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Editorial: O.J. the man is no longer the hero

High schools graduates today were not alive 20 years ago when the television viewers first heard of a double murder of O.J. Simpson’s wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Twenty years later, people still debate whether O.J. “did it,” while he sits in a Nevada prison convicted of another crime.

Three days later in 1994, television viewers around the world were transfixed as O.J. led police in a slow chase along the San Diego Freeway before eventually ending up at his home before being taken into custody.

O.J. came onto the national sports scene in 1967 as a halfback at the University of Southern California. He ran with a golden touch and everyone wanted to be his friend. In his senior year at USC, he won the Heisman Trophy and numerous other awards.

He later joined the Buffalo Bills in the National Football League, achieving rushing records: in 1973 rushing for 2,003 yards for the season and in 1976 rushing for 263 yards in a single game against Detroit.

He also launched an acting career - appearing in “Roots,” “The Towering Inferno” and “The Naked Gun” trilogy. He was soon flying through airports in Hertz commercials and launched a broadcasting career.

O.J., also known as “the Juice,” was a popular man who made a fortune as an athlete and then off his fame.

It all came crashing down on him in 1994, when two counts of murder were filed against him. O.J.’s murder trial in 1995 drew attention around the world and made names like Mark Fuhrman, Johnny Cochrane and Marcia Clark famous. But the glove didn’t fit and O.J. was acquitted.

His luck did not last.

In 1997, a California civil jury found O.J. liable for wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown. A decade later, O.J. led an effort to retrieve some stolen memorabilia and was soon arrested for multiple felonies.

Today O.J., a convicted felon, lives in a 4-by- 6-foot prison cell in Nevada and awaits his first parole hearing in 2017.

O.J. was an renowned athlete and public figure with everything going for him. Yet somewhere he lost his way and made many tragic decisions.

This fallen hero is a hero no more.