Welcome to reporting in 2013: Thanks to social media, the story isn’t always the contents of the story, but often, the author.
Sports Illustrated announced it was dropping a neutron bomb on Oklahoma State this week, and daily, it has been revealing what it unearthed during a 10-month investigation. The story has many people talking – but not necessarily for the right reasons.
Thayer Evans, a co-author of the project, has been picked apart by the media. On social media, Evans (yup, the same guy who left Johnny Manziel off his Heisman ballot last year) has actually been a bigger story than what SI has reported. Jason Whitlock of ESPN went so hard at Evans, ESPN told him to chill out.
Enter Brandon Weeden, current Cleveland Browns QB, and former Oklahoma State QB. He was happy the media asked him about the Sports Illustrated expose. Weeden proceeded to go after Evans and tell this story [H/T Mike]:
And the guy who wrote the article (Evans), we had a little run-in at Texas. He’s an OU guy. He’s always had it out for Oklahoma State, so he comes up to me after we beat Texas and he said, ‘when’s it going to happen? When’s Okie State going to pull it’s Okie choke? Like they always do.’ I laughed and said, ‘Who is this clown?’ to our SID guys.”
“And long story short the guy has always had it out for Oklahoma State. He’s got a track record. You can go look it up. I’m not going to say his name. You can go look and see what he’s done. But he’s had it out for us, so it’s comical. The truth will come out. I’m surprised. Here’s what I’m surprised about is that a credible institution like Sports Illustrated would do 10 months of investigation and they have no credible facts to go along with the story.”
I can’t find anything anywhere that says Evans attended the University of Oklahoma. [UPDATE: He did not.] A reader passed along this Evans hatchet column on the Cowboys from 2011 (good breakdown by Pistons Firing), but who hasn’t written one of those?
Can you remember a time when the author of a significant piece of work has been this scrutinized? Or is this just a unique situation because college football fans are extremely defensive of their teams?
Or – gasp – have we reached a tipping point in reporting on college football players taking money and having sex and doing drugs?