Todd Porter: Canton houses history, humiliation of Simpson
Curiosity seekers have paid more attention to the most notorious figure in Canton the last week. They have meandered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and read about the greatness that was O.J. Simpson on a football field.
Simpson, unless you’ve been vacationing in a cave, was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with enough felonies that could put him in prison for the rest of his life.
The Hall of Fame running back – and a pack of friends who were Keystone Cops in another life – is accused of rushing into a hotel room to take back memorabilia Simpson said belonged to him.
Wasn’t all of his memorabilia awarded to the Goldman family when a civil court found Simpson liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman?
Among the items in the hotel was Simpson’s Pro Football Hall of Fame certificate. Anyone wonder how much longer Canton will have to continue to house the history and humiliation of Simpson?
That’s because the Hall of Fame’s constitution and bylaws have no provision for removing a Hall of Famer, based on things such as felonies, murder charges and the string of embarrassing situations in which Simpson has found himself.
Those bylaws are determined by the Hall’s board of trustees and Joe Horrigan, vice president of communications/exhibits for the Hall.
Horrigan makes the point that Simpson had a great NFL career, and it’s not the Hall’s place to ignore it regardless of how dirty Simpson’s post-career life has been.
Bylaws are bylaws. So what about changing them?
“That would have to be done by the Board of Trustees,” Horrigan said.
“Honestly, I believe we’re comfortable with the way they’re written. ... The discussion has come up before among the board as it relates to O.J. Simpson.”
If Simpson were playing today and not simply embarrassing our city as his likeness sits in the Hall, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would have suspended him by now.
Pacman Jones wasn’t indicted on 11 felonies, and he was suspended before his guilt or innocence was determined.
Canton’s only hope to evict Simpson lies with Goodell. If the commissioner asked the Hall to reconsider its bylaws, I’m betting it would happen.
Hall of Famers often talk about this being the one team from which they can never be removed. Unfortunately, they’re right, even if some of them detest one of their immortal teammates. Simpson is deserving of the Hall of Fame.
But a Hall of Famer?
Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org