There's a joke running rampant through the 'hood these days. It's called: "At least Bobby Brown didn't do it." Created by comedian Sheryl Underwood, it plays on the age-old inside joke that, when bad things happen in the news, black people often pray that "one of us" wasn't the one who instigated the crime. And now that O.J. Simpson done did it again, we thought it'd be appropriate to give him the respect due. Why should Bobby Brown get all of the love? So
The next time an athlete gets busted for using something they knew was illegal, but swears up and down that "they ain't know nothin'," or blames whatever was found in his/her body on the trainer or Jack Daniel's, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When an NFL player gets into a car accident after leaving "a friend's house," wrecks his $350,000 ride, brilliantly leaves the scene of the crime to avoid the toxicology test and save himself a suspension and about $10 million, but then turns around and reports the car stolen, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When a university athletic director pompously fires a head coach before his contract is up -- then hires another coach in his place, treats that coach with respect unwarranted for anyone who has never won a national championship, approves a 10-year, $30-40 million restructuring of a contract that was only seven games old, and watches that coach sink the program lower than it's ever been in the 165-year history of the school, and that athletic director acts like karma has nothing to do with the failure, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When two players are suspended from a playoff game for "leaving the bench" and the whole scope of the playoffs is changed because of it, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When an Olympic hero lies to the world, gets caught up in a money-laundering scheme, loses her medals, and embarrasses herself and the country that stood by her, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
The next time we hear "flaxseed oil," we can say: "At least O.J. didn't say it."
When a racing team is fined $100 million for spying, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When a golf pro shows up to an event with scratch marks covering his face, and he says he and his wife had "a little disagreement" before he left the house, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
The next time the World Series is thrown, or the Super Bowl seems fixed, or an NBA Finals conspiracy theory comes true, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
The next time a Pro Football Hall of Famer bum-rushes a hotel room with his boys, guns drawn, demanding that the dude selling the sports memorabilia "return his s---," well that might be O.J. But still
When an L.A. franchise trades the best player in the game (for the second time in five years), gets close to nothing in return, then falls into a hole deeper than the Knicks', Hawks' and Trail Blazers' combined, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When the wife of an NFL player has a garage sale in the middle of a custody battle for their kids, and begins selling thousand-dollar items for $10, we can say to her: "Be happy, at least you didn't marry O.J."
When one of sports' most recognizable organizations is charged with sexual harassment, taken to court, and found guilty with punitive damages of almost $12 million, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
The next time an undefeated and deserving team gets screwed out of playing for the national championship because of a certain three-lettered ranking system, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is taken away from that college and its students, we can console them by saying: "At least O.J. didn't do it to you."
The next time an announcer forgets he's on the air, gets caught up in either the game or the subject matter, and goes on to verbally lose his mind -- embarrassing his family, the organization he works for, and the people he represents, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
When a ref goes to bed with the mob and takes the entire respectability of a league down with him, we can say: "At least O.J. didn't do it."
The next time any athlete even thinks about running a dogfighting operation
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for Page 2 and a contributor to ESPN The Magazine. Sound off to Scoop here.