Lovelock (Nevada): Former American footballer, broadcaster, and movie star O.J Simpson, who is currently locked up in a Nevada prison since 2008 has turned to religion and is embracing Islam with plans to become a Muslim.
[Simpson was the first professional football player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, a mark he set in 1973. (Photo: Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)]
The disgraced 67-year-old star has become interested in the religion through his friendship with former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, who was imprisoned in the early 1990s and is a devout Muslim.
“O.J. really thought that he was going to be successful in a bid for a new trial and eventually be released from prison,” an insider told The ENQUIRER.
“But now he’s not eligible for parole until late 2017, which has angered him.”
In 2013 Simpson’s manager, Norman Pardo, told the magazine that his client found God in prison and has been ministering to other inmates — with plans to become a TV evangelist.
But when that plan fell through, Simpson turned to Islam.
He occasionally wears the traditional Kufi prayer cap and studies the Holy Quran, the insider reveals, but he’s struggled with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which requires all Muslims to fast.
“O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process,” the source said.
“He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam.
"O.J. even made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He really likes the idea that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven. O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for", the source said.
Simpson has been imprisoned in Nevada since 2008 on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery in relation to an armed robbery that took place at the Palace Station hotel-and-casino in Las Vegas in which sports memorabilia was taken.
After seeing his appeal for a re-trial quashed last and being informed in July 2013 he will serve at least another four years, Simpson has embraced the religion in a bid to change his life.
Simpson was the first professional football player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, a mark he set in 1973.
While six other players had passed the 2,000-rush yard mark, he stood alone as the only player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a 14-game season (professional football changed to a 16-game season in 1978).
He holds the record for the single season yards-per-game average, which stands at 143.1 ypg. Simpson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
He has reportedly asked President Obama to grant him clemency so he can treat his life-threatening brain cancer outside prison.