In the days following the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, callers to talk radio shows suggested that the only way that O.J. Simpson could have killed anyone is if he was experiencing a psychotic episode of roid rage on June 12 1994.
The term “roid rage” first entered the lexicon in the mid-1980s, after a series of high-profile violent crimes committed by bodybuilders. Roid rage describes uncharacteristic outbursts of uncontrolled violence experienced by users of anabolic steroids.
In popular culture roid rage was portrayed similar to Bruce Banner transforming into the Incredible Hulk – seemingly normal people were shown injecting steroids and exhibiting an uncontrollable rage just like the comic book character.
Steroid Use In Professional Football
The use of steroids in the National Football League (NFL) dates back to the early 1960’s. Notably, coach Sid Gillman introduced anabolic steroids to his players on the roster of the 1963 San Diego Chargers of the American Football League (AFL).
The NFL did not begin testing players for steroids until the 1987 season. Those players whose test showed a 6-1 testosterone to epitestosterone ratio were deemed to have tested positive for steroids. While there were no penalties handed out for those who tested positive for steroids in the 1987 and 1988 seasons, beginning in 1989 players who tested positive were suspended for four games.
The San Diego Union Tribune published the most comprehensive study to-date on steroid use by NFL players in 2008. The newspaper’s investigation used hundreds of media reports, archives, public records and interviews with players and league personnel as the source material for its research. This resulted in a list of 185 NFL players in NFL history who they believe used “steroids and related substances” (steroids, ephedra, amphetamines). The earliest usage uncovered by the paper’s investigation occurred in 1962.
O.J. Simpson retired following the 1979 NFL season. The San Diego Union Tribune found no evidence of steroid use by Mr. Simpson or any of his teammates during his tenure with the Buffalo Bills. The first Buffalo Bills player included on the list is Jim Haslett whose playing career spanned the years 1980-1985.
Despite there being no evidence of steroid use by O.J. Simpson throughout his NFL career, a surprising number of people believe that the Juice was on the Juice back in 1994.
The Origin of the O.J. Simpson Roid Rage Conspiracy Theory
Following the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman callers to talk radio shows suggested that Mr. Simpson must be a steroid user and experienced roid rage the night of June 12 1994. However, none of these callers had any evidence to support their theories.
The tabloid television show “Hard Copy” was the first media outlet to broadcast a story purporting to establish that Mr. Simpson used steroids. In November 1994, the show broadcast an interview with a man who claimed to have sold Mr. Simpson thousands of dollars’ worth of steroids in 1987.
The first journalist to publish the O.J. Simpson roid rage conspiracy theory was Roger Friedman. During the Simpson trial, Mr. Friedman was writing New York Magazine’s Intelligencer column.
Friedman began his July 24 1995 column asking “Did O.J. Simpson murder Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman as a result of a chronic steroid addiction?”
Claims made by Mr. Friedman in the July 1995 article:
- Simpson had been using and addicted to anabolic steroids since the 1970’s.
- Simpson’s blood sample was not tested for steroids.
- Simpson asking limo driver Allan Park to open the windows is clear evidence that Mr. Simpson was experiencing sweat resulting from his steroid use.
- An unnamed flight attendant, who has never testified or been deposed, supposedly told LAPD that during his June 12, 1994 flight from Los Angeles to Chicago, Mr. Simpson went to the bathroom every 15 minutes.
- Friedman quotes Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Bursztajn who told him that a steroid user “would pee and pee and drink and drink [water].”
After 1995: Expanding the O.J. Simpson Roid Rage Theory
Since 1995, Roger Friedman has regurgitated his O.J. Simpson roid rage conspiracy theory on several occasions:
- In a 2004 article for FOX NEWS Friedman cites tape recordings made by Al Cowlings for an alleged book project as confirmation of the roid rage conspiracy theory.
- Writing for FOX NEWS in 2006 Friedman opines that his OJ roid rage conspiracy theory quote “to this day it makes the most sense.”
- In 2016, Friedman republished the story on his Showbiz 411 website.
Each time that Roger Friedman has published a revised version of his original July 1995 New York Magazine article, his roid rage conspiracy theory expands – it has included everything from a sports drink that Mr. Simpson at one time endorsed to Faye Resnick’s boyfriend.
The crazier Roger Friedman’s theory sounds, the more people seem to buy into it.
Watch “Was The Juice On The Juice?” the 11th Episode of O.J. Simpson: Fact or Fiction?
“Was the Juice on the juice?” is the topic of the 11th episode of O.J. Simpson: Fact or Fiction?, an episodic series of mini-documentaries which examines one aspect of the O.J. Simpson saga per episode. Using only factual, credible source materials, we will determine, beyond any doubt, if O.J. Simpson experienced a psychotic episode of roid rage on June 12 1994.
We welcome your feedback. You can contact the author using any of the links at the top of this page. Follow Brian Heiss on Twitter @BrianHeiss.