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O.J. Simpson Granted Parole after Nine Years in Prison

O.J. Simpson Granted Parole after Nine Years in Prison

LOVELOCK, Nev. -- O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel-room heist, successfully making his case for freedom in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.

Simpson, 70, could be released as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him.

All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after about a half-hour of deliberations. They cited, among other things, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply.

Then, as he was led down a hall, the Hall of Fame athlete and one-time murder defendant in the 1995 "Trial of the Century" raised his hands over his head in a victory gesture and said: "Oh, God, oh!"

Simpson's sister, Shirley Baker, wept and hugged Simpson's 48-year-old daughter Arnelle, who held a hand over her mouth.

During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted -- as he has all along -- that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers.

"I'm sorry it happened, I'm sorry, Nevada," he told the board. "I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it, and I'm sorry."

Inmate No. 1027820 made his plea for freedom in a stark hearing room at the Lovelock Correctional Center in rural Nevada as the parole commissioners questioned him via video from Carson City, a two-hour drive away.

Gray-haired but looking trimmer than he has in recent years, Simpson walked briskly into the hearing room in jeans, a light-blue prison-issue shirt and sneakers. He chuckled at one point as the parole board chairwoman mistakenly gave his age as 90.

Simpson was widely expected to win parole, given similar cases and his good behavior behind bars. His defenders have argued, too, that his sentence was out of proportion to the crime and that he was being punished for the two murders he was acquitted of in Los Angeles in 1995, the stabbings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Before the hearing concluded, one of the dealers Simpson robbed, Bruce Fromong, said the former football great never pointed a gun at him during the confrontation, adding that it was one of Simpson's accomplices. Fromong said Simpson deserved to be released so he can be with his children.

"He is a good man. He made a mistake," Fromong said, adding the two remain friends.

Arnelle Simpson, the eldest of Simpson's four children, also testified on his behalf, saying, "We recognize that he is not the perfect man." But she said he has been "a perfect inmate, following all the rules and making the best of the situation."

"We just want him to come home, we really do," she said.

Simpson said that he has spent his time in prison mentoring fellow inmates, often keeping them out of trouble, and believes he has become a better person during those years.

"I've done my time. I've done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can," he told the board.

Asked if he was confident he could stay out of trouble if released, Simpson replied that he learned a lot from an alternative-to-violence course he took in prison and that in any case he has always gotten along well with people.

"I've basically spent a conflict-free life, you know," he said -- a remark that lit up social media with sarcastic comments about the murder case and a raft of allegations he abused his wife.

Several major TV networks and cable channels -- including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC and ESPN -- carried the proceedings live, just as some of them did two decades ago during the Ford Bronco chase that ended in Simpson's arrest, and again when the jury in the murder case came back with its verdict.

Simpson said if released he plans to return to Florida, where he was living before his incarceration.

"I could easily stay in Nevada, but I don't think you guys want me here," he joked at one point.

"No comment, sir," one of the parole board members said.

Authorities must still work out the details of Simpson's release, including where he will live and what rules he must follow.

An electrifying running back dubbed "The Juice," Simpson won the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best college football player in 1968 and went on to become one of the NFL's all-time greats.

The handsome and charismatic athlete was also a "Monday Night Football" commentator, sprinted through airports in Hertz rental-car commercials and built a Hollywood career with roles in the "Naked Gun" comedies and other movies.

All of that came crashing down with his arrest in the 1994 slayings and his trial, a gavel-to-gavel live-TV sensation that transfixed viewers with its testimony about the bloody glove that didn't fit and stirred furious debate over racist police, celebrity justice and cameras in the courtroom.

Last year, the case proved to be compelling TV all over again with the ESPN documentary "O.J.: Made in America" and the award-winning FX miniseries "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."

In 1997, Simpson was found liable in civil court for the two killings and ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors, including his children and the Goldman family.

Then a decade later, he and five accomplices -- two with guns -- stormed a hotel room and seized photos, plaques and signed balls, some of which never belonged to Simpson.

Simpson was convicted in 2008, and the long prison sentence brought a measure of satisfaction to some of those who thought he got away with murder.

U.S. men's hockey pulls out win after entering 3rd period tied

U.S. men's hockey pulls out win after entering 3rd period tied

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Ryan Donato scored two power-play goals and Troy Terry dominated with his speed as college players led the United States to an important 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Friday at the Olympics.

