The ABC 5 part documentary, “O.J.: Made in America” has been praised by critics for it’s painstaking look at O.J Simpson’s rise and fall, and for examining his life into the context of the larger societal struggles of African Americans. On today’s Speak for Yourself, Jason and Colin gave their takeaways from the doc.
Colin took issue with the social media group think that the culture of athlete enabling and covering up that led to the O.J tragedy would never happen today. The reality is, it’s happening all around.
“We have Baylor Football, two weeks ago. rapes, multiple. Sexual assaults. An hour later, my phones on my show are ‘Coach got railroaded!’ We continue to prove we care more about protecting space, and real estate, and football coaches, and celebrity status than we do about victims in domestic violence.”
Whitlock’s biggest takeaway from the series is that the media still creates falsely constructed narratives for athletes, and celebrates them as “good guys”, based solely on what they do in the public eye. The reality is, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors.
“We just don’t know. Not just the athletes we celebrate, but we just don’t know people. But we just can’t judge a book, by the public face they present.”
Both Colin and Jason felt famed sports and celebrity interviewer Roy Firestone was unfairly characterized. Firestone was skewered on social media for footage used in the film from an interview he did with Simpson two years prior to the murder. It portrayed him as an apologist for Simpson’s domestic violence history.
No one feels dirtier in the OJ interviews than me. I asked him about his DV rumor 2 years b4 the murders.He denied it. Wish I knew future.
— Roy Firestone (@RoyFirestone) May 12, 2016
Whitlock said the take down of Firestone is unfair because domestic violence wasn’t viewed under the same microscope by the media as it is now. Firestone’s interview is more an indictment of the era of less than curious media than it is of Firestone himself.
“What they were trying to convey, was a look at the environment, and the time we were in, and the mindset we had, at that time. It was not intended as a shot at Roy Firestone. It comes off that way. People certainly hopped on it. I saw people say it was embarrassing for Roy Firestone. I totally push back against that.
We were absolutely idiots about domestic violence at that time. No different than if we went back in context and saw U.S. Presidents. LBJ used the n word all the time, BACK THEN. Wouldn’t be appropriate now. We shouldn’t show that now and say, ‘Look how horrible LBJ was.’ That was the environment. We were that stupid.”
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) June 16, 2016