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Jason Witten Catches Heat for Mentioning OJ Simpson in the Same Breath as Saquon Barkley

Source - O.J. Simpson has typically gone unmentioned during NFL broadcasts since the former Buffalo Bills star was accused of a double murder in 1994, that is, until ESPN’s Jason Witten tried to use the recent parolee in a clumsy comparison on Monday night.

When talking about New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Witten first referenced Simpson …

‘Think of all the great running backs – and I would certainly put Barkley in there – that never got to a Super Bowl: O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, LaDainian Tomlinson,’ Witten said. ‘They never got an opportunity.’ …

[T]he very mention of Simpson – who recently served nine years in a Nevada prison for armed robbery – was enough to ignite a chorus of criticism on social media.

Wrote one Twitter user: ‘Out of all the running backs Jason Witten could [have] compared Saquon Barkley to, the first name out of his mouth was OJ Simpson.’

The Dirty Sports Podcast’s Twitter account had a more sarcastic reaction: ‘OJ Simpson! Finally someone is giving him the much needed respect. Thank you Jason Witten.’ …

As Robert Littal of Black Sports Online wrote, ‘Witten really has no idea what he’s saying when he starts a sentence.’

Alright, that’s enough. Can we please just lay off Jason Witten? Even for a little while? First of all, he’s not wrong. It’s factually accurate to say Saquon Barkley has never played in a Super Bowl, just like OJ Simpson, Eric Dickerson and LaDainian Tomlinson never did. That is, he wasn’t wrong until he corrected himself and said Tomlinson did, then he was wrong, but that wrong is canceled out the right and so we split the difference and still call it a win.

Second of all, I’m sure to Witten, OJ paid his debt to society. He stole back those bobbleheads and 8x10s that were stolen from him, he served his nine years, it’s time to let the man be compared to other running backs once again. I mean, how long are we going to punish the man? I’m sure Jason believes he deserves a second chance at some point, and that time is now. And sure, there’s that messy business of his nearly decapitated ex-wife and her badly mutilated friend, with OJ’s blood all over them and their blood all over his car. But how long are we going to keep bringing that up? Forever?

The bottom line is that getting convicted of one crime and acquitted of two others shouldn’t cancel out all the good the man did gaining all those yards in Buffalo and San Fran. When you’re a true Football Guy like Jason Witten, the real crime is never making it to a Super Bowl. No wonder the NFL got Sean McDonough fired so they could get some guys in there who just want to talk about the game. Good going, ESPN.