In Defense of Terrelle Pryor

By DJ Byrnes on July 27, 2011 at 1:00p
66 Comments
At least his discounted tattoos were elaborate.SPOTTED: TP's more discreet, but rather
brodacious "Praying Hands" tattoo.

Frankly speaking, I’ve always thought Terrelle Pryor was a bit of a douchebag. I've held this opinion since a fateful afternoon in the spring of 2009, when I got a glimpse of the majestic canyon that seperates our respective athletic talents. I assume only because he was bored, TP, then already The Man on Campus, strolled into the RPAC with some beefy football player, picked up three random bros, and destroyed all comers for the next hour and a half.

He (almost) literally sexually assaulted a dude during one of his many dunks. He back-trotted and maintained the Gooseneck after swapping a three. He whispered “glass” into my ear before he banked in a turn-around jumper from the elbow. He grunted with more frequency than Serena Williams with every jab-step, every cross-over, and every dunk attempt. Between games, he worked two BlackBerrys while smirking.

Terrelle Pryor did all of this all while never breaking a sweat. He played pick-up basketball for an hour and half, was the best player by a country mile, and didn’t break a sweat. (Granted, 60% of his competition was hung-over, but still). After he was done, he hollered to his friend, “Let’s go, ain’t nobody up here who can guard me.”

By this time, it was evident Terrelle Pryor thought rather highly of himself.

Though, I can’t say I blame him. When I first arrived as a freshman at the University of Montana, I had 10 bottles of MD-20/20 (SO HIGH CLASS), about $2,500 (high school graduation money), and a dorm room (closet). I thought I was The Man; to the point where I was probably a bit of a douche-bag myself. (Some would say there was no "probably" about it). So, how can I hate on Terrelle Pryor, a man who was the biggest celebrity on campus before he was ever enrolled in classes, for developing an ego?

I can only imagine how big I could inflate my ego if I were holding nationally televised press conferences about where I was going to take my 1.18 high school GPA. If I had been told—from a very early age—that I was The Man, wouldn't I enevitably start believe it? And if I didn’t, I’m sure there would be no shortage of beautiful women to try to convince me otherwise. I think, when viewed through this scope, TP’s mindset becomes quite understandable, if not outright predictable. He’s not the first to be afflicted by the disease of American celebrity and he’s certainly not the last.

Given that, it’s been quite perturbing to watch OSU fans completely abandon TP in the wake of recent “scandals”. Sure, he might be a douchebag; but every one of us contributed to it. When we were cheering his touchdowns against Wisconsin or his Rose Bowl victory, he was probably every bit of a douchebag then as he appears to be now.

Terrelle Pryor, perhaps, wasn't the most humble of cats, but he’s still a figure of tragedy. (I don’t mean “tragedy” in the sense that I would in relation to the recent events in Norway or Kim Kardashian’s relevancy; I simply mean it as I would in relation to a character in a play). For TP, it was never supposed to be this way.

... It’s weird, because, Tressel and TP, as different as they were… they went down for essentially the same crime. At the end of the day, neither of them respected the NCAA or their arbitrary rulebook.  TP did it in a way which resulted in him getting discounted tattoos and a few extra thousand dollars in his pocket. Tressel did it in a way which lead to him ignoring the fact his star quarterback was pulling up to the Woody Hayes practice facility in a new car every week. In the end, they both decided they were above the NCAA rulebook. And that’s all understandable, because the NCAA rulebook is a joke.

If you embrace and accept Tressel & his redemption, then you must accept Pryor’s. To accept one, and to shame the other, is, in my opinion, hypocrisy. So why does one get a parade to his house, while the other gets a constant stream of hate-fueled messages on his Twitter feed?

America, for better or worse (definitely worse), always needs somebody to blame. If there’s a screw-up somewhere, somebody’s head must roll. It’s just the way it goes. And Pryor… well, he’s the one whose head hit the chopping block. (Even though he was essentially doing the same thing as Ohio State's Head of Compliance).

Tressel, the leader of the program, at best, was strategically ignorant of some lifestyle choices of Mr. Pryor and I’m sure nobody was aware of it more than Mr. Pryor himself. Hell, it would have been a miracle if we never ended up here.

Sure, Tressel was fired and he certainly deserved to be. (Aside: why is this just brushed aside as a penalty for people who want OSU to [basically] face a firing squad?) But in the end, this is about young kids choosing bad company, discounted tattoos, and cash in return for signatures.

If Eddie George were to come back to Columbus & play a free round of golf… it would only be the 183,012,193rd time in American history that an athlete had received some special perk. If Terrelle Pryor is the one receiving a free round of golf, it’s now being treated as if he’s a heroin trafficker. It’s absurd.

Terrelle Pryor is now the pariah who led to the downfall of golden-boy Jim Tressel. For a mob needing to blame somebody, Pryor is the perfect poster-boy. IF ONLY PRYOR COULD HAVE KEPT HIS GREEDY LITTLE HANDS TO HIMSELF, TRESSEL WOULD STILL HAVE A JOB.

This, of course, ignores the fact that Tressel helped create the culture at Ohio State which TP skillfully fed off. If Pryor were the first footballer in Columbus to eat fruit from the Forbidden Tree, then these people might actually have a case. I doubt Pryor was doing much more than prior Ohio State stars… he was just unfortunate enough to get caught.

Since coming to Ohio State, Pryor hasn’t done much but win ball-games. (31-4 as a starter, 3-0 vs. Michigan, 2-1 in BCS Bowls). Given the millions (and make no mistake, it’s millions) OSU and the NCAA have raked off Pryor’s back, I don’t fault Terrelle Pryor for getting his. Maybe he made $40,000 over the course of his career at the University of Ohio State. Forty thousand dollars over three years is a pittance compared to what is being made off him or what he would make if he were paid properly for his prodigious talents.

Tressel, of course, knew what was going on, and in the end, he too thought he was bigger than the rules, preferring to deal out his own brand of in-house justice rather than take things to the NCAA investigators. Both blatantly ignored NCAA guidelines and both have been swiftly punished for their actions.

