What O.J. Simpson Revealed in His Book

And how it could’ve just as easily happened to you.

Patrick D. Lynch
8 min readMay 5, 2022


You can probably remember the O.J. Simpson murder trial from the 90s. If you’re too young or if you were living under a rock back then, you have your choice of documentaries or episodic TV shows that depict every last detail.

It was quite a thing.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

I was ten years old when the verdict was broadcast on live TV. It was such a big deal that my fifth grade teacher borrowed a television set from the AV department and wheeled it in so that a classroom full of ten-year-olds could watch. Other than 9/11, that’s the only other time in my life that a school day came to a crashing halt so that we could watch something unfold live on the news.

The Book

In 2006, O.J. Simpson wrote a book called If I Did It, which was a ghostwritten manuscript depicting his life, his marriage and his recollection of the murder and its immediate aftermath. In the years that followed its planned publication, some drama ensued around Simpson’s bankruptcy and the Goldman family were awarded the rights to the book and made changes to it . . . read about that whole mess here if you’re interested. But in the end, the book was released more or less as Simpson intended, and it contains some pretty interesting stuff.

If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer by O.J. Simpson — Get it on Amazon

The majority of the book is about how Simpson met his wife, Nicole Brown, and their tumultuous relationship. It’s long, but it’s just the right amount of detail to give every bit of context about their dysfunction, Simpson’s temperament, and how a perfect storm of events came together on June 12, 1994, leading to Nicole’s and Ron Goldman’s gruesome murder.

It’s actually a great book. I recommend the audio version, which features a narrator who does such a great O.J. voice you’d think the man himself was personally telling you his story.

So Does He Confess?

Unfortunately, no. Simpson doesn’t exactly confess to the murder in his book. There’s room for doubt, and he muddies the waters by including a (probably fictitious) friend who accompanied him to Nicole’s backyard, which would become the murder scene.

But he does describe confronting Nicole and Goldman, who was an acquaintance of hers working that night as a waiter at a nearby restaurant and there to return a lost pair of sunglasses. Simpson says he suspected that Goldman was one of Nicole’s new friends from a crowd of party animals and drug users who were a bad influence on her and their kids. This made Simpson behave aggressively, as if to scare this guy off. But Goldman held his ground, knowing he had done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. Simpson claims Goldman went into a karate stance, ready to defend himself. The two squared off and . . .

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Simpson leaves out the next part, as if he blacked out. And I believe it. I was in a motorcycle crash once and I can remember everything up to the moment where my front tire hit a big rock at the edge of a curb, then my vision narrowed to a pinhole and my senses went blank. The next memory I have was of me laying on the street, still clutching my handlebars, the bike having slid about twenty-five feet on its side until coming to a stop. Both the bike and I were fine—just scratches. But it was a traumatic incident that my brain decided it couldn’t handle, so it just switched off. I think this could’ve happened to Simpson, as well.

The Knife

The real problem, though, is that Simpson walked into this situation with a knife. Not your old IKEA kitchen knife that you’ve never sharpened, mind you—a brand new, razor sharp, expensive hunting knife that could easily tear through flesh.

Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Simpson explained in earlier chapters that his celebrity occasionally brought him very unwanted attention. In one instance, he claims that two motorists had tried to run him off the road with the intent of kidnapping him to get at his money. Because of that, Simpson bought some weapons, including a few handguns and the aforementioned hunting knife. None of this may be true, but it’s plausible enough for me. Whatever his underlying reasons might have been, the point is that he had weapons because he thought he needed them for protection. Dangerous and stupid as it may be, that for the moment is every American’s right.

If Simpson had not brought that knife, his scuffle with Goldman would’ve been just that—a scuffle. Simpson was a big, strong guy (don’t forget, he’s a retired professional athlete) where Ron Goldman was a skinny, average guy. Simpson likely would’ve just kicked his ass. Maybe even put him the hospital. And maybe Simpson would’ve gotten arrested for assault and it would’ve cost him a lot of money and he’d have to do a little time. But I highly doubt that he would’ve killed the guy. Nicole, too, probably would’ve only been injured and not killed, since the likely story is that she tried to intervene in the scuffle and Simpson turned on her (they both had a documented history of smacking each other around in arguments).

But as fate would have it, Simpson did bring that knife. And it changed three lives forever, two of which were brutally ended right then and there. What Simpson revealed in his book was more than enough for me to finally make sense of this double murder. It’s a lesson about weapons, which applies to guns, knives and anything dangerous that one might think is necessary for protection: If you buy a knife and carry it around with you, it doesn’t guarantee your safety; it just means someone’s gonna’ get stabbed.

The Aftermath

Simpson’s recollection becomes clear again after Nicole and Ron Goldman lay dead, but because he’d blacked out, he claims he doesn’t really know what happened.

Photo by Richard Bell on Unsplash

I definitely think he killed them, but I don’t think Simpson’s character is that of a murderer—and evidently neither did he. So when he emerged from a blackout and saw two dead people and blood everywhere, he was confused. He didn’t automatically assume he did it. And he was freaked out, so he went home, cleaned up and got on a plane to go about his life until the police called him back to L.A. and he had to face the music. It probably took him a while to come to terms with the truth that he must be the murderer, which is actually a hard thing to do if you are missing any memory of such a thing having taken place.

If you’ve ever blacked out from drinking, you’ll understand this. I’ve done this way more times than I wish, and it’s nothing I’m proud of—in fact, these incidents collectively make up the most shameful and embarrassing things I’ve ever done. I’m not talking about passed out, where you’re so drunk you just fall asleep. I’m talking about blacked out, where you are up and active and acting like a psychopath, but the brain isn’t recording any of it. When people told me the stupid things I did in this state, I didn’t believe them at first. Even if all evidence pointed their claims being correct, it’s extremely difficult to accept it without the memory of having done it. If it’s a particularly shameful and out-of-character thing, that makes it even worse. And if no one had the compassion to tell me what happened, I’d never even have known.

My Conclusion

So, I think Simpson did it, but the trauma of it caused him to black out, and then it took him days, maybe even weeks or months to accept that there was no other possible explanation. But by then, he had professed his innocence, hired lawyers and a trial was in the works. I can understand how he felt like maybe there was no going back; he’d just have to ride it out on his current path. I can also see how without any memory of the murder, he might be just as interested as any of us to investigate what happened in order to find out if he really was the killer.

Sure, there are some problems with all this. If he found his wife and some guy dead and he thought he didn’t do, why didn’t he call the cops and report the murders? That’s what an innocent man would’ve done, right? Yep, that’s true. But he wasn’t sure. And on the chance that he was the killer, what good would calling the cops do for him? It’s hard to put ourselves in that confusing and stressful situation and a lot easier to judge from the comfort of our normal lives, and in hindsight.

Also, why wouldn’t he just confess once he realized it must have been him later on? Well, think about it. Would you? Yeah, you fucked up and more than likely killed two people. That’s really bad. But you’ve already told the world you’re innocent and, as it happens, the cops and the prosecution are having a tough time proving it. Not to mention, you’re rich and you’ve hired the best lawyer money can buy. What’s done is done. But if there’s a way out of this, wouldn’t you take it? You’ll never be allowed to think of yourself as a good person again, and you know the devil himself is keeping a seat warm for you in hell. But if you could avoid going to prison, would’t you try?

Sorry, but I would.

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Patrick D. Lynch

Writing on history, science, politics, war, technology, the future and more. Check out my science fiction books on Amazon: http://tiny.cc/28mpuz