Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O.J. Simpson Will Get His Freedom, but Then What?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

O.J. Simpson Will Get His Freedom, but Then What?

Article excerpt

LOVELOCK, Nev. * When O.J. Simpson gets out of prison later this year for his first taste of freedom in nine years, he will have the mementos he was convicted of stealing in a Las Vegas heist, his guaranteed NFL pension and, with any luck, certain life skills he says he acquired behind bars.

Beyond that, the 70-year-old sports legend faces an uncertain future.

"The legitimate mainstream business opportunities for Juice in the megabuck world of professional sports are slim and none," said John Vrooman, an economics professor and sports industry expert at Vanderbilt University.

"If Americans love anyone more than a superhero, it is a fallen hero making a comeback against the odds," he said a day after Simpson was granted parole. But Vrooman said the odds against the onetime murder defendant and convicted armed robber "now seem insurmountable."

Others think he will find a way to make ends meet, perhaps by signing autographs and making personal appearances.

"The primary asset this guy has is name and brand recognition. I believe Mr. Simpson believes he can make a bunch of money by returning to the memorabilia circuit," said David Cook, collections attorney for the parents of Ronald Goldman.

Goldman was stabbed to death along with Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in Los Angeles in 1994, a crime O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the following year.

He was found liable in civil court in 1997 for the killings and was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims' families. The verdict is still hanging over him, and the Goldmans' lawyer has been trying for years to seize some of Simpson's assets.

Simpson played 11 seasons for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, and his league pension could be as much as $25,000 a month, depending on when he began collecting it.

Cook said he believes Simpson does not have much more than that, noting that the Hall of Famer lost his Miami-area home to foreclosure in 2014. …

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