While Tressel is a grown man, it’s easy to forget that Terrelle Pryor is just 22 years old. It’s also easy to remember we’re talking about discounted tattoos and trading signatures for cash. His worst offense is having an ego incapable of fitting into the Horseshoe on game day. I guess this is explains the fact that, while there have been plenty of OSU fans taking up a defense of Jim Tressel the human being, not too many have come to the aid of Terrelle Pryor's.

This ignores the fact that we all helped build Terrelle Pryor's ego... brick by brick. I'm pretty sure Buckeye Nation was elated when Pryor chose the University of Ohio State over everybody else. I'm also sure I wasn't the only one calling for Terrelle Pryor to start over a guy named "Todd" after the Buckeyes got their teeth shoved down their throat by USC in 2008. And I couldn't have been the only one cheering on his gliding runs into the endzone. I also don't recall being particularly angry about discounted tattoos when Ohio State finally got the SEC monkey off their backs this past winter.

Terrelle Pryor is a man who has probably been surrounded by people with money signs in their eyes since he was very young. Do you think, if Terrelle Pryor couldn't throw a football, a rich, white guy from Western Pennsylvania would want to "mentor" him? (Still waiting on the transcripts of those conversations). After we all assisted in cobbling this legendary myth of him, we're now going to act angry that his ego got the better of him? Now I've got to listen to people like Bobby Carpenter give diatribes on 97.1 The Fan, acting as if he never took or enjoyed the benefits of being a football player in Columbus, Ohio? As if Pryor was the first? Or the last? Ridiculous.

I have always thought Pryor was a douchebag, but I simply can't blame him. I also realize he's 22 and may have cost himself millions of dollars in draft money in exchange for $40,000 sprinkled over three years. (Money which he should've been entitled to in the first place, but hey, that's another discussion in itself). Ohio State fans should save their death threats for people who truly deserve it--people like radio hosts with contrarian opinions.

It's been wrong how the Ohio State "family" has turned on Terrelle Pryor while still embracing Jim Tressel. And, just like Jim Tressel will one day be (rightfully) cannoninzed into Ohio State lore, then Terrelle Pryor should be allowed to ascend to his rightful spot amongst Ohio State's all time greats at quarterback. I hope this whole saga has taught Pryor who his true friends are and just how fleeting a chance in the NFL can truly be. I hope he parlays all of these troubles into a successful NFL career.

Family, sometimes, will disappoint you. Terrelle Pryor, whether we all like it or not, is part of The Ohio State family. It's easy to wear t-shirts and $5 buckeye necklaces and cheer when we're up 44-3 in the 4th quarter against Toledo... but it's during the turbulent times where character shines through the most.

Hopefully Ohio State fans and Terrelle Pryor can both accept some change is needed.

66 Comments

Comments

btalbert25's picture

tragic as Kim Kardashian's relevance, that's good stuff right there.

btalbert25's picture

Nice post.  I always defended TP, but thought it was definitely time to part ways.  Tressel does get a pass by many, especially since the article came out and the rest of the national media started to feast.  Bottom line, Tressel was a good man, great coach, and I was happy to have him lead this program.  On the flip side, I'm one who believes that some rumors about Tressel could be true.  He's had accusations follow him as long as he's been a head coach, and even before that.  Geiger nailed him on written reviews for the exact situation that lead to his down fall.  He wasn't vigillant enough about reporting rules violations.  I loved Tressel, but there's no doubt the guy wasn't affraid of bending the rules once in a while.

Baroclinicity's picture

I agree here.  I kinda view Jim Tressel and Lance Armstrong in the same light right now.  Not comparing their situations because they are completely different;  I want to blindly love both, but I find myslef always letting out a little sigh when I hear/read their names. 

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

GoBucks713's picture

I just pray to God that all of the current and incoming players and coaches learn from this. Maybe there should be a poster of both TP and JT in the locker rooms at WHAF as a dialy reminder of what can happen if you break the rules.

-The Aristocrats!

flickster's picture

Great read. Very well done... and I couldn't agree more.

NH-IO's picture

So why does one get a parade to his house, while the other gets a constant stream of hate-fueled messages on his Twitter feed?
 

Because one did something for someone other than himself?

/perturbed

Roger's picture

Exactly. At least from what we think we know of the situation, there were two entirely different motivations between them. That's what separates them in most peoples minds.

btalbert25's picture

but this wasn't Tressel's first rodeo.  He's been accused of not reporting infractions or violations many times over his coaching career.  His old boss, the AD everyone loves Geiger, gave him extremely low marks in this area of his written evaluations.  This was not the first time Tressel failed to report things and it was common knowledge by higher ups.  I don't believe that every time he had truly noble intentions.  Even his former bosses at Youngstown State had a hard time understanding Tressel and his motives.  On one hand you had this truly amazing guy who took care of kids and was very philanthropic and on the other you had all these cases where he was blissfully ignorant and guys were breaking all kind of rules in his program while he sat back and said Gosh Darnit this is the first I've ever heard of it. 

I love Tressel but let's call a spade a spade folks, he disregarded the NCAA rule book more than once.  There was only one time that he actually got himself and school in a whole lot of trouble. Again, the guy was great, I was proud that he lead my favorite team for 10 years, but any other coach at any other program had this much smoke surrounding them for the last 20 years and we'd be calling him dirty.

Roger's picture

Again though, very few fans have a soft spot for the NCAA (most view it as arbitrary, archaic, etc). I think Tressel was always a guy who looked out for his players first and foremost and that's why people are going to support him over a kid who always looked out for himself.

NH-IO's picture

Not saying Tress was perfect.  In fact it could even be said that both Pryor and Tressel were victims of the same flaw - hubris.  My point was only that two people who have done wrong will and should be perceived differently based on their other qualities.  Tressel possesses redeeming qualities in spades, Pryor none.

AltaBuck's picture

Just my humble opinion but JT always struck me as a man of faith and beliefs. If anything, such as a NCAA rule, conflicted with those beliefs, the beliefs would always win out. The Drushaun Humphrey story back in 2001 is a perfect example of this. JT and the team (aka family) did what they thought was right for the recruit's family and HS although it was a NCAA violation and JT subsequently rec'd a letter of reprimand for his action.

I think TP did the things he did because he is very young and he felt entitled. I really cannot place a ton of blame on him. When I look back on my college days, I made some really stupid decisions.  I learned from them and hopefully TP will as well.

