Nov 5, 1972; Buffalo, NY, USA, FILE PHOTO; Buffalo Bills running back (32) O.J. Simpson during pre-game introductions prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK

O.J. Simpson’s death presented the conundrum of how do you remember a historic professional athlete and celebrity who is even better known for being accused of committing a double murder?

As it turns out, the answer for the two teams Simpson was most associated with during his playing career — the USC Trojans and the Buffalo Bills — the answer was to not remember him at all.

While social media was filled with awkward and uncomfortable quasi-tributes to Simpson on Thursday, none of them came from the Trojans or Bills’ accounts. Rather, neither the Trojans nor Bills publicly acknowledged the five-time All-Pro’s death, which came as the result of prostate cancer.

That neither team said anything at all is probably for the better.

Considering the complicated nature of Simpson’s legacy, the best course of action for these entities was likely no action at all. Just look at the statements that were put out by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and The Heisman Trophy on Thursday, neither of which acknowledged the horrific crimes that the former running back was accused of.

While such entities could have simultaneously honored the 1973 NFL MVP’s on-field accomplishments and also acknowledged the crimes he was accused of, even doing that would have been complicated. Although Simpson was charged with murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994, he was found not guilty in a criminal trial, but later ruled responsible for their deaths in a civil trial.

That’s a lot to fit into a statement, let alone a social graphic, neither of which would have much upside for the Trojans or Bills to share. After all, even without them issuing statements on Simpson’s death, plenty of people are still managing to discuss his complicated legacy — some more tactfully than others.

[The Heisman Trophy on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.