O.J. is getting short end of justice stick this time

    I can’t help but groan every time I inadvertently wade into some coverage of the O.J. Simpson debacle on television because I can’t shake the feeling that this nonsense is going to reinforce stereotypes about our hobby that we have been collectively trying to put behind us for 20 years.
  
   After a most-welcome run of mainstream media coverage of our hobby that has been almost uniformly positive for several years, along comes this bit of silliness to turn back the clock a bit. Our high-profile auction houses have done a superlative job of upgrading the hobby image for many years now; indeed, even amid all this bizarre Simpson coverage, Bill Huggins of Huggins & Scott Auctions did a great interview on CNN earlier in the week, presenting the hobby in a good light even as it was/is taking a beating from almost every direction. The veteran Huggins, taped in his Silver Springs, Md., hobby store, cast the hobby in a positive light, even as he described O.J.’s impromptu autograph appearance at the National Convention in Chicago two years ago.
  
   As CNN almost immediately switched to being “The All-O.J. All the Time Network” within hours of Simpson’s arrest, the blows to the hobby began in earnest. One anchor even managed to imply that the mere act of doing some kind of a business deal in a hotel room was something nefarious by definition, which, of course, is more nonsense.
  
   Obviously, it’s not fair, but what’s fair got to do with it? It would be laughable how lost the various anchors and TV correspondents are in trying to sort out the story, except that it’s truly a serious matter, especially in light of the inclusion of firearms reportedly at the scene
  
   I know this is almost certainly politically incorrect, but I also can’t shake the feeling that the irony of this incident is going to be nothing short of stunning. O.J., the despised pariah who was on the winning side of one of the great miscarriages of justice in our lifetime, is now being prosecuted to a degree way out of proportion to the seriousness of the crime precisely because he got away with murder way back when.
  
   Does anybody truly believe that the hotel room incident as described would have elicited the vast litany of criminal charges if it somehow involved some anonymous schmuck rather thant O.J.? At least in theory, the charges involved are supposed to be evaluated without taking into account a double homicide that a majority of Americans feel he committed in 1994, but of course that’s not going to happen.
  
   The cable TV chattering about sending Simpson to jail for the rest of his life – noting his already advanced age of 60 – sounds ludicrous to me in light of the charges that are reported.
  
   And whether most people want to admit it, we don’t want our criminal justice system working in a fashion similar to NBA refs who seem to grant “makeup” foul calls to balance the scales after an earlier blown decision. That’s just not the way it’s supposed to work.
  
   In the “For What It’s Worth Department,” two other observations come to mind. First, I can’t help but notice the low profile or even no profile of Pete Rose in all of this. Because of Pete’s notoriety and prominent role in the memorabilia business, I figured he would wind up on the cable circuit providing commentary, but it may be that he’s finally clammed up. That may be a good thing and perhaps even strategic: he’s likely gotten advice suggesting he dummy up after his last several public appearances seemingly left him even less sympathetic than before.
  
   And finally, as the cable shows have been playing the same O.J. footage over and over again, I couldn’t help but ask: How can a guy who has reportedly  played golf full time for a decade or more have such an awful swing? I am not suggesting that his clunky swing constitutes an additional felony – or even a misdemeanor, for that matter – but you would have thought he could have gotten some professional assistance over that span. And now it may be too late.

3 thoughts on “O.J. is getting short end of justice stick this time

  1. Yank Fan... on said:

    "I can’t shake the feeling that this nonsense is going to reinforce stereotypes about our hobby that we have been collectively trying to put behind us for 20 years."

    It is what it is…report the news fairly — the good and the bad — and the hobby will be stronger as a result.

  2. brett on said:

    Part of the joy of collecting and the hobby for me is that I collect what I like and really don’t worry what people think or say about "our" hobby. The news media dosen’t make our hobby we do.

  3. Dave on said:

    Our legal system goes soft on the front end of career criminals. There seems to be a shift to start handing out more severe punishments as the career criminal racks up the repeat offenses no matter how mundane the latter crimes. I am not saying that any of OJ’s crimes were mundane. As mentioned, the introduction of firearms in a scene is serious and elevates the stakes to life and death immediately. Like the flick of a switch.

    There does seem to be an unspoken "catch up" punishment being delivered for repeat offenders and most of today’s public finds this digestable. The justice system does not deliver baseline justice for the criminals or the victims the majority of the time. It is a system that has become more self preserving(like education/politics), working at it’s own sluggish pace.

    Jurisdictions and special interests are the rudder, look at Michael Vick. There was a man that basically had no significant legal history before he got, well, sacked. The local Virginia prosecutor said there was not enough to bring in a case but the Feds came in and made a national, high profile case with a mountain of evidence. I guess justice, crime, and punishment are not universal throughout the legal system. It would be interesting to see if Brett Favre had been caught dog fighting and gambling. Same results? I do not think so. The possibilty that Vick could serve more time(and pay a much higher financial toll) than OJ has to this point is very real. Vick took a knee in his plea and is meeting his punishment head on, how often does that happen anymore?

    I think accountability on the front end of matters is waning, unless you get a situation like Vick where public outcry(or public crying) creates the perfect storm. You could look at our schools and see this unfortunate unaccoutability influence permeate that institution as well. The consequences are often times unrecoverable.

    The Barry Bonds saga will be interesting, Barry has always thumbed his nose up to people but the Feds are not amused. I have a feeling that they are going to go after him very aggressively. There are also careers, families, and Hall of Fame chances that are in jeopardy with the pending Mitchell report. The story is a very dark chapter in baseball history and does have some ramifications for the hobby to sort through. The asterick laden Bonds home run ball symbolizes the circus atmosphere. Yet, the ball will be most likely displayed in Cooperstown or maybe kept in their inventory room for safe keeping. Public burning of OJ’s USC jersey? Putting the Bonds ball to public vote as to it’s fate? An unsettled public, looking for justice is surely finding unique ways to vent.

    Auction houses have done good for the hobby image. With that being said, I fully expect an auction scandal within the next five years that will hurt the hobby for a period of time. There are many good people in the big auction houses and they sell some of the highest quality items available on the market but I would hesitate to select any auction house to make a blind faith investment. I already smell a bit of smoke although my fire detector has not officially gone off yet. I hope it is just a false alert.

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