It may not seem like much, but for the first time 40 years, the Buffalo Bills will begin an NFL season with a player wearing the number 32 on his back. For many years that number, though not officially retired, wasn't worn out of respect for the record-obliterating running back known as O.J. Simspon. For a great many more, it wasn't worn out of contempt for him. But now, almost 25 years to the day since O.J.'s white Bronco captured the most morbid corners of America's imagination, the ol' three-two is back, to be worn by backup running back Senorise Perry for the 2019 season.
If you thought the man who willingly selected the digits of an alleged double murderer was going to have nuanced, thoughtful things to say about his decision, however, then you're going to be a little disappointed. After Perry's intention to wear the number stirred up controversy on Tuesday, here's how the Bills defended his choice:
"Boom" just about says it all. Perry couches the needless mess as an effort to better provide for his family, which is fine, noble, and good, in addition to being an obvious straw man. You could wear double zeros and change your name to Barb Streisand. The paychecks are still gonna be the same. Perry didn't choose to wear O.J.'s number as a strategic career move (boy has that backfired), but because he wanted to wear O.J.'s number. "I know the situation," he said, exhibiting zero knowledge of the situation. "I know the greatness that comes with that number playing in Buffalo."
Now O.J., by the only definition that really matters, is an innocent man. Some people even believe he's actually innocent too. His jersey hangs in the halls of USC, perhaps as a cautionary tale, and you can't talk about the Bills without eventually—once you're done kicking Scott Norwood in the teeth and fawning over Josh Allen's hand size—coming back around to him. Perry's former number is also retired in Buffalo thanks to Thurman Thomas, a man who isn't the international blueprint for getting away with it, so that's not going to happen, but pick LITERALLY ANY OTHER NUMBER, SENORISE. What could possibly be wrong with 36? How about 33? The options are virtually endless!
Then again, what can we really expect from the franchise that continues to dish out lease payments for LeSean McCoy's lawyer's Porsche?