Statement Analysis®

O.J. Simpson's Confessions

The BET Interview

On January 24, 1996, Simpson was interviewed by Ed Gordon on the Black Entertainment Television network. This was his first full televison interview since his acquittal on the murder charges. Three times during the interview Simpson denied committing the murders.

Gordon: Did you indeed commit those murders?

Simpson: No, I did not commit those murders. I couldn't kill anyone. And I don't know of anyone that was involved. Anything that I might say along those lines would be pure speculation."

The next two denials are at the end of the interview with Simpson stating the following.

"I didn't kill anybody; I could not kill anybody."
"I love my kids. I loved Nicole. I could not have killed anyone, and I did not kill anyone."

As we saw in his book Simpson again qualifies his denials. Every time he tells Ed Gordon that he did not commit these murders he explains the reason for his innocence. He is innocent because he "couldn't kill anyone." I have never heard Simpson state "I didn't do it" without qualifying the denial.

The ESPN Interview

On January 15, 1998, Simpson was interviewed on ESPN's "Up Close" program. The question-and-answer format was hosted by Chris Myers.

Myers: Are you capable of killing somebody?

Simpson: You know, I would say, actually I would say no, even though I'm sure if someone was presenting some imminent danger to my kids or something I'm sure everybody would be capable.

Simpson begins his answer using the phrase "You know." The problem is we do not know. While some people have a habit of using this phrase, deceptive people often use it because they want you to take for granted what they are saying is the truth. However, we take nothing for granted. We only believe what people tell us.

When people use the word "actually" they are comparing two thoughts. For example, if a person was asked "Did you go shopping yesterday?" a response may be "Actually, I went today." The person is comparing the interviewer's proffer of "yesterday" with their answer of "today." When Simpson uses the word "actually" what is he comparing? He is comparing his answer of "no" with what? The opposite of "no" is "yes." It appears Simpson was about to say "You know, I would say yes" but then changed his mind and answered with a "no." This big athletic former football player wants us to believe that he is not capable of killing someone. Most people would probably answer this with a "yes" if they had to defend themselves or their family.

Simpson alludes to being able to kill someone if he had to defend his kids, but he stops short of saying that he would do that. He says "I'm sure everybody would be capable." The word "everybody" includes Simpson but he does not personalize it. He does not say "Yes, I could kill someone if I was protecting my kids." He is being so cautious that he does not want to admit he is capable of killing someone.

Myers: Would you for Nicole?

Simpson: If I thought someone was going to hurt her.

Although he does not answer the question with a "yes," Simpson gives the impression he is capable of killing someone if he had to defend Nicole. When we look back at Simpson's interview on the BET program, three times he stated he couldn't kill anyone. Two years later in the ESPN interview, we see he is capable of killing. If Simpson lied in the BET interview when he said, "I couldn't kill anyone" how can we believe him when he says he did not commit these murders?

Myers: But love could cause you to go into rage to kill?

Simpson: I don't think so. I don't believe so at all.

Simpson waivers on his answer. He doesn't answer the question with a firm "no." All he tells us is he doesn't "think" or "believe" he would do such a thing. Since he doesn't tell us he wouldn't go into a rage, he leaves open the possibility he could go into a rage and kill.

Myers: Are you capable of going into a rage and not remembering exactly what you did?

Simpson: I don't believe so, no.

Simpson answers the question with a "no." However, by adding the phrase "I don't believe so" he is not committing to his answer of "no." Since he only believes he would not go into a rage that he wouldn't remember, we cannot assume this would not happen to him.

Myers: Have you ever done that?

Simpson: No. I mean I have been in a rage, and when it was over you kind of regret some of the things you might have said, but I don't feel that I've ever in my life done something that, when it was over, I wasn't aware of what I did.

Simpson answers the question with a "no." However, he invalidates his answer of "no" when he said "I mean." "No" no longer means "no" because he is about to tell us what "no" means. He then tells us he doesn't "feel" he could have done something and not remember it. Feeling is not the same as saying "I have never done that." Simpson leaves open the possibility he could go into a rage and do something he later would not remember.

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