Donato, who plays for his father Ted at Harvard, delivered the kind of offense USA Hockey wanted when it picked four NCAA players for its no-NHL Olympic roster. Donato, Terry and American Hockey League scoring star Chris Bourque were all additions to the U.S. after the pre-Olympic Deutschland Cup in November, during which the U.S. struggled to score, particularly against Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco.

Laco was on top of his game, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Only this time, the Americans' young skill that coach Tony Granato hoped would bring energy and spark the team came through.

Goalie Ryan Zapolski made 21 saves for his first Olympic victory, which is crucial considering only the top four of 12 teams avoid the qualification round Monday. With the regulation win, the U.S. vaults to the top of Group B with four points. Slovakia was second with three, followed by Slovenia and Russia.

The U.S. faces Russia in each team's final preliminary-round game Saturday night.

The Americans didn't have a shot on net until six-plus minutes into the game when defenseman Noah Welch finally got the puck to Laco.

All it took to get the U.S. offense going was a Slovakia penalty that gave Terry and Donato some room to operate. Terry sped through the offensive zone and took two Slovakia defenders with him, dropping the puck to a wide-open Donato for his first power-play goal of the game to put the U.S. up 1-0 at 7:10.

Just 25 seconds later, Andrej Kudrna scored on a tip of a Tomas Surovy shot that slipped under Zapolski's right arm for a tying goal the 31-year-old goalie probably wants back.

Bobby Butler had a semi-breakaway late in the first and Laco got his blocker on it. A couple of second-period power plays yielded offensive-zone time but not a goal, and a borderline goalie interference penalty on Boston University's Jordan Greenway made penalty killers work hard to keep it tied.

After a too many men on the ice call on Slovakia, Bourque, another son of a former NHL player, fed Donato, who spun around in front and went five-hole on Laco to score the game-winning goal with 17:09 left.

Team USA Women outshoot but can't outscore Team Canada in first meeting at 2018 Olympics

USA Today

Team USA Women outshoot but can't outscore Team Canada in first meeting at 2018 Olympics

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- Meghan Agosta and Sara Nurse each scored in the second period and defending Olympic champion Canada clinched the top spot in pool play by edging the United States 2-1 on Thursday in an early showdown between the dominant powers in women's hockey.

Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves, including stopping Hilary Knight at the post inside the final 90 seconds. Brianne Decker hit two posts, the second time coming in the final seconds, before the two rivals ended up in a scrum. Officials reviewed the final play and ruled no goal. The Canadians also had two goals disallowed.

Kendall Coyne scored the lone goal for the Americans.

Canada and the United States are the only countries to ever win gold at the Olympics. The Americans won gold in 1998 when women's hockey joined the Olympics, while Canada is here looking for a fifth straight gold medal for the country that created the sport.

They played eight times last fall through a pre-Olympic exhibition tour and the Four Nations Cup. The United States won two of the first three, but Canada now has won five straight against their biggest -- and only -- rival in the sport.

The United States certainly had plenty of chances, including Knight being stopped on a breakaway.

After missing on a penalty shot and hitting a post late in the second, the Americans got on the board when Coyne raced through four Canadians and scored 23 seconds into the third period.

Canada thought briefly it had the first goal of the game with 3:15 left in the first period, but Melodie Daoust and captain Marie-Philip Poulin were in the crease with the play blown dead. The official immediately signaled no goal.

Agosta put Canada up 1-0 at 7:18 of the second on the power play. With Megan Keller in the box for interfering with Poulin, Natalie Spooner in her 100th international game spun and hit Agosta in the slot with a backhanded pass. Agosta's shot went off Rooney's glove and in for the goal.

Nurse scored at 14:56 with a shot from the left circle that went off Rooney's elbow. Laura Stacey appeared to be offside as Canada brought the puck into the zone, but the United States did not challenge.

Officials awarded Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson a penalty shot at 16:08 of the second after Canadian forward Haley Irwin placed a glove on top of the puck in the crease amid a pile of bodies in the crease. Lamoureux-Davidson, who scored the fastest back-to-back goals in Olympic history in the U.S. win over Russia, went too slow and got the puck caught near her right foot before a backhand Lacasse easily deflected.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber started Maddie Rooney, his youngest goalie with all three of the U.S. wins against Canada.