5.10.2007

The Ballad of Jeff and OJ

Big bad restauranteur Jeff Ruby sidled up to big bad former football player OJ Simpson and told him to get out of his restaurant. It happened in Louisville this past derby weekend. Sounds like a scene out of the movie HIGH NOON. Ruby in the white hat confronted the accused-murderer-judged-not guilty, black hat wearing Simpson and reportedly said, “I’m not going to serve you!” And as the story goes, OJ meekly gathered his party of twelve, tucked his tail between his legs and left the premises amid a standing ovation for the bravado of the seemingly heroic Jeff Ruby.

Today we hear from Simpson’s attorney that the eviction was for racial reasons only and that OJ may sue. Ruby’s retort is that he was merely seeking some justice for Ron Goldman’s family.

I have mixed feelings about this alleged incident. Jeff Ruby owns many restaurants in and around my city. In the black community his rep is a bit tarnished. Seems every time there is a “black” event downtown, like the Jazz festival or black family reunion, Mr Ruby is known for closing his restaurants to take “inventory” or “vacation.” He has even been picketed for such actions in past years. He always denies the allegations, because “some of his best friends are.......” He does know a lot of black athletes and in other times, Ruby and Simpson would be photo op buddies, with Simpson gifted with tab at all Ruby establishments.

But if the closing incidents had happened only once, I would say, well, maybe coincidence, bad timing on the part of the restaurant. After all, what businessman closes his doors to making money? But it keeps happening and he is not the only one downtown who reacts like that. But they say, they’re not racist, just, well...I don’t know how they alibi themselves. I don’t patronize people who obviously don’t want my money.

Anyway, back to OJ. I am totally convinced he killed his ex-wife. He is reprehensible. I don’t understand how he could even have an entourage of twelve people who want to have dinner with him. I wouldn’t want him in my restaurant either. But I would serve him if he showed up. He was found not guilty. He is protected by double jeopardy laws.

Ruby was grandstanding. He saw a chance to grab the spotlight and took it. He got lots of free publicity for his restaurants. At Simpson’s expense, he ends up looking like a good guy, his feet of clay quietly hidden under the table.
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