There was a time when O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump were pals.
Close enough pals that Simpson attended Trump’s wedding to Marla Maples in 1993. Close enough that they played golf together. Close enough that Trump suggested in a 1995 interview that Simpson might have been framed for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
You might say that a lot has happened both men since then.
Trump was elected president in 2016, while Simpson, who was found not guilty of the murders, was released from prison last October after serving nine years for kidnapping and armed robbery. Now, in a wide-ranging interview with Buffalo News football writer Tim Graham, Simpson delved into his relationship with the 45th president.
“Somebody asked me if I’d have voted for him,” Simpson said. “Probably not, but I only know two of my friends I’d vote to be president. Some of my best, best besties I would not vote to be president. That has no bearing on it, you know?”
Trump attempted to become an NFL owner himself, once making an offer to buy the Buffalo Bills, Simpson’s old team. “If you were good, he would’ve been fun,” Simpson said. “Ain’t no doubt about it. The one thing I can say about The Donald is The Donald is fun.
“Well, for a dude — and I consider myself a dude — Donald is a man’s man,” Simpson said. “He would be a fun guy. But that’s hanging out. … If the Bills weren’t winning, it would have been tough.”
Simpson also discussed free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the NFL protests that dominated coverage of the league in 2017. Kaepernick became one of the league’s most polarizing figures after his pregame protests, which were meant to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice. And Simpson sided with Trump on the movement Kaepernick started, even if, unlike the president, he didn’t call for owners to fire any “son of a b—-” who took a knee.
“I think Colin made a mistake,” the Hall of Fame running back said. “I really appreciate what he was trying to say. I thought he made a bad choice in attacking the flag. I grew up at a time when deacons were in the KKK. I don’t disrespect the Bible because of those guys. The flag shouldn’t be disrespected because of what cops do. The flag represents what we want America to be.”
Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers parted company in March 2017 and the quarterback has been unemployed since.
“When he did it the first time,” Simpson said, “I thought, ‘Well, you took a gamble, and I give you credit.’ But it was him continuing to do it where he made the biggest mistake. I’m a firm believer of doing what you think is right, but I would always stand for the flag.”
Simpson, 70, lives in Las Vegas now on pensions from the NFL and Screen Actors Guild. That money is not part of a 1997 civil judgment in which he was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the Brown and Goldman estates. Simpson spoke briefly with Graham about “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession,” a Fox special that was based on a 2006 interview for his ghostwritten book “If I Did It.” That interview featured Simpson offering a “hypothetical” account of the 1994 murders.
“When people want to make money or get ratings,” Simpson said, “they’re going to pimp me. I’m going to get pimped.”
When former teammate Sherman White called with support during the interview, Simpson said, “Listen, if I confessed 12 years ago, you would have heard about it 12 years ago!”
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