Regarding other CFB programs, after the past 6 months, I for one, will certainly hold judgement when news breaks until I have a better understanding of the details and the sources involved (local and national media).

In the end, September 3rd cannot get here quickly enough.

 

 

I am Groot - Groot

biggy84's picture

If the program was so dirty, the players wouldn't need to sell their own things, they would have plenty of money hand shakes from boosters. People tend to overlook that.

BuckeyesBackOnTop's picture

Great article. I don't necessarily fault TP for everything that happened either. However, the ability to deal with all of the attention and fame in a way that builds character, rather than ego, is what separates the Terrelle Pryors from the Peyton Mannings. I know there's obviously a huge age/maturity gap between the two, but even so, I don't believe TP has the capacity to achieve the same level of self-awareness as someone like Peyton Manning.

Pam's picture

Having Archie Manning as a father had a lot to with the kind of person Peyton is. He has a dad with both college and NFL fame who could guild him around the pitfalls of stardom.  He also never had to worry about having enough money to take his GF out for a pizza.

BuckeyesBackOnTop's picture

Very true. I think guidance has everything to do with it. Especially when you're 17 years old standing in a room full of cameras and ESPN reporters hanging off your every word. But at the same time, he had Tressel. Ideally, Tressel should've been (and in most cases he was) helping his high profile players deal with all of the attention and fame accordingly. Ultimately, he let a big one slip through the cracks. 

Pam's picture

But he didn't grow up in Jim Tressel's house.

btalbert25's picture

Not only that, but how what recruit in the history of recruiting has been more hyped than TP.  Not only did every football school want the kid, he was a top basketball recruit too that virtually every school wanted.  Everyone knew what kind of player Peyton Manning would probably become, but when he was being recruited to go to college, Recruiting wasn't the 3 ring circus it is now.  We didn't have Twitter, Facebook, Rivals and Scout if they existed were in their infancy, and he wasn't being stalked by middle aged dudes online all day.

Plus, what Pam said. 

NeARBuckeye's picture

Mad Dog is gross, but it's cheap... Being broke and in college leads to poor decisions. TP got some free tats, I drank Fourloko. Same thing.

BuckeyeSki's picture

$10.99 30-racks of Keystone Light....pre Keith Stone...were where it was at

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SouthBayBuckeye's picture

we usedto get kegs of keystone for like $50 a piece to pop in the kegorator.

 

it was smooht, just like the aformentioned keith stone.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

argyle182021's picture

I had a roommate who worked at a beer distributor near my undergrad campus.  With his employee discount we used to get kegs of Milwaukee's Best Light for $30 (at the time they normally ran about $50 plus deposit).  Plus they generally had cases of deuces and other odd stuff that was past the sell by date and so he could pick that stuff up for next to nothing.  A few weeks before graduation there were hundreds of cases of MGD cans that had expired and I think they let him have them for $4/each.  We bought all of them and lined the walls of our house with stacks of that full bodied goodness disgusting beer. 

BuckeyeSki's picture

$4 cases? Thats a David Hasselhoff  Alcoholic's wet-dream

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NeARBuckeye's picture

After Natty became more than $12 we all started drinking Ice beers. People should not be allowed to sell that crap. It's tastes like skunked beer mixed with paint thinner... I of course drank my fair share.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I remember when a case of natty was $9 plus tax. For my 22nd birthday part we bought over $400 worth of said cases, loaded by buddy's suburban up. We ran out at midnight.

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BuckeyeSki's picture

Then you got into the Ether?....nothing more depraved and irresponsible than a man on an ether binge

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SouthBayBuckeye's picture

we made an emergency run to UDF. miss U UDF.

 

speaking of ether..

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

RBuck's picture

Believe it or not, Natty was considered a premium beer when it first came out...priced the same as
Michelobe. It was the first light beer from A-B.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

WAs considered?

 

i drank a natty ice on a million dollar yacht a few weeks ago. classiness, tSBB's middle name.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Jpfbuck's picture

these kinds of posts are always based on a false premise whe it comes to defending the player for "getting his".

Terrelle Pryor did not make OSU a dime,,,,change Terrelle Pryor to a UFL team based in Dayton and nobody in Columbus could be bothered to go see him the last 3 years,,,ie he has no value in himself, he only has vaule as a member of the OSU brand, a brand that was developed, nutured and sustained by the university and the local/regional community,

It is not like OSU's attendance had some massive increase the last 3 years, or gear sales grew by some massive amount,,,in fact had Pryor gone to UM, OSU would have still sold out every game, and sold just as much merch and probably would have gone to just as many bowls and been on TV the same amount,,,

the University is who footed the entire bill to generate the profits and revenues you discuss. I don't recall that when Todd Boeckman was the QB against Ohio U in 2008 that we had some horrible attendance numbers,,,in fact we sold that game out too,,105,000+ showed up to agme that TP hardly played in and didn't start,,,when Justin Zwick started against Marshall in 2004 etc we drew 104,000+ per game

it was the school that built the stadium, that promotes the team, that negotiated to the TV contracts, that pays for the advertising, that hires the coaches, that raised the money and built the WHAC,,and on and on...

OSU has sold out every home game dating back to the late 1940's,,no matter what record, no matter what player wore #2, even when Steve Bellisari was QB and we went 6-6 in 1999, we sold out every game,,,when Greg Hare started in 1972 we sold out,,,and on and on.

Change the laundry any of the top 4-5 players on OSU where's an OSU's attendance never changes, and the minor league team they go to, even if it was in Crew Stadium, fans wouldn't attend if they went there straight out of HS...

 

TP or any other college player cannot point to a single butt in any seat that they personally put there..they are the ultimate commodity, unlike the NFL where a player may be with a team for an extnded period, or at some lower level school where they don't always sell out,,,but at OSU, due to players turning over every 3-6 years and we still sell out every game shows they as players have ZERO cash value..

buckeye56's picture

There were plenty of times in the 60's when the Stadium was not selling out.  Even in the 68 season there were a couple that didn't sell out.  In fact I remember the first game post Rose Bowl victory in '97 (granted on a Thursday) there were seats unsold in the south stands. I dont doubt that a couple of "down" seasons could ding the attendance, especially with tickets at $70 a pop.

