effect on the OLB position than Strahan did on the DE position)
    Florio could make the suggestions twice a week, and we could vote “yay” or “nay” on each player/coach. (We’re all here on a daily basis anyways)

  46. wow…i guess being acquitted of murder means you did it. yeah he may have been found guilty in civil court, but its not the same thing, by any stretch. Im not saying he didnt do it, just saying that in a court of law…he was found innocent.
    And im not an oj supporter by any stretch, honestly the dude has some issues, but seriously? seriously? you really think a dude should be removed from the football hall of fame because of something he did years after he quit playing football? I didnt think it was the retired players with good conduct hall of fame. Its the FOOTBALL hall of fame.
    Did he play football well? hell yeah he did. Simpson was an amazing back and should get credit for his accomplishments. Now, if they change the name of the football hall of fame, to the i was once good but now Im an oustanding citizen hall of fame, then yes he should be removed. But it wont, and he shouldnt. He played well and unfortunately he performed poorly outside of football, but that shouldnt mean anything in regards to the hall of fame.

  47. OJ bust should stay but a new bust of BUBBA his cellmate and GOOD friend should be placed alongside

  48. I think OJ should stay in the HOF… Who are we now to knock the accomplishments he achieved on the field 30 yrs ago ?? I grew up watching OJ run rampant thru most teams at will. He was an amazing RB.
    What he has done since ending his football days is disgusting and is very public. Most of the people who are ranting about him being banned from the HOF are those who never saw him run. For the record, I’m not a Bills fan now or ever, but I enjoy watching the game played by high quality players and OJ was one of those guys. The guy has lost just about everything in his life because of bad choices. He’ll continue to pay his debt to society, but stripping him of his past glories serves no good purpose for either side…

  49. Why are people comparing MLB to the NFL? Two different sports, guys. Is it strange that Rose isn’t in because of a gambling problem? Yes. But honestly, OJ was an extraordinary running back, and that’s why he’s in the hall of fame, and that’s where he should stay, murderer or not. The football hall of fame is all about what you did on the field as a player. You can be the biggest low life player in the world, and if you run for 3000 yards in a season and scored 35 TDs (obviously an exaggeration), I would hope you’d be voted into Canton.

  50. I’m of the view that the Hall of Fame should have to do with athletic achievement, period. If your play merits you getting in, you’re in. That’s not to say the blurb placed with your bust should ignore your off-field antics and exploits; they should be as fully enumerated as your on-field accomplishments. But as long as you were a good enough player, you should be in the HoF, so that everyone can know how great a player you were and what a scumbag you were if that’s also the case.

  51. dumb…Lets go player by player and see if they all live up to society’s standard….maybe start another Hall of fame for people with lower standards….Florio could be the head nut ….Nyuck Nyuck

  52. Well, for my two cents:
    Players get enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
    en·shrine (n-shrn) also in·shrine (n-)
    tr.v. en·shrined, en·shrin·ing, en·shrines
    1. To enclose in or as if in a shrine.
    2. To cherish as sacred.
    I don’t think people who murder two people (alledgedly)and bust in to somebody’s hotel room with a posse to rob them should be “enshrined” in the HOF.
    Do I think LT and Irvin should be in? Absolutely not. Were they great players? Yes, but that does not mean that they should be idolized for that reason. I think a Hall of Famer is a player who was equally great on the field and off.

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