As far as local newspaper NFL writers go, few are as good at what they do as The Buffalo News' Tim Graham. Graham, who spent some time with ESPN, has repeatedly captured important and engaging stories in the NFL cosmos. So it should come as no surprise that he landed the first lengthy interview O.J. Simpson has granted in 10 years.
During the wide-ranging conversation between Graham and Simpson, they touched on just about everything under the sun: his time in prison, CTE, life since he left prison, and more.
Simpson, 70, said he gets a lot of interview requests but “everybody wants to talk about the crap” and outlets want to “pimp” him for ratings. He said he did not watch the recent two-hour FOX special, FX miniseries, or ESPN documentary series about him, and he insisted he is happy with his life.
“I consider myself a retired person,” Simpson told Graham. “I'm totally happy with my life. I've been active my whole life. I had no offseason. Football was the only time I was in one place. I was doing endorsements and running companies. I enjoy my retirement.”
In 2016, Dr. Bennett Omalu, the face of CTE research, said he would bet his license that Simpson has CTE.
“I get concerned,” Simpson said of CTE. “I do recognize that it probably affects you in short-term memory more than long-term. I know with me, I have days I can't find words. I literally cannot find words or the name of somebody I know. That gets a little scary. Those days happen when I'm tired.”
Of course, Simpson and Graham also touched on his time at Lovelock Correctional Center, where apparently Simpson played a lot of fantasy football.
“I had four fantasy teams in Lovelock,” Simpson said. “I ran a league; they called it the Champions League. When I first got to Lovelock, there was one, maybe two fantasy leagues. When I left, if there were a thousand guys on the yard, 910 were in fantasy leagues.”
And at one point, Simpson shared his thoughts on Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem throughout the 2016-17 NFL season. Simpson spoke about how he didn't agree with what Kaepernick did.
“I think Colin made a mistake,” Simpson 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.”
Simpson added: “When he did it the first time, 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.”
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