|Photo credit: FX network|
I’ve been eager to see three scenes in this miniseries: the portrayal of my uncle who was living with AIDS and drug addiction, my dad breaking down at the end of the trial during a press conference and the glove scene.
I didn't know what to expect on Tuesday night. I watched TV dad Sterling K. Brown in the glove scene like:
The glove not fitting on O.J. was huge. The media and legal analysts ripped my father up. I felt so bad for him. I know he was trying to do the right thing and it backfired. It was hard to watch the news for days. The criticism of my father got to me. In my 15-year-old mind I didn’t like people on TV saying mean things about my Daddy. X-Men cartoons, Batman the Animated Series and books kept me sane. In the miniseries, Shapiro tries on the gloves in the courtroom during a break and notices they were too small for him. He goes back to the Dream Team and they think of a strategy, to lure my dad and Marcia into having O.J. try on the glove.
My dad’s memoir In Contempt, tells a different story. He wrote that Shapiro asked to see the gloves and take them to lock up. Judge Ito said no. The prosecution was concerned that the defense would use the gloves so O.J. could practice struggling to put them on.
There was definitely some truth to the Jedi mind tricks the defense played with the prosecution. The scene where F. Lee Bailey, played by Nathan Lane, whispers in TV dad’s ear. It was like the devil trying to make you sin. I really love Nathan Lane in this series. Still, I read no mention of Bailey actually doing that in my father's book. Also in the miniseries, TV dad decides to try on the gloves despite Marcia’s objection. In my real dad’s memoir, he said he got Marcia’s approval. He wrote:
“She looked grim. ‘I don’t need this shit right now, Chris.’
We talked some more and she said she would only consider it if someone with hands as big as Simpson’s—someone like [LAPD Det.] Phil Vannatter—tried one of the gloves on first. So Vannatter came up and easily slid his sausage fingers into a similar glove.
‘OK, ‘ Marcia relented.”
They tried on the gloves and we know how that turned out. The scene where TV dad called the Goldmans to apologize is true.
Marcia Clark has said that if the gloves would be the cause of them losing the case, then they weren’t going to win anyway. Still, she wasn't happy. My father wrote that Marcia didn’t talk to him for days and he was shut out of important meetings for a while.
When I was in journalism school at USC, we received F’s if our stories had a factual error or a misspelling. No matter how big or small, no matter how beautifully written the article—you mess up, you got a big ass red F on your paper. Making an error is heavy for jounalists. I just couldn’t imagine making a mistake while literally the world is watching. As an adult, I have a greater appreciation for my father getting up the next day and still trying.
Watching the glove scene and looking back reminds me of something Les Brown says. “If life knocks you down, try and land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. And if you get up, you can stand up. And if you stand up, you can fight for your dreams once again.”
Despite the death threats, the racists letters, harassment by the paparazzi, being called a Tom and a traitor, the weight of his brother living with AIDS and then the glove—my father still kept pushing.
While the portrayal of the glove scene is not 100% accurate, I agree with this great GQ interview with Sterling K. Brown, that the miniseries humanized my father in that moment.
My father never stopped believing the gloves were O.J.’s. Nicole Brown purchased the same brand of gloves for O.J. back East. There are photos and TV footage of him wearing the gloves. Shrinkage and the latex gloves O.J. wore under the leather gloves are why they didn’t fit. Later on, my father had O.J. try on a replica of the gloves—new pair, no latex gloves underneath. Those did fit. Unfortunately by then it was too late.
Cochran’s ex-wife, ex-mistress drama was interesting. There’s more on that here.
The beef between Shapiro and Cochran is fascinating and humorous on the show. The scene where Shapiro walked into the courtroom with his police alliance pin cracked me up. I find it interesting that Shapiro may have been trying to undermine Cochran.
I’m glad there was a scene with O.J.’s kids. Take a minute and think about what they went through. Their mother is gone and their father is accused of killing her. That’s heavy.
There are a few scenes of TV dad and Marcia Clark going on a road trip to Oakland. It's true they traveled to the Bay Area. I first met Marcia Clark when they visited Oakland.
I don’t know if they came up for a party. My dad liked to get his party on back then so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s true. As for that scene in the hotel hallway, I don’t know if that happened and I’m not asking.
I text my dad recently about people’s obsession with rumors of him and Marcia Clark being romantically involved. He replied back that people see it like an episode of Scandal. Ha!