Here we are, a dozen years later, and some people still want their chance to convict O.J. Simpson of murder.
I'm referring to a story from this past weekend when a Louisville, Ky. restaurateur refused to serve O.J. at his steakhouse because he is convinced the NFL Hall-of-Famer killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994.
"I didn't want to serve him because of my convictions of what he's done to those families," Jeff Ruby told reporters. "The way he continues to torture the lives of those families ... with his behavior, attitude and conduct."
Simpson, who was in town for the Kentucky Derby and at the restaurant with a group of about 12, told Ruby he understood and gathered up his party to leave. Admittedly, it was a rare moment of sound judgment for O.J. Ruby said diners clapped after Simpson and his party left.
But, apparently, Ruby and those diners didn't get word that Simpson was found innocent of those slayings in 1995. All anyone seems to remember is he was found liable in the civil trial that followed - which is something totally different from being found guilty. A good lawyer could explain that to anyone. Or a bad one.
Now, Ruby does have the right to refuse anyone service at his restaurant. I'm not arguing that - at all. But I'm wondering what his reaction might have been had, say, Robert Blake stopped by for a porterhouse?
Don't get me wrong: Simpson is no martyr. I've got my own doubts about his innocence. I didn't think he was some sort of hero even before he was accused of those double murders. As a child, O.J. was some retired NFL player who did Hertz commercials and was in a few of those "Naked Gun" movies.
But I do know that a person's guilt must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" to be convicted of a crime so serious. Anything less, and a verdict of "not guilty" is the only fair and responsible way to run our American judicial system. Only the people in the courtroom heard all the evidence in O.J.'s murder trial. What information does Ruby have about the case that leaves him so convinced of O.J.'s guilt, yet managed to escape the members of the jury?
I've got my theories about why people like Ruby get so worked up about Simpson and the criminal court verdict that allows him to torment others with his mere presence. So does Simpson's new lawyer, who said the incident in Louisville was an example of racism and he might sue Ruby.
I'm not sure a lawsuit will cure the, um, ailing Ruby, who also said seeing Simpson get so much attention "makes me sick to my stomach."
Well, it would help if people would let their anger go. The criminal justice system has already freed O.J. Now it's time for others like Ruby to do the same.