Most Blacks Change Their Mind About OJ

Has Simpson's public image changed that much?
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2016 6:10 PM CDT
Most Blacks: OJ Was Guilty
In this Oct. 3, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson clenches his fists in victory after the jury said he was not guilty in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in a Los Angeles courtroom as attorneys F. Lee Bailey, left, and Robert Shapiro, right, look on.   (AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, Myung Chun, Pool)

Anyone who was around during OJ Simpson's murder trial will recall how it divided blacks and whites—and may be surprised that most blacks today say OJ was probably guilty, Five Thirty-Eight reports. Some 57% of blacks say OJ likely did kill ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, up from 16% in 1995, while white support for OJ's probable guilt has spiked from 69% to 83% over the same period, according to an ABC News/Washington Post telephone poll of 1,003 randomly selected adults. Not all polls agree—a CNN poll found that only 36% of blacks say he likely committed the murders—but any sign of black support for OJ's guilt seems worth a closer look.

The ABC/Washington Post poll was taken before two recent TV series (like ESPN's) left the impression OJ was guilty—so what gives? Well, the former NFL superstar and actor has seen his public image decline amid road-rage charges and a conviction for kidnapping and armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room. Simpson was also found guilty in a civil trial for the deaths of Goldman and Brown Simpson, the Washington Post points out. But Carl Douglas, who was on OJ's murder-defense team, notes that more whites still believe Simpson is guilty of murder. "I suspect until the end of time, until there’s only one beige race, the belief of Caucasian-Americans will always be higher than African Americans in OJ Simpson’s guilt," he says. (A friend of OJ's says he's going to confess to the murders.)

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