Critics have breathlessly praised ESPN’s definitive O.J. Simpson documentary, but it fails to consider how fame, sex, and the women in Simpson’s life shaped him.

Made in America, he says, “Is full of footage of blacks and whites reacting to the verdict in diametrically opposite ways, and the genius is that you absolutely understand why both sides were sort of right.” Except that when it was all over, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman weren’t “Sort of” horribly murdered, they were horribly murdered.

Episode two relates a scene w Simpson sees Nicole sitting in a restaurant next to a “Homosexual man”-we have no idea how O.J. knows that-and “Freaks out.” Clearly t are some larger issues at stake concerning Simpson and sexual identity, but the subject is then dropped.

In 1983, I flew to Buffalo for a profile on O.J. We spoke before the broadcast of Monday Night Football, and he told me that his mother, who knew Willie Mays, brought Mays to their apartment in the Portreo Hill Projects in San Francisco when O.J. was in high school to warn him to stay away from gangs.

Race is what the Simpson jurors, prodded by Johnny Cochran, reacted to, and it was what prompted hundreds of thousands of blacks in Los Angeles to take to the streets in near-euphoria when the verdict was announced.

Tragedy isn’t what made the trial into a media frenzy in the first place-it was O.J.’s celebrity.