Jpfbuck's picture

yeah but the attendance for the home opener vs YSU in 2007, (the year before TP got here), was 105,038,,the next year it was 105,011, so he gets here and the attendance for the exact same opennent is unchnaged, (in fact it went down by 27 people),

it just makes my point, he was the highest profile recruit we had at QB in the last 20 years, hype, hype hype,,and the impact on ticket sales???? nothing..so how much of the revenue OSU pulled in that day should go TP????

Had TP when coming out of HS had gone to play for the semi pro team, say the Columbus Fire who play at Africentric HS, do you think OSU ticket sales for the YSU game would have suffered???

that is what I mean that the "thing" that has value,,is the OSU brand, not the individual player,

if the entire OSU team put on games against other college level players, but was not affilaited with the university and charged even $5 per game, they couldn't fill a 30,000 seat venue every game let alone OSU stadium,,hence why those UFL teams that are full of former college stars, can't hardly draw 10K per game...

if you think otherwise your just plain kidding yourself.

and yes, if OSU had several years of mediocrity, attendance would suffer, but no individual player can be pointed to and say, "he is why we win and hence why we sell out",,,at a school like UC sure you could make that case, but at a school like OSU,,,the school sells itself, because they pay the millions to get a Jim Tressel and not Mike Minter, or get a John Cooper and Walt Harris, and not Foge Fazio,,,they are the ones who built and expanded the stadium and relentlessly market the team all over the region so that they can fill it by attracting top recruits...UC and Pitt and Temple, don't commit to that arms race and hence can't get top recruits and hence why the slide into mediocrity from time to time while OSU rarely does!!!

 

becasue the Brand Called The Ohio State University Buckeyes,,,sells itself, to both the fans and the recurits.

buckeyes763's picture

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say we wouldnt have gotten to the last two BCS bowls with bauserman as our qb , and in that sense TP not only made Ohio State millions, but also the rest of the Big Ten. But you're right in saying he didnt improve attendance/sales/fandom etc

btalbert25's picture

Yeah, Imagine what attendance would be with 10 years of mediocrity instead of 10 years of great football success.  It's players like TP, Troy, Ginn, and Beanie that keep the 105,000 coming. If Ohio State was fielding IU or Northwestern talent we would have people paying 70 bucks per ticket and selling out 105,000 tickets every season.

Irricoir's picture

 

It is a totality of talented players yes, over the course of time that generate prestige and fanatic followings. It is not one single player that stays on campus 3 to 4 years. Look at all of the talent, every year, on the team that Pryor played for? Could you not mention at least one that you would go to watch due to his talent? (Beanie Wells, Malcom Jenkins, James Laranaitus, Kurt Coleman) I can, one at least for each year that Pryor played for the Buckeyes. I don't detract from Pryor's talent and his abilities. Was he the most athletic and talented player on the team? Probably, especially at his position. Everyone says without TP we wouldn't have done this or that or whatever. Ever think that we may have recruited another very high profile recruit in the years to come if we had not landed him? I think we cooled on the high profile Quarterback recruits because we had the one we wanted not because we couldn't go land more. 

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

btalbert25's picture

Weren't the other high profile QB's Tahj Boyd?  The other high profile recruits at QB we landed in the recent past were Rob Schoencroft and Justin Zwick.  Ohio State is not exactly a haven for start QBs.  Troy was a great one, but he was a pleasant surprise.  So with no Pryor Henton probably ends up being the guy, if he kept his nose clean.  After that, Guiton possibly.  Pryor was the most talented athlete this program has seen in a long time if not it's history.  To use the old Tebow expression, there were games Pryor "willed" this team to victory.  Iowa last year for instance.  Despite how bad everyone else played, how bad his receivers were, He went out and won that game.  The Rose Bowl is another game that without Pryor that game probably isn't won. 

We may have ended up with another high profile QB, but to be sure there was not a player in any of the classes during TP's tenure here that would have come to Ohio State and had the impact Pryor did.  Let's look at some of the other highly touted QB's around that time.  Jacory Harris, Tierod Taylor, Cam Newton, who else?  Matt Barkely?  Highly unlikely we would pay enough for Cam.  Tirerod and Jacory?  Don't think so.  Barkley was destined to be the next SoCal QB.  I don't know who was out there Ohio State could've landed at the same time that would've been nearly as impactful as Pryor.  Don't kid yourself, he was more important than any other recruit this team has landed in a long time.  What has happened since doesn't matter.  This program needed Pryor, especially after the Florida and LSU debacles, anyone else wouldn't have worked out.  Also, the team would've never made the Fiesta Bowl against Texas with Boeckman starting the whole year.  The guy was immensely important to the success of the team.  Jenkins and others were important, but no one made up for inadquacy at other positions more than TP.  Most of the time, if the line was bad, he made something happen.  When Beanie was hurt, TP was the guy.  No one impacted the games the way TP did when he was on the field.  You don't have to like him, but don't diminish what he meant to this team in his 3 years on the field.

NeARBuckeye's picture

Henton? Really? If I remember right he's the genius who solicited a cop for sex.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Bucksfan's picture

Fair arguments.  Personally, I actually don't understand why our fanbase has been so quick to forgive Tressel outright.  Tressel still hasn't been direct or honest with anyone, least of all those of us who really looked up to him, since the story first broke.  And because of the string of lies at the beginning, and the very uncomfortable responses to the NCAA inquiry, it makes it very difficult to accept anything short of, "I literally put winning before all else, and that was wrong."  At this point, that is the only explanation that will satsify me, personally, and unfortunately we'll never hear those words uttered by that man.  Just ain't happening.  That means, at least for me, it will take a lot more time.

Regarding Pryor.  You know what?  Might be full of himself.  Might have done a horribly stupid thing that ultimately put him in a position he didn't expect to find himself in...not completing his development as a college QB, and not entering the NFL on the best of terms...no shot at the Heisman, no national championship, etc.  But, he was a good student, he was arguably the best 3rd-down-and-10+yds QB the game has ever seen, and in an offensive scheme so tightly held back by Tressel himself, every time he stepped on the field was a chance to get down the field to get points.

