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Heisman 1968 O.J. Simpson
Photo by University of Southern California/WireImage

Bought By An Anonymous Bidder

1968 Heisman winner O.J. Simpson

This is the story of three Heismans. It is not a remembrance from O.J. Simpson about winning the 1968 Heisman Trophy. Simpson is serving a 33-year sentence in a Nevada state prison for felonies committed in an armed robbery in Las Vegas in 2007. Simpson hasn't owned that trophy in more than a decade. An anonymous bidder bought it at auction for $230,000 in 1999. Simpson sold it to raise funds to pay the $33.5 million judgment against him in the civil suit brought by the parents of Ron Goldman, murdered with Simpson's wife in 1994. The buyer has remained behind his cloak of anonymity. This is, in part, a remembrance of the 1968 Heisman Trophy given to USC. It lived a quiet existence in the lobby of Heritage Hall, the campus home of the Trojans athletic department, until 1994. In the days after Los Angeles police arrested Simpson and charged him with the murder of his wife and her friend, that trophy and Simpson's No. 32 USC jersey were stolen out of their display cases. On the night that Los Angeles police arrested Simpson -- the night of the famed Bronco chase -- USC security removed the trophy for safekeeping. That weekend, The Associated Press photographed the empty trophy case and a story went out that the university had begun to distance itself from Simpson. The university replaced the trophy after the weekend and explained what had happened. "Two weeks later, it was gone," USC sports information director Tim Tessalone said. "We waited for a while, hoping it might turn up. It never did. It's probably in the bottom of Santa Monica Bay. You can't fence a Heisman." And this is a remembrance of the duplicate Heisman that USC ordered to replace the stolen one. The Heisman honoring Simpson stands in the lobby of Heritage Hall with the other six won by Trojans players from Mike Garrett in 1965 to Reggie Bush in 2005. If any protest over Simpson's being glorified by his alma mater ever took place, it has quieted. The only noise would come if someone tried to steal the trophy. All seven Heisman cases have alarms.
-- Ivan Maisel


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