And Simpson, the quintessential American sports hero, was brought down by a trial that could not vindicate him even with a "not guilty" verdict. Too many people wanted him to pay for the deaths of his beautiful ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, found stabbed in front of her Los Angeles condominium.
Too many people believed Simpson had gotten away with murder.
The man who had won the Heisman Trophy and was known for his phenomenal running on a football field — and in commercials for Hertz cars — ran again when he was named as a suspect in the June 1994 killings. The spectacle of police chasing after one of America's most famous men across Los Angeles freeways was an image for history books. The slow-speed white Ford Bronco pursuit became part of the legend.
It took a year for his trial to unfold. There were issues of racism, domestic violence, mishandled evidence — and the many memorable moments, and lines, that quickly became part of the pop culture lexicon: Simpson struggling to squeeze on a bloody black glove and his lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, admonishing the jury: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
The case so captivated America that on the day of the verdict, even then-President Bill Clinton watched it on TV.
Simpson walked out a free man. But he would be a pariah forever after.
As shocking as Simpson's fall from grace is his involvement in the hotel room heist that landed him in prison.