Can't blame Pryor for another man's mistake.  You can blame Pryor for him not playing his senior season, but that's it.

btalbert25's picture

But Tressel was just looking out for the kids, he's a great man, no way he had winning seasons and success in mind.  LoL, I'm so tired of hearing those same old defenses.  Tressel broke the rules.  He's done it before in the past.  Previous bosses at this school and other schools have acknowledged there were problems with Tressel being upfront about things.  Stories have circulated for years about Tressel and how clean his programs are.  Before this, though, he never got busted.  John Calipari is widely considered a "dirty" coach, yet he's never actually been in trouble himself.  It's always the players.  He's always had the defense of I didn't know.  Yet virtually anyone outside of Kentucky thinks the guy is a cheater.  It's a little bit harder to deal with when the guy is your coach.

I'm not attacking him as a person.  I love Tressel.  I just don't believe that all these examples that have been talked about for years are all just examples of Tressel lying or with holding information for the greater good of the kids or some other noble venture.  He's a human being.  He wants to get paid to do a job.  To get paid you must do it well and that means you have to play with your 5 best players despite knowledge they are inelligible.

You can't dispute all the great things he's done.  He's a great man to be sure, but you can't say well he did this really really good thing, so that bad thing he did isn't that big of a deal.  He was just protecting people because he's so good.  He cheated, he got fired, and he has yet to give the fans who love him any reasonable explanation.  He gave a half assed, clumsy news conference that made him look more guilty than anything else.

rider1's picture

My "problem" with TP is that it always seemed to me that JT sold out his values to land him. What I mean by this is that I always felt that there were promises made in the recruiting process that were unique to Pryor in regards to playing time and other things. It always appeared that JT was over the top in his defense of Pryor when he pulled his spoiled child routine or when he stunk up the field with his arm punts.
Please note the words "seemed","felt", and "appeared". Obviously I don't know any of this to be true. It is my perception.
I always wondered where OSU would have been without TP. Did I want to see Bauserman running the offense? Absolutely not, but I always felt that TP's character didn't mesh with Tress's value system. I felt that their relationship didn't pass the smell test. I felt the same way with Clarrett.
I can't wait to put all of his behind us (tOSU family) and get back to watching our Bucks finally play some football? Who else is ready to hear some Paul Keels?

Denny's picture

Luke told me over beers one time that you're a solid writer, DJ. Good to see he wasn't lying - great stuff.

Taquitos.

BUCKEYE_in_BRILLIANT's picture

"Maybe he made $40,000 over the course of his career at the University of Ohio State. Forty thousand dollars over three years is a pittance compared to what is being made off him or what he would make if he were paid properly for his prodigious talents."

I disagree. In exchange for his talents, he was given a free education and the experience and knowledge of the game that would allow him the opportunity to have an NFL career and make millions of his own. This is compensation that only tOSU (or another major university) could pay him for his prodigious talents. Rather than take this payment, work hard for four years, and then collect his millions upon milions, he felt that he needed an additional $40,000!

On the other hand, even though I am not willing to just simply overlook what he did, I do not think he should be permanently shunned by Buckeye fans.

My opinon of TP will be based solely upon how he carries himself and represents tOSU from this point forward. If he proves to me that this was just a mistake that he made as a result of being young, then that is how I will remember it.

That is the difference between TP and Tress. Before this whole mess, Tress never gave anyone any reason to be anything other than proud to have him as a coach. It is therefore easier to chalk Tress's actions up to a mistake and forgive him. If TP's actions from here are similar, then he should recieve the same treatmen.

buckeyes763's picture

if someone gave you $100,000 but made you spend it on gum, your still going to need money for other stuff, right? Thats what a scholarship is, they give you money and tell you where you have to spend it- on your education, rent, food, etc. And there is no doubt these players get enough to cover rent and food, and i dont know how much they have left over, but if the players want to have their fun like other college students (who can have jobs and receive legal paychecks), its going to take some extra cash (not 40G, though). While i agree that some of the players take for granted the value of a free education, i dont think it is fair to say "a free education is all the money they need."

Lucys Daddy is a Buckeye's picture

While I agree in concept to the though of paying athletes, where does one draw the line?  I mean, do you pay every single athlete at the school?  Do you pay only those athletes that play "income generating" sports, i.e. football and basketball?  Do you have a sliding scale or a meritocracy wherein you would pay football players at tOSU more than baseball players?  What about at a school like UCONN, where the Women's hoops program is probably one of the biggest income earners for them.

 

Sorry, but I cannot see how paying college athletes to compete is a good thing, hence the phrase "student-athlete", not vice-versa.

...And when we win the game, We'll buy a keg of booze....And we'll drink to old Ohio til we wobble in our shoes...

BUCKEYE_in_BRILLIANT's picture

I honestly don't know how much they have left over either, but there are a lot of student athletes at tOSU as well as other universities who do not have time for a job. Those kids are getting by without earning money by violating NCAA rules. (I realize some of them may have different family situations, but not all of them)

I understand you point though, and I do realize how hard it would be for a 22 year old kid to resist.

I guess I just disagree when people act as if these kids aren't getting anthing and the universities are taking advantage of them. Honestly, TP is likely to make more money in a year than most people will ever make and he could have never made that money without tOSU.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Unrelated, but DeVier Posey's brother Julian was signed by the Jets. Sweet. Good luck to the fella.

bucknut24's picture

I am new to this blog after reading it for a while and I agree with alot of your statements.  I also agree with what BT said, Pryor was a clear talent and we needed him because he is a game changer no matter what bad decisions he made off the field.  IMHO Tressel should have came forward from the get go but he knew he had a shot at the title and thought he could get away with it.  He is good man and coach but he cheated and had to pay the price even though Pryor put him in that position.  Along with the other guys too which would have come out eventually.

iball's picture

This whole saga makes me wonder if Tress was hiding something during the whole Mo C era. Maybe he and OSU were successful in making Maurice the lone scapegoat that time and it just didnt work out that way this time.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

NC_Buckeye's picture

Wanted to make a quick comment. And sorry if someone has already brought this up.

I know it's the opinion of the day to bemoan how much universities make off of cfb and cbb athletes while they get nothing in return. But the thing is they do get something in return... a free education. Any current students care to enlighten us as to how much a year's tuition with room & board and books cost?

And if you combine that with the small percentage of college athletes who actually establish a professional career for themselves after college or manage to have a career longer than five years... well that degree becomes a hell of a lot more valuable.

