Simpson's on-field honors to remain despite robbery conviction

NEW YORK -- O.J. Simpson's portrait hangs in the Heisman Trophy exhibit at the new Sports Museum of America.

He's a member of the college and professional football halls of fame, his jersey number has been retired by the University of Southern California and he is featured on the Buffalo Bills' Wall of Fame.

Many of the honors bestowed Simpson for being one of the greatest running backs in history are likely to remain in place, even as he serves a prison sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Simpson was convicted earlier this month in Las Vegas. That came 13 years after he was acquitted in the slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Simpson was later found liable for their deaths in a civil trial.

Simpson's status as a Hall of Famer was unaffected by those legal issues.

Now that he is a convicted felon, the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame plans to review his status and determine what to do with the Simpson memorabilia displayed at the museum in South Bend, Ind., NFF president Steve Hatchell recently said.

"We will review it, but there are no plans to take him out of the hall," Hatchell said. "It's a big wrestling match because he was put in for what he did as a football player at Southern Cal."

The College Football Hall of Fame has no written morality or ethics clause, but Hatchell said character is factored in when players are considered for induction.

"It's sort of an unwritten rule that if there's issues, steer away from them," he said.

The NFF recently inducted LSU Heisman winner Billy Cannon. He had originally been voted into the college hall of fame in the early 1980s, but it was rescinded soon after when he pleaded guilty to federal counterfeiting charges.

John Urban, president and general manager of the Sports Museum of America, now the home of the first Heisman Trophy, said Saturday night that any decision to remove Simpson's portrait would have to be made by members of the Heisman Trust.

Heisman spokesman Tim Henning said there is no plan to have Simpson's portrait taken down.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame only considers a player's on-field accomplishments, so Simpson is in no danger of being removed from there. The Bills have said they will follow the Hall of Fame's lead and have no plans remove Simpson from its Wall of Fame.

Some of Simpson's awards and memorabilia are still on display at USC's Heritage Hall, and his No. 32 is commemorated in the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 for the Trojans. He played in the NFL with Buffalo and San Francisco from 1969-79. When he retired he was the second-leading career rusher in NFL history behind Jim Brown.