'We had to put it all aside': O.J. Simpson reflects on the race divide during his NFL career
O.J. Simpson’s foray into social media has seen him sharing his take on various issues around sport, and his latest Twitter video is no different, as he spoke about the issue of race in the NFL during his playing days.
Former NFL star Simpson, a keen fantasy football player, shared his drafting tips ahead of the new NFL season before telling a short story that lifted the lid on the challenges facing both black and white players coming out of college during his playing days.
“When I came into the league I went into a little bit of culture shock,” he revealed.
“It was because of the locker room. The locker room is different. I wasn’t prepared for it.
“We had black guys in the locker room who had never played football with white guys before. And we had white guys from big colleges who had never played with black guys before.
“They came with all kinds of attitudes and opinions and thoughts on things, but we had to put it all aside.”
These days the NFL, and its feeder system, the NCAA collegiate program, is much more diverse, with players arriving in the professional league much better prepared for life in the NFL.
And Simpson, whose reappearance in public life via social media appears to be a genuine bid to reconnect with sports fans, said differences in culture and race have to be put to one side in order for teams to achieve success, especially in the NFL.
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“You have to put it aside if you’re gonna be a team and have any chance of winning,” he said.
“And I’m pretty sure that was the case everywhere in all over sports back then. I’m just saying.”
As for his fantasy advice, he said if you can’t draft Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, turn your attention to a top-level running back.
“The top four guys were within 30 points of one another (last year),” he explained.
“And you’ve got all these great young guys coming: (Cleveland’s Nick) Chubb and (Green Bay’s Aaron) Jones and (Indianapolis’ Marlon) Mack, some great young guys who can be ‘bell-cow’ backs.
“And don’t forget (Mark) Ingram, who’s going to be a feature back in Baltimore, which helps (New Orleans’ Alvin) Kamara… he’ll get the ball more.
“And (New York Jets’) LeVeon Bell is coming, so you can get a top running back in the second round.”