If the baseball glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit, or at least cancel your ill-conceived O.J. Simpson promotion.
The Charleston RiverDogs, the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League, quickly pulled a promotion dubbed “O.J. Trial Night” that was scheduled for May 26.
“After taking a step back and having further reflection on the overall message that was being conveyed, it was the responsible thing to do,” team president Dave Echols said, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
The minor-league team announced its promotional calendar for the 2020 season on Monday and received heavy backlash over the promotion it claimed would present “a juicy spin” on the murder trial that captivated the world 25 years ago.
Simpson, the Hall of Fame running back, was acquitted in October 1995 of multiple murder charges for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. The families of the victims later filed a civil suit against him and were awarded a $33.5 million wrongful-death judgment in 1997.
“The trial of the century gets a juicy new spin. We will finally receive the verdict that everyone has been waiting for … pulp or no pulp?” the RiverDogs’ original promotional release stated. “Fans will act as our jury, voting with custom paddles to reach verdicts on various topics throughout the night. The eyes of the nation will be upon us. Fans will receive an ‘OJ Trial’ shirt upon entering the stadium. If the shirt don’t fit, you must … see if we have a different size.”
In 2008, the USC Heisman Trophy winner was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping felonies in Las Vegas, serving nearly 10 years of a 33-year sentence before being paroled in July 2017.
Sara Barber, executive director of the SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, told the newspaper she was relieved the team decided to cancel the promotion.
“I’m glad that the RiverDogs have reconsidered and recognized that this promotion crossed the line from humor into insensitivity and disregard for both the victims in this case and the thousands of South Carolinians who are victims of violence every year,” Barber said.