Goldman family, Caitlyn Jenner, more react to O.J. Simpson’s death

Lovable football star, occasional actor, father of five, unsettling murder suspect — reflecting on the public and private-turned-public life of O.J. Simpson paints a complicated picture.

Simpson succumbed to prostate cancer at the age of 76 on Thursday, a post on his X account said. And while typically a celebrity death draws heartfelt tributes in droves — which in this case would focus on the first three attributes listed above — many for Simpson chose to focus on the last. 

While the football community and others in the entertainment space remained largely quiet, the overshadowing headlines and social media reactions to Simpson’s death were filled with callbacks to what’s now called the “trial of the century,” in which Simpson was ultimately acquitted of fatally stabbing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. 

The jury’s 1995 decision after the lengthy publicized trial was and still is considered controversial, particularly after Simpson was found liable for the deaths three years later in a civil suit from the victims’ families, after which Simpson paid little of the $33.5 million judgment.

The Goldman family’s attorney, who has been pursuing the judgment for more than a decade, said in a statement to The Associated Press, “He died without penance. We don’t know what he has, where it is or who is in control. We will pick up where we are and keep going with it.”

But Goldman’s father, Fred, told NBC News that Simpson’s death is “just further reminder of Ron being gone all these years. It’s no great loss to the world.”

In a comment to TMZ, Brown Simpson’s family attorney, Gloria Allred, appeared to call back to spousal abuse charges Simpson faced while the two were married, to which he pleaded no contest in 1989.

“Simpson’s death reminds us that the legal system even 30 years later is still failing battered women and that the power of celebrity men to avoid true justice for the harm that they inflict on their wives or significant others is still a major obstacle to the right of women to be free of the gender violence to which they are still subjected,” the comment read. 

Allred added that she sends her condolences to Simpson’s children and “the very brave family of Nicole Brown Simpson. The truth about OJ Simpson can never be erased and should never be forgotten. OJ Simpson is dead. May his victims finally rest in peace.”

In a short statement to multiple outlets, Marcia Clark, who served as the lead prosecutor during the murder trial, said “I send my condolence to Mr. Simpson’s family.”

A similar message came from Kato Kaelin, a witness who testified during the trial. He expressed his condolences to the football player’s kids and his “love and compassion” to the Goldmans, who he hoped would find closure in a post on social media. To Brown Simpson’s family, he requested “we always cherish her memories.”

“Nicole was a beacon of light that burned bright, May we never forget her.”

As for those in the sports and entertainment world who did comment on Simpson’s death, the focus appeared to continue to be on his family and his achievements — if they weren’t also commenting on the murder trial. 

Jim Porter, Pro Football Hall of Fame President, spoke of Simpson’s “on-field contributions” in a statement to AP, while The Heisman Trophy posted on X saying it “mourns the passing” of its 1968 winner.

Joe Delamielleure, Simpson’s Buffalo Bills teammate, said in a statement to AP that he’ll still remember him as “an icon in the nation.”

“He wasn’t Muhammad Ali or anything, but he was doing things for athletes and not just Black athletes, but he kicked us into a really big thing. That’s what I think of him. He was a groundbreaker,” the statement read. 

Caitlyn Jenner, who was married to Kris Jenner at the time of the trial, said “Good Riddance” to Simpson in a post on X. Kris Jenner and her late ex-husband, Robert Kardashian, were known to be good friends of Nicole and O.J. But during the trial years later, Kris Jenner defended Brown Simpson and her family, while Kardashian was famously part of the legal “Dream Team” that defended Simpson. 

Alan Dershowitz, who served as an adviser on the Dream Team, told NBC News Thursday he was upset to hear of his client’s death, though he was aware of Simpson’s illness.

“I got to know him fairly well during the trial,” Dershowitz told the outlet. “It was one of the most divisive trials in American history along racial lines. He’ll always be remembered for the Bronco chase, for the glove and for the moment of acquittal.”