Does OJ Simpson Own HoneyBaked Ham? Examining the Former Football Star’s Business Ventures

Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson is a former NFL football star whose name became infamous in the 1990s when he stood trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Simpson was acquitted of the murders in one of the most publicized criminal trials in history, but many still believe he was guilty. Beyond the notorious trial, OJ Simpson had a promising career as a businessman and franchise owner – including an indirect interest in the popular food chain HoneyBaked Ham. So does OJ Simpson actually own Honey Baked Ham? Let’s take a closer look at the details.

OJ Simpson’s Football Career and Rise to Fame

Before delving into Simpson’s business ventures, it’s worth recapping his early career. OJ Simpson grew up in San Francisco and attended the University of Southern California, where he won the 1968 Heisman Trophy as a standout running back for the USC Trojans. He was selected first overall in the 1969 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills and went on to play professionally for 11 seasons.

Nicknamed “The Juice”, Simpson broke numerous records and became the first NFL player to rush for over 2000 yards in a season in 1973. After retiring from football in 1979 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Simpson leveraged his sports celebrity into acting roles and a broadcasting career with NBC Sports.

Transition From Football to Business Ventures

After football, OJ Simpson pursued various business ventures and endorsement deals. In the late 1970s, he became well-known as a spokesman for Hertz rental cars, appearing in TV commercials running through airports.

According to a 1994 Washington Post article, Simpson served on corporate boards, owned hotels and restaurants through his company O.J. Simpson Enterprises, and had business interests in franchises like Honey Baked Ham and Pioneer Chicken. At the time of his 1992 divorce from Nicole Brown, his net worth was estimated at $10.8 million.

Clearly, Simpson was building a thriving career as an entrepreneur and franchise owner beyond his days on the football field But out of all his ventures, the HoneyBaked Ham connection seems to raise the most questions

The Murders and Civil Trial Against Simpson

In June 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found murdered at her home in Los Angeles. OJ Simpson was charged for both murders a week later. The ensuing criminal trial in 1995 was dubbed the “Trial of the Century”, with over 100 million people tuning in to the televised verdict. The extensive media coverage and racial tensions surrounding the case sparked major debate in America.

Ultimately, Simpson was acquitted of the murders in criminal court. However, the victims’ families later filed a civil lawsuit against him. In 1997, he was found liable for the wrongful deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman. The court awarded $33.5 million in damages to their families.

What Was OJ Simpson’s Connection to HoneyBaked Ham?

Amid the civil trial in 1997, there were media reports claiming Simpson had a hidden financial interest in HoneyBaked Ham worth $1.25 million. This prompted the company to issue a statement clarifying that Simpson no longer had any connection to HoneyBaked Ham:

“Any indirect interest Simpson had in a Honey Baked Ham franchise was terminated more than one year ago, in January of 1996. Simpson no longer receives any compensation of any kind as a result of any indirect interest he once had in a Honey Baked Ham franchise.”

According to the statement, Simpson previously had an indirect interest in one HoneyBaked Ham franchise, likely as a passive investor. But he divested that interest in early 1996, over a year before the civil trial.

The plaintiffs in the civil case alleged that Simpson failed to properly disclose the money he received from selling his indirect interest in HoneyBaked Ham during the legal discovery process. However, Simpson definitively did not still own part of the company in 1997 or anytime thereafter.

Other Businesses and Endorsements Severed Ties

In the wake of Simpson’s mounting legal troubles, many companies cut ties with him. Hertz dropped him as a spokesperson in 1992 right after news broke of his ex-wife’s murder. NBC Sports terminated its broadcasting contract with Simpson around the same time.

Wilson Sporting Goods discontinued production of a Signature OJ Simpson football shoe they had launched earlier in 1994. The company also scrubbed all references to Simpson from their website and marketing materials.

While Simpson seemingly had a strong business acumen that translated into financial success, his brand was far too tarnished after 1994 to maintain corporate sponsorships or franchise investments.

Life After Acquittal and Bankruptcy

Despite the civil judgment against him, Simpson still lived a comfortable lifestyle in the years immediately following the trials. In 1996, he moved to a new luxury home in Miami, Florida.

But things took a turn in 1999 when a judge ordered him to use his NFL pension to begin making payments on the $33.5 million owed to the Goldman and Brown families. With his main income source gone, Simpson struggled financially. By 2001, his Miami home went into foreclosure.

In 2007, Simpson was arrested and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. He was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to 33 years in prison, with a minimum of 9 years before parole. After serving nearly 9 years, he was released on parole in October 2017. The Goldman family continues working to collect the multi-million dollar civil judgment from him.

Does OJ Simpson Have any Business Interests Today?

OJ Simpson is now 74 years old and focused on enjoying his freedom while still making payments owed from the civil suit judgment. It’s highly unlikely he currently retains any business investments or assets of significant value. His only income is an NFL pension of about $25,000 per month, of which a portion goes to the Goldman family.

The days of lucrative endorsement deals, corporate sponsorships, and savvy franchise investments are certainly far behind OJ Simpson. His legacy will always be tainted by the horrific allegations against him – regardless of the fact he was not convicted in the criminal trial.

While at one time Simpson appeared to be building an impressive business empire and amassing a multi-million dollar fortune, his net worth and corporate relationships came crashing down in the mid-1990s. The indirect interest he once had in HoneyBaked Ham ended over 25 years ago along with all his other business ventures.

How Is OJ Simpson Linked to Honey Baked Ham?​

Who owns Honey Baked Ham Company?

The company is presently headed by Hoenselaar’s granddaughter, Linda van Rees, who moved the headquarters to Alpharetta in 2015. The Honey Baked Ham Company, LLC has grown to over 200 company owned retail stores and 200 franchise locations across the United States, as well as an ecommerce business.

Does HoneyBaked Ham still make Ham?

HoneyBaked Ham is still a family-owned business and is currently run by Hoenselaar’s granddaughter. While the company has changed and expanded in many ways over the years, its commitment to the tradition and legacy of its founder has remained constant. HoneyBaked Ham says it still makes “every ham the same way Harry did.”

Does HoneyBaked Ham sell hamjamas?

HoneyBaked Ham has an entire line of branded products — from T-shirts and baseball caps, to mugs, even a candle that smells like the company’s famous glaze. If you really want to ham it up this holiday season, there are also the hamjamas. Yes, you read that right.

Does HoneyBaked Ham sell turkey breast?

While the first HoneyBaked Ham store only sold classic, bone-in spiral ham, the company’s menu has since expanded well beyond that. Besides offering their original ham in smaller portions and boneless style, the company also sells HoneyBaked Turkey Breast.

Leave a Comment