In yesterday’s rundown of Oklahoma State University donor and football booster T. Boone Pickens’ “disappointment” in Sports Illustrated’s five-part series of accusations, “The Dirty Game,” I forgot to mention that today’s installment is “The Drugs” in my excitement to get to the juicy details of tomorrow’s installment, “The Sex,” before it all concludes next week with “The Fallout.” In the meantime, plenty of people have registered their own opinions on the accusations, while some of the former OSU players quoted in the series are also backtracking and saying they were tricked or misquoted.
Oh, and don’t forget ESPN’s Jason Whitlock, who offered his totally unbiased opinion of his former Fox Sports colleague, Thayer Evans, who co-authored the SI report with George Dohrmann. But let’s forget about the opinions of the web and rants of a narcissist who probably has a little bit of Pulitzer envy right now. What about the people at the center of this, the administration and former coaches and players of OSU?
For starters, former Cowboys coach Les Miles has yet to release an official statement about the Sports Illustrated accusations, but he took a moment during yesterday’s SEC teleconference to deny any wrongdoing. Of course, after he mentioned his memory of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings.
Miles, who spoke on a Southeastern Conference teleconference Wednesday, said he is proud of his time as head coach at Oklahoma State and takes issue with “the idea that somebody would characterize the program that was run there as anything but right and correct.”
He said, “Every guy was encouraged to get his degree, to stay the course, and to fight.”
“Did we work hard? You betcha’. Did we make tough decisions about starting lineups? You betcha’. But every guy was encouraged to get his degree and to stay the course and to fight,” Miles said.
“I can tell you that staff, family and friends, and anybody that sat in our meeting rooms, knew that this thing was done right.” (Via ABC News)
Ultimately, Miles chalked it up to former players who “weren’t there long enough to figure it out,” meaning that players that had been kicked off the team during his tenure were just throwing around some things they think they saw out of spite.
At the same time, Oklahoma State’s director of football operations from 2004-11, Dale Patterson, added his own insight, stating what all of us already know.
“To say that there were alumni walking around in the locker room handing out checks, people are walking down the plane, handing out money on the plane — that’s ridiculous,” Patterson said. “Those things did not happen. I can’t say that maybe somebody didn’t call somebody and say, ‘Come and work for me,’ and give them $100 for an hour’s work. I can’t say that never happened. It happens a lot of places.
“But as far as the coaches orchestrating anything, or boosters that I knew of orchestrating anything, I never saw anything that went on like that.” (Via News OK)
Just like in the opening credits of Necessary Roughness, I have a hard time believing that people are ever stupid enough to hand a college student an envelope full of cash A) in public, B) right after that game and C) in front of his teammates, who will undoubtedly hold on to that and bite them in the ass later. However, that idea of the players being overpaid for menial labor makes a lot more sense.
Then there’s former OSU and current Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden who, like Miles, blamed this whole “comical” thing on pissed off former players who just felt like peeing in the punch bowl, but like Whitlock, Weeden also invoked Evans’ widely-known homerism for the Oklahoma Sooners.
“The guy who wrote the article, we had a little run-in at Texas,” Weeden said. “He’s an OU [University of Oklahoma] guy. He’s always had it out for Oklahoma State, so he comes up to me after we beat Texas and he said, ‘When’s it going to happen? When’s Okie State going to pull it’s Okie choke like they always do?’ I laughed and said, ‘Who is this clown to our SID [sports information department] guys.’
“Long story short, the guy has always had it out for Oklahoma State. He’s got a track record. You can go look it up. I’m not going to say his name. You can go look and see what he’s done. But he’s had it out for us, so it’s comical. The truth will come out. I’m surprised. Here’s what I’m surprised about is that a credible institution like Sports Illustrated would do 10 months of investigation, and they have no credible facts to go along with the story.” (Via the Akron Beacon Journal)
I get the Evans hate, because I totally believe that there are “journalists” out there operating with agendas. And I’m familiar with the hit piece he did on the Texas Longhorns – protected by the NY Times’ membership requirements, but the glorious takedown is still available at Burnt Orange Nation – and how he used a kid’s English class paper to try to smear the Longhorns’ recruiting process. But if this guy is out there, really going out of his way to burn down institutions based on his Sooner pride, why doesn’t Whitlock show us that he’s a journalist and take Evans down by investigating him and citing all of his professional biases and lies? Why doesn’t Oklahoma State hire an investigator to put together a full list of that track record that Weeden referred to and smear Evans right back by exposing him as an amateur hitman? Again, I’m well aware of who Evans is and I know how a lot of people in the media feel about him, but I also know who Dohrmann is and I agree with Ed Sherman that Whitlock is the wrong guy to champion as the “journalist” refuting this SI report based on someone’s professional reliability and integrity.
Finally, Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis – and that’s a power name, folks – claims that “we’re going to take this very seriously and we’re going to investigate it thoroughly.” Adding, “Right after I get done speaking to these girls in the Orange Pride group and finding out what they’re all about.” Okay, you got me, he didn’t really say that.