With the country once again divided over issues of race amid a national uproar over football players, patriotism and free speech, CBS News special correspondent James Brown anchors aspecial: "O.J. Simpson: Endgame," a one-hour broadcast Saturday at 9/8c, on the eve of after serving nine years on armed robbery charges.
"Some half a million inmates will be released from our state prisons in 2017," Brown reports. "None will be met by the spotlight, the curiosity that will greet O.J. Simpson. Will the man so many still consider a killer slip into the shadows, and live out his days quietly? We know the national conversation about race and the criminal justice system remains center stage. It is America's endless refrain, a nation's unfinished business. When will race no longer measure and divide us?"
The special retraces the events that led Simpson to this moment: from his landmark murder trial – where he was found not guilty in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman – to how that verdict continues to influence race relations.
The broadcast also focuses on what role domestic violence played in the murder trial and how the case impacted the careers of those involved.
Brown's report features interviews with Ron Shipp, a former Los Angeles police officer and friend of O.J. and Nicole;, Ron's father; Tanya Brown, Nicole's sister; Sylvester Monroe, a writer who covered the trial for Time magazine and now is an editor at the Washington Post; Simpson's friend Joe Bell; sports sociologist Harry Edwards; and Simpson's legal "Dream Team" members F. Lee Bailey, Shawn Chapman Holley and .
Douglas tells James Brown the verdict in the Simpson murder trial was about more than just about the man on trial.
"People weren't cheering O.J. Simpson per se. But they were cheering that once, one time it seemed that the criminal justice system balanced in favor of a black person – tomorrow will be the same," Douglas says. "Yesterday will be like it was. But one time, it seemed that the system balanced in favor of a black man, and still we Americans can't get past that."
Asked why there's still a fascination with Simpson today, Sylvester Monroe tells Brown, "Because it reflects where we still are today on matters of race."