In my mind, the biggest slam on the university is that Terrelle spent three years working towards a degree in... EXPLORING. (I honestly thought that was a joke when I first read it.) Someone needs to drill into these guy's heads before they take their first class -- they need to start preparing now for life after football or basketball cause it's going to happen faster than they think.

There are so many interesting fields of study at tOSU where you can actually get a job when you graduate (not like my liberal arts degree -- stupid, stupid, stupid). EXPLORING is not going to help TP get a job when football is no longer an option.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I would have gone out on punt coverage to not have my student loans. I'll do it now if they let me....

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

DJ Byrnes's picture

I apologize on my delay getting to these comments--I've been wandering around Columbus all day, sipping from a Four Loko, and generally being depressed about Jonathan Newsome's evident transfer. (I'm still getting my @JNew55 #55 jersey though, you can go on and take that to the bank).

NH-IO - First, well played. Secondly, let me propose this to you: if you're out to eat, and there's an unruly 6 year old running amok in the restauraunt, do you fault the kid or the parent? Clearly, Pryor should've known better--but I'm supposed to believe Tressel was in the dark about all of this?

Sure, I guess it's reasonable to assume Tressel's motives were much more pure than Pryor's, but isn't it Tressel's job to make sure his students are in line? The same way an unruly child speaks to a lack of parenting, isn't that what we have here with Tressel/Pryor?

......

NearBuckeye - Your post made me laugh.

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JPFBuck - I have a few issues with your post. First of all--to say Ohio State has never made a dollar off Terrelle Pryor? So do you think all those #2 jerseys Ohio State puts out every year--do you think that's some sort of coincidence? Also, do you think the NCAA was willing to let Terrelle Pryor & company play in the Sugar Bowl because they have never made a buck off him? If Terelle Pryor was a back-up punter, do you think he would've been allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl?

I see the point you're trying to make. But, did Ohio State build its football brand, or did athletes before Terrelle Pryor build it for them? I'm of the persuasion that Ohio State built its entire football history on the backs of improperly comepensated employees. Sure, Ohio State is bigger than Terrelle Pryor, but a lot of people like Terrelle Pryor went into building Ohio State in the first place.

For exmaple, couldn't your employer take your logic against Pryor and apply it to you? After all, let's say you're an engineer, what money have you made your company that a generic egineer couldn't have made them in place of you? Just because there are other people who could do your job doesn't mean you're out of a paycheck, does it?

And yes, Ohio State packed 105,000 people into a stadium to watch OSU demolish somebody like Youngstown State. But that's a season opener. What if there were a minor league team in Dayton--but instead of just Terrelle Pryor on the team, this league had every elite NFL prospect in the country. How long do you think OSU could get away charging $70 a ticket to watch somebody like Joe Bauserman chuck a pigskin around against the likes of Youngstown State?

I mean, in what other arena in America would this work in? Terrelle Pryor played a crucial role in the Rose Bowl & Sugar Bowl victories... and he can't even get a slice of DVD sales? He's supposed to live on $1,200 a month... because he will "probably" earn millions of dollars down the road?

Tell me--what happens if Terrelle Pryor got into a car accident this summer. Or, if he had came back to Ohio State, ruptures every ligament in his knee. People always act like being in the NFL is a birthright for some of these guys, so they should be willing to forsake current profits because eventually get theirs. Well, what if they don't? Shouldn't somebody like TP be allowed to maximize their cashflow RIGHT NOW? Like everybody else in America would be allowed to, if they weren't forced into some archaic, bullshit minor league system devised 50 years ago?

......................................

Not to turn this into a pay-or-not-to-pay dispute, but come on now. Jim Delaney just inked a $100 million dollar television contract... but the kids playing in those games (and risking their livelihood) will never see a dime of it?

The NCAA has erected a multi-million dollar tax shelter with the mirage of "amateurism", as if Terrelle Pryor and I would ever be equal in the eyes of society and the metro-Columbus area. Why pretend?

In Europe, soccer teams sign kids to academy teams as young as 8 years old. Their days are split between school and training. Instead of being whisked into endentured servitude, they're treated as young professionals. And they're paid as such. Let me know the next time you read about a "scandal" like the one at Ohio State, because it will be a first.

Also, if you went to work 40 hours a week, sweated through two-a-days, studied film, and then went out and did your job in front of 105,000 screaming fans, with 20,000 of them wearing your jersey, and you were getting $1,200 a month... I think you'd feel a little differently on the issue.

But hey, the people making money in this system wouldn't make money in the one I propose. So why should we change? It's easier to listen to millionaire college presidents stand at $3,000 podiums in a 3.2 million dollar mansion and lecture us all about how the American system is "special" and how they can't afford to pay any of these guys.

If Terrelle Pryor were as good at anything else as he is at football, he'd already be getting paid right his just dues right now.

Instead, this is where we're at. Treating free rounds of golf and discounted tattoos as actual crimes.

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Rider1 - Interesting you say that. It was weird hearing some players cop to TP being late for meetings and such. I always wondered, would Tress put up with something like that? It always seemed like he'd be above that... but, who knows anymore?

Also, I'm disturbed by Tress' interview he gave to the NCAA, where he said TP was offered "inducements" to play for other schools. I'm to believe TP chose to play for free--because that sounds just like TP, right?

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IBall - I have a theory that Tressel chose to cover-up the TP mess because he saw what getting the NCAA involved did to Maurice. I think he wanted to avoid all of that and handle it in-house.

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NC_Buckeye - I'm of the belief that colleges shouldn't be involved in sports beyond the intramural level. In my world, NFL teams would have youth teams (say, anybody under 22) which they would be able to sign whenever they wanted. (Just like European soccer).

In this dimension, obviously things are a little different.  I hate the "they're getting a free education" argument because... if TP were getting paid what he was worth, he could easily afford to pay for this education himself. He'd also at least have the choice in the matter.

Sure, an education sounds nice to the average person, because, well, the average person needs a college education to advance in this world (or so they tell us). But, if I were 6'5" and ran a 4.3 40, would I be worried about education? Hell, I've slacked my entire career and I'm 6'2" and probably run a 6.5 40.

