The Ken Griffey Jr. and O.J. Simpson Connection

And no, it has nothing to do with ill-fitting gloves

June 17, 2009

The New York Times reported yesterday that Sammy Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003, which shocked approximately nobody. But it was yet another excuse for bloggers to cling to the purported purity of Ken Griffey Jr. and pray to the ghost of Kennesaw Mountain Landis that no one will ever be able dig up any dirt that proves Junior was a PED popper in the ‘90s. ("Help us, Ken Griffey Jr. You’re our only hope!")

Slightly interesting timing, because if you were watching ESPN this morning (and I’m just going to go ahead and assume you weren’t), you might have seen Josh Elliott introduce a segment that directly linked the Kid to … O.J. Simpson. Duh-duh-duh!

Alright, the truth isn’t nearly that salacious, but it’s a slow news day and I had to ratchet up the drama: 15 years ago today, the Juice made the Ford Bronco the official motor vehicle of fleeing former athletes accused of murder. But a lot of other noteworthy sports evens went down that day, too: the World Cup kicked off in Chicago, Arnold Palmer retired, the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets faced off in Game Five of the NBA Finals, and our very own Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 30th home run of the season to become only the second player (after Babe Ruth) to reach that mark before June 30. Somehow, director Brett Morgen (who was nominated for an Oscar for 2002’s The Kid Stays in the Picture) manages to wedge all of that into an hour-long documentary called, creatively, June 17, 1994, which will air this fall on the World Wide Leader. (Strange that ESPN didn’t give Morgen an earlier deadline so they could actually air the doc today, but that’s probably because it’s one of 30 documentaries that the network commissioned for it’s 30th anniversary, which isn’t until September.) Set your DVRs accordingly.

Oh, and back to O.J. for one sec: Is it just a coincidence that Washington’s very own disgraced-former-athlete-on-the-lam drama ended today?

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