Originally written on College Spun  |  Last updated 11/19/14
2010-sports-illustrated

Well, Sports Illustrated was right — the five-part Oklahoma State expose entitled ‘The Dirty Game’ is currently shocking the world. SI released ‘The Money’ this morning — part one of the series, which details how at least 29 players allegedly received cash payments from coaches and boosters in their time at the school. The information from the report was obtained by extensive investigation, including “independent interviews with 64 Oklahoma State football players from 1999 to 2011, as well as current and former football staffers.” You can read our ten takeaways from ‘The Money’ here for a quick rundown. Immediately after the report was released, criticism came flying in from all angles. Most notably, however, was the dozen of former players (and the list is still growing) that began denouncing the report on Twitter. SBNation put together an excellent collection of their responses — here are just a few key ones: @SInow These articles are no short than slanderous. Your attempt at defaming our character will NOT succeed. #OklahomaState #ProudCowboy — Russell Okung (@BDR76) September 10, 2013 This SI piece is a trip. Nobody took money or had as people taking test for them. This is stupid as hell. OSU is like family to me — tatum bell (@tspeedtx) September 10, 2013 This article is a joke. Come on… Former players who were kicked off the team is a credible source? Good try Sports Illustrated. No respect — Andrew McGee (@Coach_McGee) September 10, 2013 I spent 5 years in Stillwater and never experienced any of these allegations… I’m interested to see who they got their information from — Anton Jamie Blatnick (@JBlatnick) September 10, 2013 However, it wasn’t just the players that talked in the report that were under fire — one of the writers for Sports Illustrated, Thayer Evans, also came under serious fire — he formerly attended Oklahoma. Leading the charge was Jason Whitlock of ESPN, a former colleague of Evans: Oh My God. Just saw on Peter King’s twitter feed Thayer Evans has something to do with this Okie State story. Holy cow. H O L Y C O W — Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 10, 2013 My God, this might be the journalistic crime of the century. Boomer Sooner got to write takedown of Okie State. Unreal. #plushesahack — Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 10, 2013 Yes, I’m not speculating about his incompetence. RT @MinnickTaylor: Wasn’t Thayer Evans a colleague of yours over at Fox Sports — Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 10, 2013 Whitlock went on KFOR 98.1 in Tulsa to elaborate: Whitlock on Thayer Evans: “It wouldn’t shock me if he couldn’t spell ‘cat.’” — Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) September 10, 2013 After Whitlock’s public outcry, former Oklahoma State quarterback and current MLB player Josh Fields told ESPN that the reports are not credible: Josh Fields to @ESPN: “Anyone that played at OSU or from Stillwater knows the players (quoted in SI report) are not credible” — Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 10, 2013 Former OSU QB Josh Fields tells @ESPN: “I’m in disbelief. Never had anyone attempt to give me money or saw teammates accept money” — Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 10, 2013 And if that wasn’t enough, Tatum Bell, whom SI says in the report denied that he received illicit payments, claims SI never in fact contacted him: Tatum Bell just said on @sportsanimal that no one from SI contacted him about the story. — Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 10, 2013 SI claims in its article that Tatum Bell denied to them he got illicit payments. — Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 10, 2013 Certainly, there are going to be a lot of questions about the investigation itself — it’s easy to see motivation on both sides of the report, and why the credibility of either side could be doubted. These are large groups of people both corroborating conflicting stories. As if all that criticism and doubt wasn’t enough, Deadspin offered a different opinion. Tom Ley called the SI piece a “shamestravaganza” that was “useless muckraking” — after all, players in the report were quoted as saying that the recipients of money needed it so they wouldn’t starve. Of course, people question the validity of that criticism, too. The craziest thing about this is that it’s just the beginning — Sports Illustrated has four more segments of the report to release, and as more people get named, we are going to be bombarded with more opinions and perspectives. It is definitely something worth paying attention to, and we’re sure you’ll get your fill of Oklahoma State coverage in the next few days.

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