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76-Year-Old OJ Simpson’s Cancer Passing Sparks Deep Dive Into Complicated NFL Legacy

Suresh Menon

76-Year-Old OJ Simpson's Cancer Passing Sparks Deep Dive Into Complicated NFL Legacy

OJ Simpson is undeniably one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL world. His contributions to American football as a player are undeniably remarkable. But his off-field controversies have left a sour taste in the mouths of those who celebrate his sporting achievements. With the recent passing of Simpson at the age of 76 due to prostate cancer, discussions have once again surfaced on the complex legacy of the former Running Back.

While many may remember him for his exceptional skills and athletic prowess, it’s hard to overlook the bigger picture associated with him. His personal life was marred with controversy and multiple serious legal issues. Hence, picking a side or choosing what’s black and white with OJ is a tough ask. However, it’s also unfair to overlook his remarkable achievements on the field because he has what one might call; a template story of rags to riches.

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Simpson’s journey to fame began in the neighborhood of Potrero Hill in San Francisco. From his childhood, OJ had an uncanny knack for sports and his athletic prowess backed him up. He was versatile enough to make it as a baseball or football player thanks to his athleticism. But as fate would have it, football became his ticket out of the hoods to the swanky campus of USC. At USC, Simpson set the collegiate circuit on fire with two All-America selections and a Heisman Trophy win in 1968.

His talent and remarkable pedigree stood out, leading to the Buffalo Bills picking him up in the 1969 draft. Unlike many college wunderkinder, who used to fizzle out due to the pressure of the big league, Simpson showed no such signs. He continued his rich vein of form in the NFL for the Bills. He was a livewire on the field and his exploits for his club helped him win four NFL rushing yards leader titles. OJ also became the first football player ever in 1973 to achieve the milestone of rushing over 2000 yards in a single season.

And the fact that he did this all during an era when the game was much more physical and dangerous added to his legacy. He was earmarked by many then as one of the greatest ball-carriers of the era. However, nothing is constant in life. What goes up fast; falls faster. Something similar happened in OJ Simpson’s life as well.

A Look at the Highs and Lows in the Career of OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson’s NFL exploits made him a rage in the American sporting landscape. He soon became a media darling thanks to his charismatic persona. Brands and production houses naturally came to him because of it. Within a matter of a few years, he was the face of multiple brands and also had an acting career, starring in “Capricorn One” and the “Naked Gun” trilogy. He was the center of media attention throughout.

However, it all went downhill one day when allegations of domestic abuse turned up against the star Running Back. Soon after, he was alleged to have played a role in the tragic deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in 1994. Things soon went from bad to worse as the once Buffalo Bills poster boy was now part of an extensive court case dubbed by the media as the “trial of the century”. The case had multiple twists and turns and was extremely polarizing, dividing the nation along racial lines.

Simpson, in the end, was acquitted of criminal charges despite being found liable in a civil trial. After the nine-month-long trial, the former NFL RB still had no peace as he again found himself in legal waters and got arrested in 2007 for armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison with parole eligibility after 9 years, as per FOX5 Atlanta.

Since getting parole in 2017, OJ has lived in a gated community in Las Vegas, leading his own life while occasionally showing up at posh places in Vegas. He passed away due to prostate cancer on April 10th, marking an end to being the most polarizing NFL athlete in history. From being the face of African-American athletes to being in the “trial of the century”, Simpson truly had one hell of a life.

Post Edited By:Samnur Reza

About the author

Suresh Menon

Suresh Menon


Suresh Menon is an NFL writer at The SportsRush with over 700 articles to his name. Early in his childhood, Suresh grew up admiring the famed BBC of Juventus making the Italian club his favorite. His love for soccer however soon translated to American football when he came across a Super Bowl performance from his Favourite Bruno Mars. Tom Brady’s performance in the finals left an imprint on him and since then, he has been a die hard Brady fan. Thus his love for the sport combined with his flair for communication is the reason why he decided to pursue sports journalism at The SportsRush. Beyond football, in his free time, he is a podcast host and likes spending time solving the Rubik’s cube.

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