OSU cares about his education? Then why let him be an "Exploring" major for 3 years? Why let these guys skate through high school level classes? Why allow them to take classes like golf? Why are football recruits allowed to get into OSU with questionable academic records?

To be a football player, to get to the NFL, you have to go through the NCAA. There's no other route for you. You're forced into this system. And it's a joke.

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SOUTHABAYBUCKEYE_ITS - Do my eyes deceive me, or is that a mere $17 dollars? #justasgangstatho

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Denny - While that gypsy Luke was drinking beers with you and obviously lying to you, he probably stole your wallet. Your credit is probably ruined.

 

 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

biggy84's picture

Great post! Excellent point about being forced into this system. There are a lot of players that have very little business being college students, but they can't go to the NFL. They have no other option but to attend college. When coaches recruit these kids, they time their 40, measure their vertical and then see if they can get them eligible academically. To think that these players come here for an education or that the university wants them because they are future Rhodes Scholars is not being honest. Saying that they should appreciate the education is like me saying Alyssa Milano should want me because i have a good personality. Sadly, not reality.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Biggy, I respect your opinion but have to disagree.

While I agree that many of these athletes don't belong or have an interest in higher education -- that doesn't negate the university's responsibility in preparing them for life after football or basketball. Our focus should be 50-50. The coach through his staff's abilities prepares them for the pros. The university has to do the same for life outside of sports. I don't care if it's being a medical records specialist or a high school shop teacher. They should expect and get training in a vocation other than their sport in which they will be employable upon graduation.

For the ones who still have no interest, there needs to be a farm system like baseball or hockey. I know, why would the NFL or NBA do that when they already have one that they don't have to pay for. And that's the problem.

What I keep coming back to in my mind is the percentage who actually make it in the pros for more than a couple of years. I don't have the stats but I recall that it is shockingly small. What some of these former tOSU players have to resort to now to make a living is an embarrassment.

BTW, I do support a stipend in the realm of what a high-level graduate assistant makes. But that's it. Anything more will get out of control very quickly. Plus, I agree with a poster above that it doesn't matter what you pay them, there will still be guys who are going to try to get more.

Except at Penn State and Stanford. They never break rules there.

/sarcasm

biggy84's picture

I appreciate your opinion. I just feel that a lot of these guys wouldn't be attending college if it were not for their athletic ability. The colleges interest in them wouldn't be there either. So, when an athlete doesn't appreciate the education, it doesn't surprise me.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

yeah, i did an awesome photopaint and changed it to 19, just for antonio henton, and his prostitution hagglign skills.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Jpfbuck's picture

OSU invested millions in a massive stadium back when they couldn't fill it. typically until Paul Brown got here and started us winning national titles and being nationally a true power, Ohio Stadium regularly hosted 20-30,000 people per game,,,but the board and the school determined to make the program a national player invested in a massive stadium to move us into the big time,,

they then after a few false starts with coaches like Sam Willamon etc, they hired Francis Schmidt away from TCU with OSU's first multi year contract, making him one of the highest paid head coaches at the time and started us on the right path with the "Gold Pants" tradition etc,,

after that they hired Brown, (btw, OSU paid Schmidt more in 1934 than they paid Brown in 1941).

OSU administration also started the political hot potato of integration as far back as 1929.

etc, so I would say that the university and the fan base made the investment into the team to make it what it later became..

as far as the #2 jersey debate, certainly had Pryor gone somewhere else #2 jersey sales would have suffered, but some other player would have been the OSU hype guy and hence sales of that number would have climbed..Like When Beanie was here, or Troy was here #28 and #10 were hot,,or when JL was here and his number sold more..

and if TP had chosen to go somewhere else, then OSU would have been a top candidate for someone else, maybe not a QB of his caliber, but maybe a top RB to replace Beanie and we go back to power football and win that way..how the recruiting landscape changes based on TP's decision is unknowable, but to assume we would not have gone to BCS bowls, simply because he committed somewhere else?? maybe Andrew Luck becomes a target and we get him instead,,,who knows for sure..and had he come here and worn say #12, those jersey's ejersey's would have flown off the wall instead or #2,,,

Had Todd B been able to beat LSU in 2007 and hence TP was riding the pine for most of 2008, then His number would have sold more than TP's,,,the guys are interchangeable,,,that is now disparagement of their talent or contribution to programs success, but the fact that some people where #7 for TGII and others for Gamble, while still more for Hines shows exactly what I mean,,,the players are a commodity, while the brand is what is valued...

Players don't come to Ohio State because Columbus is a great place to live, or because OSU as an academic institution is head and shoulders better than say Michigan St..

they come to OSU because they have a 100K+ stadium that is packed for the spring game as well as regular season, the come because OSU has massive TV exposure, the come because they hire coaches like Jim Tressel and Woody Hayes, the come because OSU has to WHAC,,they come for the traditions, for the exposure and the coaching and very rarely for any particular academic or metro area reason,,and those things, Fan Support, Stadium, Facilities and coaching staff are all due to the investment the university and the local/regional fan base has generated,,not due to the fact that Rex Kern came here in 1967 or Les Horvath back in his day, or TP in 2008..

SchankHaus's picture

I wonder when the "who's got the bigger dick" fight between the NCAA and CFB will end.  Probably never.

Funny post. I didn't equate TP to Bill Brasky until now.

wilson.1363's picture

Great article. I agree 100%. When Pryor committed these "crimes" he was 19 or 20. What he did--selling his own stuff-- wasn't even morally wrong; it was only wrong because a backwards, hypocritical institution (NCAA) said so. Fans are so quick to hate TP for breaking a stupid rule when, ego aside, he was a model student-athlete in nearly every regard. He was Academic All Big Ten, he was never in Coach Tressel's "dog house", he never got in trouble off the field (no DUIs, assualts, skipped classes weren't an issue, etc.), and his on-the-field achievements speak for themselves. Fans are directing their anger at the victims of a broken system instead of the system itself.

BuckeyePops's picture

Exceedingly well-done my friend!  I agree whole-heartedly.

In my world this issue basically comes down to simply answering this question:

What is the MOST UNDERSTANDABLE mistake in the entire scenario, and as such, should make that mistake the MOST FORGIVEABLE?

(1) A fully-grown man, in a position as the highest-paid state employee (by far) in Ohio, blatantly lies to the organization which oversees the "business" he is in charge of?

