Scott Olin Schmidt who writes the USC/Political Blog Boi from Troy, wrote an interesting Op Ed piece in Wednesdays LA Times in regards to the Legacy of O.J. Simpson.
USC has been put in a difficult position with the mess that O.J. has made of his life. What Simpson did at USC 40 years ago should be rightly recognized by the school because it has to do with what he did on the field while he was at USC. As Schmidt points out USC has also done the right thing in distancing themselves from O.J. the person because of his off the field issues. I will not bother to list them all here, as we all know what he has done. The only time USC crossed paths with Simpson was at the 2003 Orange Bowl where he made an appearance and spoke with some members of the team.
There is a picture of Simpson talking with Carson Palmer that has since been made the poster child of those who want to continue to link O.J. the Player at USC to O.J. the person. Not surprising but we all know why. Palmer handled the situation correctly in recognizing the Football legacy of O.J. while not making issue of the other legacy that is O.J.
This has been discussed ad nauseum but in the end SC has handled it well.
Where I take issue with Schmidt is how he attempts to link O.J.'s issues with some of the alleged transgressions that have come up during Pete Carroll's tenure, more on that later. Schmidt then attempts to "slingshot around the moon" by then tying to connect those off the field issues with the lack of discipline that we have seen on the field with dumb penalties or dropped passes or bad turnovers. I'm sorry but I am not buying it.
As I have noted in the past I am not a USC alum so I could not possibly understand the pomp and circumstance of having gone to SC but in talking to my dad who was at SC when Simpson was there- his view is simple and to the point...there is no debate the legacies are separate so O.J.'s off the field issues have nothing to do with his time at USC.
The current issues on the field have to do with a lack of player development. I am a big Pete Carroll honk but his inability or lack of interest in hiring suitable replacements for Chow/Davis/Oregeron to develop that talent is why there have been bonehead plays on the field. I can see where you can make distinction about discipline and I have agreed with that in the past but tell me again how that relates to the off the field issues? I simply can't see how you can connect the two. Stanley Havili has not been in any trouble off the field but he has either dropped critical passes of turned the ball over a critical times. I would agree that there is a discipline factor there but not one of a negative nature.
If Schmidt had simply stopped at O.J., I would have applauded his piece. But to bring in some of the alleged current issues and then try to connect those to the problems occurring on the field of play is way of base and to me hurts the point of his piece.