The Bills have no obligation to honor O.J. Simpson

Bills running back Senorise Perry will be the first to wear the No. 32 in 43 years

Joe DiBiase
May 21, 2019 - 6:59 pm

With Tuesday being the first chance for the media to watch the Buffalo Bills work out during their OTAs, it was discovered that running back Senorise Perry was wearing the No. 32. He became the first Bills player to wear the number since October 10, 1977 when O.J. Simpson took his final snaps with the team in Seattle.

It's something that really could have, and maybe should have happened a long time ago. The Bills have no duty to honor Simpson in any way, shape, or form. If Perry, a running back with eight career carries trying to make the 53-man roster as a special teamer, wants to wear the No. 32, he has that right.

The decision is representative of the times and who made the decision. Ralph Wilson would not allow 32 to be used. He watched O.J. He loved O.J. He wanted to honor memories. Honor O.J. the football player. Head coach Sean McDermott, who said that there was a discussion about the decision, didn't watch Simpson. McDermott likely isn't conflicted or doesn't see it as a big deal.

The more time passes, the more the memories of Bills running back O.J. Simpson disintegrate. All we're left with is a shell of a once great football player that shamefully waddles about as a free man. Who needs to honor that?

Increasingly in pop culture and politics, the sins of the artist make it impossible to enjoy the art. Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby are recent examples of this.

It's not the same, but my favorite football player growing up was Michael Vick. He was fast, fun, exciting, and unique. As anyone that's played a lot of Madden will know, Michael Vick in Madden 04 was the most unstoppable video game player ever, save for maybe Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. The day it came out what he had done to hundreds of dogs, me and my dad couldn't stuff my Vick jersey in the trash fast enough.

I've always loved 80s music, especially Michael Jackson. I can't listen to him now without thinking of the documentary "Leaving Neverland" that was released in January.

We cannot separate O.J. the player from O.J. the man, because we're human beings. That's harder to do for some than others. It's easy for me. I never saw Simpson play. As a 23-year-old, I'm so far removed from his time being revered as a superstar Bills running back. I don't even think of him as a Buffalo Bill when his name comes up.

Fans of my generation either weren't alive for, or don't remember the O.J. murder trial. We certainly weren't alive to watch him play. In a way, I'm glad for that. I don't want to feel conflicted on Simpson. I want a clear head to think of him simply for what he is.

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