After a turbulent football career and a more turbulent post-NFL life, O.J. Simpson made it out of prison in 2017. He didn’t serve time for the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. But Simpson did go to prison after a 2007 robbery of his own memorabilia. The 73-year-old still owes money in a civil case, and selling his autograph may help.
Why O.J. Simpson still owes so much money
Since 1997, Simpson has been ordered to pay $33.5 million in restitution to the Goldman family. Auctioning his Heisman Trophy barely made a dent in the amount owed. Since then, Simpson has been in and out of court as his possessions and income streams were awarded to the Goldman family.
Via Yahoo Finance, memorabilia expert Steve Grad reported that demand has been low for Simpson memorabilia for a while. The former NFL player’s release from prison didn’t seem to improve prices. He can now sign more autographs and football cards. But every cent he earns (and doesn’t manage to successfully hide) goes toward the $33.5 million judgment.
‘If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer’
Football fans (and anyone who spent time in a Borders in the late 2000s) will inevitably remember the cringe-inducing If I Did It, a book that Simpson allegedly wrote discussing a “theoretical” version of the murders.
It made headlines for obvious reasons, but many publishers avoided it. It was fairly obvious that it was the work of a ghostwriter. A court even awarded the book rights to the Goldman family, as Simpson had done little to make a dent in what he owes.
Why O.J. Simpson focuses on memorabilia like his autograph
Despite the controversy, Simpson is still a household name. Theoretically, there should be endorsement or broadcast work out there for him. Even if major networks wouldn’t want the association, surely some edgy cable channel would take a chance. However, being publicly paid would result in the courts claiming his money.
Simpson has gone on record concerning current NFL issues, including Colin Kaepernick‘s famous national anthem protest. However, selling autographs, cards, and other memorabilia for cash allows Simpson to potentially hide the money from collectors. At this point, it seems he’s accepted that he’ll be in debt for the rest of his life.
Via Yahoo Finance, Grad explains that a selfie with Simpson could still go for between $100 and $150. This should be enough for Simpson to stay above water. But there’s honestly not a large portion of the population willing to pay that much for an O.J. Simpson selfie, especially in 2020. Once he’s made as much money as he can, it’s unclear what he’ll attempt next.
What the NFL still does for Simpson
Simpson still has some income streams that keep him fed and clothed. His NFL pension paid him over $600,000 in the nine years he was behind bars. However, he’s pretty clearly never going to be rich again. Simpson’s life is a study in having it all and throwing it away — more than once.
Even after the civil case and the judgment against him, he could’ve still turned things around. But spending nearly a decade in jail as Simpson approached his seventies seems to have closed the book on his career options.