Decision Made On Whether O.J. Simpson's Brain Will Be Used For CTE Research

By Jason Hall

April 15, 2024

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Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson's brain won't be donated for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) research as he's expected to, instead, be cremated Tuesday (April 16) in Las Vegas, a representative for his estate confirmed to the New York Post.

Simpson's longtime attorney and executor, Malcolm LaVergne, confirmed that he signed off on paperwork for Simpson, who was accused of double murder in 1994 and convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008, to be cremated, acknowledging that the Simpson family gave a "hard no" to scientists seeking his brain for study. Violent behavior is among the common symptoms of CTE, a degenerative brain disease that has afflicted many retired football players who suffered multiple concussions during their playing careers.

“With OJ everything’s wild, but I’ve been getting calls from medical centers that are doing CTE testing asking me for OJ’s brain . . . that is not happening,” LaVergne told the Post. “I may consult with the children on it, but I haven’t heard anything about it, so it’s just not going to happen. OJ wants all of his body cremated for his children to do what they see fit.”

Simpson died at the age of 76 last Wednesday (April 10), his his family announced in a statement shared on his X account last Thursday (April 11).

"On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace. -The Simpson Family," the post states.

Simpson's cancer diagnosis was initially reported by Local 10 News in February. The news outlet reported that he was undergoing chemotherapy in Las Vegas and that he told friends and family he was in hospice care, which he denied publicly in a video shared on his X account, instead claiming he was "hosting a ton of friends for the Super Bowl here in Las Vegas" at the time. The Hall of Famer was sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of (granted) parole after nine years on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery for a separate incident in 2008, years after being "not guilty" in relation to Goldman and Brown's deaths.

Simpson's 1995 murder trial for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, as well as his 2008 prison sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping, have overshadowed a Hall of Fame football and acting post-retirement acting careers, which he unsuccessfully attempted to restore though his social media presence, launching his X account just over a year after being released from jail on parole.

Simpson recorded 11,236 yards, placing him second all-time when he retired (now 21st) and was the 1973 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to record 2,000 rushing yards in a single season, while also recording an NFL-best 12 rushing touchdowns. The California native led the NFL in rushing yards during three other seasons and was a five-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, as well as a member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and 100th Anniversary All-Time team.

Simpson also had a successful acting career, which included roles in 'The Naked Gun' film series, as well as serving as an analyst for NBC Sports prior to his murder trial. The former Heisman Trophy winner recently appeared a regular guest on the 'It Is What It Is' podcast hosted by rappers Cam'ron and Mase and co-host Treasure Wilson, which included comparing New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers' season-ending injury to the 9/11 attacks, which was met with criticism.

Simpson also shared a video in which he implied his prison sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery was harsher than the one given to former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in August.

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