Off the Wall

O.J. Simpson's name should be taken off the Bills' Wall says BFR's Adam Beilman...

"I said to Mr. Simpson, I didn't know if he was arrogant, ignorant, or both. And during the trial and through this proceeding I got the answer, and it was both."

Those were the words of Judge Jackie Glass, who Friday sentenced former USC and Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson to at least nine years in prison following his conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping charges stemming from a September 2007 incident at a Las Vegas hotel.

Glass helped to solidify Simpson's fall from grace: football star and Hollywood somebody to a frail and embattled old man and now a convicted felon. Simpson's behavior, that is, being found to be legally responsible for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman (although he was, of course, acquitted of criminal charges), attempting to publish a controversial book about the slaying, and now this incident can be described as nothing but shameful. The last thing people should associate Simpson's name with is fame; he should not be honored at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

O.J. Simpson's football career was unquestionably a great one. The nation's leading collegiate rusher for two seasons, Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. That year he was drafted by the then-AFL's Buffalo Bills and went on to become the franchise's greatest running back rushing for more than 11,000 yards, being selected to the Pro Bowl six times, and being named NFL MVP in 1973 after becoming the first running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Simpson earned his spot on the Bills Wall of Fame, and was a first-ballot NFL Hall-of-Famer, but since then the only fame he deserves to be associated with is infamy. He no longer deserves to be revered as a part of franchise history, as some things are larger than football. His off-the-field disgrace far outweighs his sporting achievement, which really only appeared on the stat sheet.

Following the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Bills only made the playoffs once during Simpson's time on the team, and did not win a playoff game. The Wall of Fame should be used to recognize those individuals who have had a significant contribution to the betterment of the franchise and/or the community, and now it is difficult to see how Simpson compares to the likes of Ralph Wilson, Jack Kemp, Marv Levy, Joe Delamiellure, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, "The 12th Man," and others who are honored on the Wall in those respects.

I, for one, cannot wait to see Simpson's name cleared in favor an individual whose name deserves to be revered amongst the Bills' greats. Van Miller, anyone?


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