'There is no longer any violence in the eyes of O.J. Simpson,' October 6, 1968
October 4, 2008 | 9:22 am
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It's easy to pick apart an old profile of a famous person. The celebrity talks of hopes and dreams and you can see what went according to the script through the years and what went wrong. Charles Einstein's profile of O.J. Simpson in West magazine provides a window into Simpson's senior season at USC, when he would win the Heisman Trophy as the nation's top college football player. It's familiar territory but still interesting reading.
Eisenstein deals with Simpson's remarkable (and relatively short) career at USC and looks back on his 64-yard touchdown run the previous season against UCLA. There's even an artist's re-creation of the run that leaves no doubt the story was published in the 1960s.
But anyone reading about O.J. wants more than details about football.
Simpson talks about how the game changed his life. "I was somebody who didn't care about anything and the best thing you can say about me and trouble is that I was borderline," he tells Einstein. "Maybe I didn't actually do anything but I was there when it happened and that's all you have to be, is there. Then they pick you up anyway."
He also discusses how he'd like to eventually work with young people, probably in his old San Francisco neighborhood.
"In a way it will be good to have money because money is what impresses people who don't have any," Simpson says. "On the other hand, there'll be a problem because if my money comes from football what do I say to a kid who isn't an athlete? That if he studies hard he can be like me?"
The author says this is "a practical dilemma" for Simpson in part because of old friends who were gifted athletes but didn't get a college scholarship.
"The publicity mills at Southern Cal make a point of describing Simpson as 'humble.' If they are right, it is likely for a deeper reason than they know, for Simpson's humility does not masquerade as under-confidence," Einstein writes. "Instead, it reflects his admiration for the ability of others--including those who, perhaps through no fault of their own, didn't make it."