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Terrelle Pryor and other Ohio State players attack SI report

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor and head coach Jim Tressel celebrate after defeating the Oregon Ducks in the 96th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California, in this January 1, 2010 file photo. Five Ohio State American football players, including Pryor, were suspended on Thursday for five games next season for selling awards and gifts but can still play in next month’s Sugar Bowl. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said the players must also repay money and benefits they received ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to charity for selling off items including championship rings. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Do you believe everything you read? Well it seems like every national sportswriter and pundit is treating the Sports Illustrated article on Ohio State written by George Dohrmann as if it were holy scripture. Never mind that the primary source is an admitted criminal and most of the other allegations came from anonymous sources. SI cited 9 more players who sold Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos, so that’s the number – right? 28 players did the same thing starting in 2002. Check! So as a result you have every college football “expert” tossing around phrases like “completely out of control” when describing the Ohio State program.

Now we have Terrelle Pryor and other players responding to the allegations through their families and representatives, and the story no longer seems so cut and dry.

The attorney assigned to represent Terrelle Pryor and the other current Buckeyes identified in the SI article, Larry James, said that he doesn’t expect the Ohio State quarterback to be hit with NCAA violations over the cars he’s been driving at OSU, saying “I’m satisfied that this should go away.”

As for the cars, James said Pryor’s mother, Thomasina, purchased three cars for him during the course of his Ohio State career. James said Pryor also used three or four loaner cars in the past three years while his car was being repaired.

James said the first car was a Hyundai Sonata, which Pryor drove for a year, and the second was a Dodger Charger, both bought in the Pryors’ hometown of Jeanette, Pa. James said that the Charger was recently traded in for the 2007 Nissan 350Z that Pryor drove to a team meeting Monday night. James provided the bill of sale that showed a trade-in of more than $7,000 for the Charger, with Pryor’s mother then paying $11,435.05 for the car, financed at nearly $300 a month for more than four years.

James said Thomasina works 40 to 50 hours a week as a lab technician at a hospital, and lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Columbus.

“She has a home, not in the most desirable place to be, at a very nice rent rate because of the area of town that it’s in,” James said, explaining how she can afford to buy the car for her son.

“It paints a different picture. I think it’s unfortunate how the picture has been painted. You don’t have someone living high on the hog.”

Also Thursday, Pryor had his previously suspended license reinstated when he showed proof of insurance at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles office.

Also, James is pulling together Ohio State memorabilia from the other current players included in the SI article.

James said he is working with those players and their families to gather memorabilia, like Big Ten championship rings and Gold Pants trinkets. He estimated that if there are 50 items in question among the nine players, he expects to have 48 of the items in his Columbus office by 5 p.m. on Monday. Asked why he was gathering the memorabilia, James said he couldn’t say. But it’s reasonable to assume it is to show as proof to NCAA investigators.

The presence of that memorabilia would not rule out the possibility that players traded other items or autographs for cash or tattoos, but James said, “There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that.” James said some, but not all, of the nine players in question have visited the tattoo parlor in question, adding, “but unless you got something, there’s not a violation.”

Coming out of his meeting with the NCAA, James said the following: “I would say the proceedings do not cause me any angst at this point.”

Parent of some of the players are also speaking out.

Junior linebacker Storm Klein was listed as one of the players that sold personal items for tattoos or money, and his father, Jason Klein, has issued this response to the charges.

“I have raised my son right,” Jason Klein stressed Thursday evening. “Storm has no tattoos on his body whatsoever. He doesn’t have a drug problem, and multiple tests prove that. I have every single bit of his Ohio State memorabilia in my possession.”

Jason Klein went on to say that he was consulting his attorneys to consider legal action against SI.

Here’s another response:

Friday morning, John Simon Sr. issued a statement proclaiming the innocence of his son, Johnny, once again calling into question the accuracy of Dohrmann’s piece.

“Please understand the only reason you are hearing from family members of Ohio State players is because the players are forbidden from speaking out on their own behalf,” the elder Simon stated. “I would much rather be just a dad behind the scenes supporting our Buckeyes.”

“The only thing the Sports Illustrated article got right about Johnny was the spelling of his name,” he continued. “Other than that, NOTHING was accurate. He has NEVER been to that tattoo parlor. He has NEVER sold or traded any of his memorabilia. I have ALL the awards he has earned, including rings, jerseys, and anything else in question. In fact, I have everything he has been awarded since the days he played t-ball as a youngster.”

“He has never taken drugs, nor ever failed any type of drug test,” he continued. “He does have a few tattoos, but they were received from a local shop in Hubbard (OH).

Who knows where all of this will lead, but everyone is assuming that Ohio State is cooked. Yet if this attorney is correct, then the SI story is riddled with errors and character assassination. I’m sure the NCAA will find more problems at Ohio State now that they are digging around, but it might not be nearly as bad as suggested by Dorhmann in SI.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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