NBC Sports commentator and former professional...

NBC Sports commentator and former professional football player O. J. Simpson sits with a group of servicemen to watch a Thanksgiving Day football game. Simpson is visiting U.S. troops who are in the region for Operation Desert Shield. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night my brother and I were watching a program on NFL players who were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Deion Sanders was one of the players highlighted. As a novice when it comes to sports, my brother explained to me the highlights of Sander’s illustrious career.

My brother’s enthusiasm was infectious and I wanted to watch the entire broadcast. This was a first for me because I always turn the channel whenever a sports related newscast is on as well as a professional sports game.

Watching Deion excite the crowd and the irreverent praise he was given by his fellow players got me to thinking about O.J. Simpson.

While I am not an avid fan of football, I do know about Simpson’s career.

For instance, I know that he won the Heisman trophy in college and was the first draft pick for the Buffalo Bills.

However, my knowledge of O.J. Simpson is from his post football career as an actor and television personality.

I remember him as a harried traveler sprinting through the airport in the Hertz commercials in which he endorsed in the 1980’s. I also enjoyed him in several popular movies.

At one time it seemed as though O.J. was the darling of the sports loving American public.

Simpson’s alleged murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman has been perhaps the most celebrity feeding frenzy of the 20th century.

Please note dear reader that I offer no opinion on Simpson’s guilt or innocence on this post. I just want to commentate on his fall from grace in the eyes of his once adoring public.

How in the world did he go from once beloved sports hero and icon to perhaps the most vilified public figure ever?

Although I am not commenting on his guilt or innocence, I do believe his total fall from grace is a result of America’s unreconciled race problem.

I always pondered if Simpson was White and his wife was black and they had the same turbulent history, would he have been virtually written out of the history books or from the public memory?

I think of Michael Jordan who was and probably is without a doubt the most beloved sports hero in American history.

Jordan’s romance with a White Cuban American model has been well publicized. If he is accused of viciously murdering her will he be vilified in the same way as O.J.?

Jordan, however, has been made into a safe figure by the American media. He has almost transcended Blackness. But, it seemed as Simpson had also transcended race when he was at the height of his celebrity.

One realization that I have gained from years of watching Black athletes packaged as icons and then torn down whenever they deviate from the script that America has written for them is that the true heroes are the rank and file of our race who are still struggling to maintain dignity in the mundane world of Blackness that American has consigned to them !!!

Just my thoughts….