Could 'The Dirty Game' End Up In Court?

The Sports Illustrated investigative series on Oklahoma State football called "The Dirty Game" still has three parts remaining but enraged fans have been talking, posting, tweetin, and texting their hopes that Oklahoma State or some other individual will take the magazine and the team that worked on the project to court.

Pulitzer Prize-winning co-writer George Dohrmann has said he has written every word in the series but deflects much of the research and fact gathering to often criticized and greatly disrespected reporter Thayer Evans.

Dohrmann as been in court within the past year. He had a defamation suit filed by former UCLA basketball player Reeves Nelson dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge last October. The suit was filed over the characterization of Nelson in a story written by Dohrmann titled "Not the UCLA Way," which examined the Bruins program under then coach Ben Howland.

While the suit was dismissed, Nelson and his attorney were able to establish on the record in court several inaccuracies in Dohrmann's story.

Oklahoma State has not responded officially to the story yet except for what is on their response website response.okstate.edu and today's statements by associate athletic director for academics Marilyn Middlebrook.

Today on The Dan Patrick Show former OSU quarterback and current Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Josh Fields was asked by Patrick if he is perturbed enough from being mentioned in both stories so far to consider legal action.

"Yesterday I was accused of accepting money from an unnamed source, and today I was, I guess, getting academic privileges from an unnamed source. Nothing is true," said Fields on The Dan Patrick Show.

"A couple of the guys in the article, Doug Bond, I had out to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. He ate with my family. I was around these guys and these accusations, especially today for the academic part, for a couple I don't know how many, but when you're dismissed (from the team) for grades and supposedly you are getting everything done for you by tutors. That is pretty hard to do when you are getting your work done for you and you flunk out and get dismissed from the team."

Patrick asked Fields point blank, will you sue Sports Illustrated for what they wrote? "I'm discussing that and it has come up with my agent," answered Fields.

"They have posted in the article that I have denied everything. They have not posted any detail or evidence about me and it's been an unnamed source. I'm kind of taking it as it's irrelevant. If someone is going to use my name then they should put a name behind it. If there is no name behind it then I just don't think it is very credible."

Fields added on the show that one of the things he finds most disturbing, along with the mention of his name, is the accusations that the late Vernon Grant received inappropriate academic assistance and the late Darrent Williams received inappropriate academic assistance and illegal payment for his play.

"The thing about the article and the most disgusting thing to me is the credibility is not the best, but the most disgusting thing to me is bringing up two of my former teammates (Vernon Grant and Darrent Williams), God rest their souls, that don't have a chance to defend themselves in this whole matter," said Fields on national radio. "I think this is a slap in their families' faces."

Fields is one of many former OSU football players from the decade in question, although there has been no expanded detail on any incidents past 2007 in the stories thus far. Another former Cowboy, linebacker James Thomas, said on my radio show on Triple Play Sports that he has this message for recruits that might be examining this material and perhaps thinking twice about Oklahoma State.

"What I would say is what I said earlier, you've got some guys that had a hard time here and didn't want to follow the rules, tried to do their own thing, and you ultimately saw what happened," said Thomas with conviction.

"What I would say is those are just words. Everybody has their own opinion on certain things and that is those guys opinion. If you want my opinion, I had a great time and Oklahoma State changed my life. It took me away from a really bad environment and put me around some really good people and changed my life tremendously.

"It is a great program. You learn discipline. You learn respect. Everything you need in everyday life you learn if you just pay attention and stay on the right track. It is a great place and you learn a lot. It has turned a lot of boys into men, you know, and it is a great family environment.

"Like I said, I wouldn't pay attention to the allegations and things that are going on because those are people's opinions and half of those people didn't make it even two or three years in this program. Coach Gundy and the staff did what he calls trimming the fat. You know you have to trim the fat to mold the team and it is hard to say but some of those guys were the fat.

"Some of those guys weren't going to class and some of them were doing drugs. You know they had disciplinary problems and we had to trim the fat. I can see where they are upset, but it was their choice to do what they did and you have to pay the consequences."

Speaking of consequences, the question is will the consequences of writing this series land SI and its team in court. It's at least being asked and discussed.

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