OR

(2) An immature 22-year-old (I fully realize the redundancy in that phrase) takes advantage of a situation in which he finds himself allowing him to pocket a little money to do what 22-year-olds like to do?

Unless you're wearing the moral and ethical blinders I see Ohio State fans wearing in full force when analyzing this situation, Terrelle Pryor's mistake was BY FAR the most understandable which, in turn, makes his mistake, in my mind, eminently more forgiveable.

Keep up your great writing!

Irricoir's picture

It is not so simple to me. According to you your balance of guilt is based off age and whom should have known better. I prefer to Gage things based on intent. Even criminal laws are weighed this way. Was Jim Tressel's decision based off of pride and selfish ambition? It depends on if you believe his response to this thing or not. I do believe that he did this out of concern for his players. Call it blinders if you want to, but I could give [expletive] what someone thinks of my opinion. It would be nice to know that my thinking was rational but ultimately it boils down to what I believe in. I believe Tressel is an honest man. I consider myself to be an honest man but I have made mistakes and told untruths when my back was in the corner. I learned from my mistakes and have found new conviction. I am sure that is what Tressel will do.

Pryor is forgiven by me too. (That is a tentative statement based on what I know now, not based off of what may come out in the future) I wish him the best even though I was never his biggest fan. Don't get me wrong, I cheered for him because of the uniform he wore not because of the character he had. I wanted him to succeed because of the team he played for. I wanted him to succeed after his first apologies to Buckeye Nation, because I thought that the promise of maturity was present. The more I read about him and the more coverage that he received, I read into his character and saw things before they ultimately came out. I guess the price of stardom is greater scrutiny. Pryor's motives in the things he did were purely selfish. I wish Pryor well and hope that he can grow to be the man that he states he wants to be. I wish this for him because it is what is best for him but on a selfish note from my side, I want it for him because he will always be remembered as a Buckeye. I don't want to see his name, nor our name, smeared anymore.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

btalbert25's picture

I don't believe Tressel acted with best of intentions simply for the fact that the man has a history of conveniently not knowing what his players are doing.  I have a hard time believing that a guy who demanded so much control over his team on the field, would have zero control of his team off of the field. Also, he has a history of not reporting.  See the Geiger written evaluations.  That doesn't mean I don't think he cared for his kids or maybe there was a bit of concern for his players in this situation, but I just don't think he is as saintly as others are.  He's had a whole lot of smoke surrounding him for his whole career, there has to be some fire, and I just don't believe he was only disregarding rules his whole career to help his kids or look out for players etc. 

I always have a problem with people questioning TP's character yet we love other guys who quite honestly displayed worse character through their careers at Ohio State.  When this team lost TP took those losses hard.  They were totally 100% on him.  He apologized to his team and the fans for letting them down.  Sure he had some bad sound bites, but most were taken out of context or just completely blown out of proportion.  TP was constantly criticized before the NCAA trouble.  Yet Troy who had a run in with the NCAA, a run in with the Law, and who had rumors about around him about banging teammat'es girlfriends is so beloved.  Also, Troy wasn't always a cool composed customer on the sidelines either.  I really think the reason people just never liked Pryor came from comments like I'd dominate the nation in his system (which he was correct).  Personally, if i'm on a team and a guy who used to play for my team gets on TV and rips u s all the time,I want my leader to say  You are a fake Buckeye.   We all loved it when the Buckeyes stormed the stage after the Sugar Bowl and in a more passive aggressive way told Mark May Eff off.  How come it was OK when Dane did it that way and not so OK when TP actually called out Herbie. 

I'm not saying TP had a great character, just think other guys who were supposed to be great leaders or made of great character, maybe weren't that much different than TP when it was all said and done.

Irricoir's picture

I don't even have to read your quotes anymore. I know that they will be the counter to my every comment lol. I would gladly take someone snubbing an announcer by not shaking hands or the way he did it. There are ways to communicate your displeasure with folks by using tact. Sanz possesed that, saying your a fake ass buckeye is not. It isn't that I disagree with Pryor's assesment, it was just his presentation.

To note, I hate the comments from folks that always try to justify TP's actions. They are mistakes sure enough. Everyone including me makes them. It isn't too hard to shut your damn mouth though. No telling how much more stupid sh!t he would have said if Tressel didn't have him sitting out of media days and other events. As time went on he did get better at speaking to the media. Even today it appears his agent has given the media limited access to him.

Either way BT, I already know your stance. I really am looking forward to leaving the Pryor subject in the past. I feel like I am being redundant in my responses. After thinking about it, I am going to try hard not to even post any more Pryor related comments

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

btalbert25's picture

I don't counter everything, just everything when it comes to this subject.  I don't disagree that he is immature, just don't know why other guys get a pass and TP always gets piled on.  Troy Smith ultimately had more off the field issues than TP did, and people ignore on the field outbursts he had because he was a great "leader" that's all.  I honestly think last year's Buckeyes team would've won both 2006 and 2007 title games, and TP is the reason why.

As for Tressel, I definitely think he was a good man, but he was also an NCAA coach and if you want to believe it or not, they all turn a blind eye, cheat, and lie to some extent.  JT was no different.  He did it before Pryor and after.  After the 2 championship debacles and the beating this team took in the media and by its own fans Tressel had to go all in for Pryor.  There was not another elite offensive player the last 4 or 5 years that Ohio State had a chance to land, that could make this team siginficantly better from day 1.  Tressel had to get him in the fold and he had to keep him here.  So we can rationalize all we want, but at the end of the day Tressel knew what he had to do, decided not to do it, then lied about it after the fact, and it kept his NCAA inelligible players on the field.  It would've worked out ok too if there wasn't a leak that ran to Yahoo with the information. 

Pam's picture

What Yahoo leaked was that there was an investigation going on with tOSU and the NCAA and that it concerned JT knowing about the violations back in April of '10. tOSU already knew that JT hadn't reported the violations and they then reported it to the NCAA. If Rife hadn't been under investigation by the DOJ, then covering it up would have worked. Same with Reggie Bush, had he signed with Lake like he said he would, Lake wouldn't have sued him and no one would have been the wiser.

Huntington Beach Buckeye's picture

As always, great read.  Agree 100%.