O.J. Simpson left many people scratching their heads when he told parole commissioners he had lived a “conflict-free life.”
His former manager, Norman Pardo, downplayed those comments, laughing at them when he appeared Friday on CNN’s “New Day.” Pardo defended the former football great and celebrated the Nevada parole board’s decision Thursday to grant Simpson parole after he served nearly nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping at a Las Vegas hotel in 2007.
“In O.J.’s world, it’s conflict-free,” Pardo said before sharing a view echoed by many Simpson supporters: “The main conflict is he is O.J. Simpson. That’s why he’s in there now.”
CNN anchor John Berman asked Pardo why he’d laughed when questioned about the “conflict-free” remarks, prompting Simpson’s longtime friend to say with a chuckle, “I could see how people could take that the wrong way, you know, if you go back into the murders and all of that.”
Of course, Pardo was referring to the “trial of the century” and Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the grisly slayings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Setting aside controversy over that verdict, Berman asked Pardo, “What about the allegations of domestic abuse, which were never refuted?”
Pardo responded, “That was only once, I think it was. It was only one that was recorded.”
After that, he said it happened “once or twice,” then cited “the one” instance Simpson used to talk about that happened when he was drunk on tequila.
“He won’t drink it again,” Pardo said, then laughed once more while admitting he wouldn’t call Simpson’s life “conflict-free but conflict-sort-of-free.”
Ultimately, he said, “I don’t think you should go back 20 to 30 years and say, ‘OK, something that someone did 20, 30 years ago one time is something you can judge him by for the rest of his life.’ He did that. He said he was sorry he did that, he was never gonna do it again, he didn’t want to do it the first time. …”
Finally, he agreed Simpson had had a few conflicts and misspoke. “I’m not saying he’s an angel for no means.”