June 17, 1994: We All Had Some O.J. [Video]
I remember June 17, 1994, like it was yesterday.
I lived in Gaylord, and it was 97 degrees that Friday. I stayed the night in an air conditioned hotel room and watched the whole thing on TV like everyone else did. I still can hear the police officer on TV say: “The Los Angeles Police Department, right now, is actively searching for Mr. (O.J.) Simpson” and could hear the audible gasps and whistles from the media. It was a bombshell no one had anticipated.
Ninety-five million people watched the low speed chase of the infamous white Ford Bronco through southern California with O.J. Simpson, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, sports television personality and actor, inside it.
Simpson had not yet turned himself into the Los Angeles Police Department on alleged criminal charges of double homicide involving the June 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a waiter, Ronald Goldman; a jury trial later cleared him of the counts.
The chase was the beginning of the modern TV reality genre happened right before our eyes. Plus, figuring in the day in sports this was. The New York Rangers had won the Stanley Cup, the World Cup in the U.S. had just started, the U.S. Open golf tournament with Arnold Palmer had begun and NBA Finals Game 5 was on.
If the Internet would have been as prevalent then, it would have crashed — possibly forever.
This whole day was the inspiration for an ESPN 30 for 30 film series episode titled smartly “June 17, 1994″ by Brett Morgen.
Here is the film in its entirety. Watch and remember the day, 20 years ago. It gives me the chills watching the chase.