All The Quoted Players Who Are Backing Away From SI's OK State Story

Sports Illustrated is now more than halfway through its big dumb investigation into the Oklahoma State football program. Since the magazine began rolling out its five-part series, many of the former OK State players who were quoted by co-writer Thayer Evans have claimed that they were misquoted in the story. Here's a roundup of all those who were quoted by SI who are now taking issue with the story.

Doug Bond

SI:

"They take care of their cats," says Doug Bond, an offensive lineman from 2002 to '04 who denies receiving payments. "They're not doing it for everybody."

Reaction, via the Daily O'Collegian:

But for example, the sentence that he said, one of the quotes that was in there was, ‘They take care of their cats.’ (referring to OSU boosters paying players).

The whole sentence in that deal was I was saying that if there are schools that do that around the country, I’m sure they take care of their cats. I’ve never seen that (at OSU). That was my statement. My statement was paraphrased and used in a way to make it seem like I knew that was going on. And I’ve never seen any of that. Are you kidding me?

Rodrick Johnson

SI:

Linebacker-defensive end Rodrick Johnson (2004 to '07) told SI it was openly discussed among teammates that DeForest set rewards of between $100 to $500 for a big play on special teams.

[...]

"Not only did he show [the money], he let you know," Johnson says of Williams. "He said, 'If you perform like I perform, you get paid like you're supposed to be paid.'"

Reaction:

Donnell Williams

SI:

"Drugs were everywhere," says Donnell Williams, a linebacker on the 2006 team who says he didn't use drugs but observed other players who did.

Reaction, via News On 6:

The deep-voiced Houston native says investigative writer Thayer Evans called him March 15 and told him he wanted to do a story about his "new start." But, similar to other stories from former players, Williams told me when they met the next day in Houston, Evans focused not on him and his story, but on Gundy and drug use in the program.

Williams told me Evans wanted to know who used and sold drugs but that his only answer was, "drugs are everywhere," as in the world, not the football program. He said that was the only thing he said about drugs.

Aso Pogi

SI:

Quarterback Aso Pogi (1999 to 2002) says he and another player lived at Talley's ranch one summer rent-free. In retrospect Pogi says, "It's a big deal. I was the starting quarterback." (Talley says that Pogi lived at his ranch and had to work to cover his rent; Pogi denies that he did any work.)

Reaction, via the Tulsa World:

And I’m sitting there going ‘whoa, that is really crazy.’ The words that I actually said went into the reference of ‘that (allegation is) a big deal because I’m the starting quarterback.’ That’s how it really came back. I wasn’t saying ‘I was the starting quarterback and that’s a big deal.’ I was saying I was unaware of anything like that during my time at OSU.... I can only be accountable for me and what I saw and what happened. But I didn’t see anything.

Jonathan Cruz

SI:

Carter, Cole, Mickens, defensive tackle Larry Brown (2005 and '06), offensive lineman Jonathan Cruz (2002), linebacker LeRon Furr (2009 to '10), defensive tackle Brad Girtman (2003 and '04), safety Chris Massey (1999 to 2002) defensive end T.J. Minor (2005 and '06), linebacker Marcus Richardson (2007), running back Herschel Sims (2011), wide receiver Artrell Woods (2006 to '08) and defensive back Thomas Wright (2002 to '04) told SI that they had work done for them and/or that they received other improper academic assistance. They and a dozen other players say they witnessed teammates participating in academic misconduct.

Reaction, via the Daily O'Collegian:

My statement that he quoted me with the whole paper thing, I told him the guy who was there, I don’t remember his name. It started with a K, Josh something. I told him I didn’t know how to write a paper, not that I turned in papers and they would rewrite them for me. I would write papers, they would critique them and correct them so that I would know how to write a paper. I learned how to write a paper my freshman year. Because I had never been in a situation in high school where I had to write out these long, drawn-out papers.

So yeah, I would receive academic tutoring. Someone helped me. Nobody did my work for me, nobody took notes for me, no one did my assignments. I’m just so frustrated about it because if I was getting improper academic assistance, why was I on academic suspension? I lost my scholarship after my freshman year because I was on academic suspension.

Seymor Shaw

SI:

Running back Seymore Shaw (2002 to '04) says Bell "couldn't keep his mouth shut. He'd get [money] and he'd hurry up and come and tell me."

Reaction, via the Tulsa World:

“I agreed to talk with (reporter) Thayer Evans with the presumption that we would be talking about something completely different. I became uncomfortable with where the conversation was going and later retracted all statements," Shaw said.

“I very clearly let him know I did not want to be a part of his story and that he did not have my permission to use any part of our conversation or my name. At no point in time was I paid or looking to ‘out’ OSU, players, coaches, or anyone associated with the school. I can't say a lot at this time, but please know there are untruths being written and the truth will eventually come out.”

h/t Cody