OJ Simpson

Has there been a day in 2017 with more eccentric sports headlines that Thursday? 

First, O.J. Simpson was granted parole nine years into a sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery, as America focused intently on his legal proceedings once again. Hours later, Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigned after school officials discovered he phone calls to a Tampa escort service, in what must be the wackiest coaching departure of the year.

We’ll tell you all about O.J., Freeze and much more, right here in The Cheat Sheet.

O.J. to be freed after nationally televised parole hearing

Jul 20, 2017; Lovelock, NV, USA; O.J. Simpson attends a parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center. Simpson is serving a nine to 33 year prison term for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bean/Reno Gazette-Journal-Pool Photo via USA TODAY NETWORK

Orenthal James Simpson was granted parole Thursday after a hearing in front of four Nevada parole commissioners, who determined he posed limited threat to the public nine years after being convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping.

Here was the moment when the board unanimously gave Simpson his freedom:

Simpson’s parole was considered a likely—or at least highly plausible—outcome given his age, his clean disciplinary record in prison and his release plans. He’ll be freed on Oct. 1, though he’ll still have to submit to conditions of his parole, including a limit on his alcohol consumption.

 

There was certainly something bizarre about America gathering around its televisions to watch Simpson’s legal proceedings, as it were 1995 all over again. And Simpson, appearing via satellite from Lovelock Correctional Center, kindly gave the masses something to gossip about, with a rambly, almost haughty description of his crime that had some viewers thinking he had doomed himself.

Meanwhile, one of the parole commissioners drew attention for a Kansas City Chiefs tie that somehow seemed in poor taste.

Anyway, the bottom line is that O.J. is two-plus months from being a free man. And you know what this all means…

The juice is loose. Nope, not gonna do it.

Hugh Freeze forced to resign from Ole Miss after being caught calling escort

OXFORD, MS – OCTOBER 01: Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts during the second half of a game against the Memphis Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

When news broke that University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze was on the verge of being pushed out, every college football fan immediately assumed recruiting violations, stemming from an ongoing NCAA investigation. The reality, in fact, was much wilder.

As it turns out, Freeze was forced to resign from Ole Miss due to a pattern of phone calls sent from his university phone to a number associated with an escort service. ESPN reports that the calls dated back to 2012, shortly after he was hired in Oxford. Freeze, a married man who likes to tweet Bible verses, was fond of soliciting prostitutes.

As if this story weren’t already bizarre enough, Freeze seems to have been brought down by his predecessor, Houston Nutt. Ole Miss reportedly first discovered a call to an escort service after Nutt’s attorneys requested Freeze’s cell phone records as part of Nutt’s lawsuit against the university. Nutt may or may not get damages from Ole Miss in his lawsuit, but he has already brought down the school’s football coach.

Freeze went 39-25 over five seasons at Ole Miss, winning the Sugar Bowl in 2015 before slipping to 5-7 last season. Offensive coordinator Matt Luke will take over the program on an interim basis.

Freeze, meanwhile, will presumably lay low for a little while, then embark on a redemption tour in which he talks about God and holds his wife’s hand a lot. Before you know it, he’ll be back coaching. But no matter what Freeze does from here, he’ll be eternally remembered as the coach who got fired for hiring an escort using a school-issued phone—and for upstaging O.J.

Quick hits

– In other college football news, alarmist coaches Nick Saban and Kirby Smart are worried players will skip their senior years of high school the way they skip their college bowl games.

– Americans are off to a strong start at The Open Championship.

– The Carolina Panthers cut offensive lineman Michael Oher. You could say he was… blindsided disappointed to lose his job.

Here’s a cool goal, from the Gold Cup:

– Online voters have named a new Swedish train “Trainy McTrainface,” because what else would they name it?

– The new season of Arrested Development will apparently feature a murder mystery.

– R.I.P. to Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who died Thursday after reportedly hanging himself.

One last moment of procrastination

In honor of Bennington, another Linkin Park classic.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.