“If the water’s over your head, get out,” one of the female jurors commented saying she had no sympathy for women that stay in abusive relationships. I’ve always been very conflicted about this, because I sometimes feel the same. Just leave. But I’ve never feared for my life at the hands of someone I loved like Nicole Brown Simpson did. In the fourth episode of ESPN’s OJ: Made in America, the grizzly murder scene photos are revealed. As someone that winces at the sight of a fight on daytime television, it was extremely difficult to view the gaping slash across Nicole’s neck, but it’s this image that makes me understand the fear she lived in every day.
The level of anger and lack of self-control, reason, or logic to do that to the mother of your child is unimaginable. And as I mentioned, gruesome barely describes that image of Nicole Brown Simpson’s throat, cut all the way to her vertebrae. It’s truly chilling, but I cannot say that I didn’t fully expect it to be. In a world where fifty LGBQT partygoers are murdered in Orlando, following a guilty rapist getting off with a light sentence so jail time won’t severely affect him, days after a New York rapper walks into a New York rap show spraying bullets, it’s apparent that a level of violence, a selfish lack of value for human life, is so present and unchanged even 22 years after that crime scene photo was taken. Call me jaded. Call it daddy issues. Call me misandrist. The images were surreal but, surprising they were not. The reality is, 22 years after Nicole’s murder, one third of all female homicide victims are killed by a male partner.
I have a problem with the way powerful men abuse their status. O.J. Simpson is the embodiment of that. Unlike admirers or fans of men with power—athletes, hugely famous artists and actors, politicians—I don’t base my opinions of their guilt or innocence on what they’ve accomplished, their charisma, or what they want you to see, but rather what they are capable of hiding with all the money, power, and support that they have.
In this episode, we see the moment Nicole lost the fight for her life with an abusive man, and we watch O.J. Simpson refuse to lose (a loss being prison) the fight for his in a disgustingly strategic, cold-blooded manner. His agent recommended against taking his daily arthritis medicine during the trial, to which O.J. complained he would be in so much pain—until a light bulb went off, and he realized what his agent was getting at. The gloves could never fit his severely swollen hands. So, he didn’t, and they didn’t. Simple as that. Further, the way O.J. profited from football merch and memorabilia after being charged, signing autographs for money to ensure being able to afford his nearly $50,000 a day defense is not something he could accomplish alone, and that is the extremely scary reality of dealing with a hugely successful, driven man with power, a damaged ego, and a clouded sense of reality. This is what will keep me up at night, not the image. Why Nicole ended up like that and how a man with so much to lose risked everything to murder the mother of his child in cold blood is what I can’t let go.
In the episode, Nicole’s best friend, Faye Resnick, is shown saying, “Nicole couldn’t talk to the gas station attendant without O.J. treating her like she was having an affair.” Imagine every opportunity this level of jealousy would afford O.J. the opportunity to slap around Nicole.
O.J. Simpson murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and tarnished his golden boy, "race-transcending" image because of his own demons. It’s so much bigger than horrifying crime scene images. The emotion leading to the rage that resulted in that moment we see in these images is absolutely terrifying. A very attractive, wealthy, NFL Hall of Famer turned actor, Beverly Hills resident who seemingly had it all let his jealousy and rage from his own insecurities take so much from so many people, while he walked away completely remorseless. Something as minor as insecurity and a man’s broken ego drove him to murder his child’s mother. That’s what really fucks me up.