So on the latest addition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, four former Auburn football players (Raven Gray, Stanley McGlover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick) said they were paid to play football for the school. If you haven’t seen it, well, I’ll provide a recap: four guys with axes to grind spilled their guts, but provided very little in the way of proof.
McClover told fantastic tales of book bags full of money being left by Auburn “boosters” (none of whom he could actually name) and recruiting trips to Ohio State where he was free to bang any chick in sight. Reddick went further, not only saying that he was paid (he couldn’t name his benefactor, either), but also alleging that Auburn coaches forced him to change his major. He even threw this nugget in:
Reddick: “I sold my SEC Championship watch right off the stage as we were celebrating in Toomer’s Corner.”
Kremer: “Why did you sell it?”
Reddick: “Because it was useless to me. I had to sell all my championship rings to help my sister not go into debt as her house was about to be foreclosed on.”
Wait, hold on a second. If Auburn was so free and loose with the cash, couldn’t some of it had been thrown at Reddick’s sister to help her in her time of need? Hell, Oklahoma boosters bought Marcus Dupree’s mom a trailer once upon a time, so I’m sure the legion of nefarious Auburn boosters could’ve helped Reddick’s sister get right with her bank again. You know, because they’re evil and stuff.
On the telecast, Reddick could barely contain his hate for Auburn, it was practically dripping from his nose. Could some of that have something to do with the fact that he was turned down after he applied for a Graduate Assistant coaching position at Auburn last year? Hmmmm…
Ramsey also had stories to tell, like receiving $100 handshakes after Auburn football games. Curiously, he spent much more time making those allegations than Kremer did telling us about his lawsuit against Auburn. You know, the lawsuit that motivated Ramsey to even be on the segment to begin with. I’ll fill in the blanks on that:
Football coaches are expected to push their players to give the most they can give.
Did Nall and Gamber push too hard? Against doctor’s orders?
The lawsuit alleges that they did.
The lawsuit alleges that Nall and Gamber forced Ramsey to do too much too soon after his first back surgery on April 21, 2008.
The lawsuit alleges that Ramsey reinjured his back in the weight room on June 2, 2008, and that injury led to the second surgery, on Jan. 21 of this year, and ended his career. (Birmingham News)
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson thought so much of Ramsey’s lawsuit that he dismissed it this past February. Ladies and gentleman, that sound you hear is Ramsey grinding an ax.
Getting far less publicity than the Ax Grinding Four is the fact that several more Auburn players are saying they didn’t really see this stuff going on. Four year starter Lee Ziemba provided the following to the Sporting News:
“No, I absolutely did not (receive money),” Ziemba told Sporting News. “In fact, it was the other way around. Everybody is complaining about (not having) money in college. I remember trying to figure out—I was just talking to my girlfriend about this yesterday—I just got my first credit card yesterday and I was talking about how nice it was not to have to choose between eating food and putting gas in my truck for once. Even though now I have money, I told her that would be helpful back when I was in college. That’s the way things were. They were late giving us our scholarship checks, we were getting money on the 17th or something like that, late on our rent checks and stuff. We struggled in college. As much as you whined and complained and tried to get money, you weren’t getting a dime. So I don’t know where all this is coming from.” (The Sporting News)
So a guy who started from the day he stepped on campus and helped Auburn win a national title says he didn’t get paid? Wow, it appears that Auburn’s got this whole system ass-backwards. They seem to be paying guys who are on the fast track to being has beens instead of hooking up their actual contributors. Strange stuff, man.
It would’ve been nice if Ziemba had been part of this particular Real Sports story, you know, to provide a little bit of balance. But it appears that HBO was never interested in that.
Weeks ahead of the story, rumors circulated that HBO officials were beating down doors trying to hunt down former college athletes who could provide tales of being paid to play. In his Twitter account, former Ohio State basketball player George Reese shared his experiences with the folks from HBO (start from the bottom and work your way up):
You see, here is where this thing gets goofy. HBO was never reporting on a story, they were turning over rocks looking for one. And that’s questionable journalism at best.
When Auburn was nailed by the NCAA in the early 90’s courtesy of Eric Ramsey’s tape recordings, that was a story that was actually reported on. You see, Ramsey lawyered up and went to the press himself. There were names and dates and times and actual dots to be connected.
HBO, on the other hand, put the spotlight on a few bitter guys who could provide nothing along the lines of the proof Ramsey had nearly two decades ago. In essence, they just beat on enough doors until they could find a few Auburn guys to plug into a piece. And that’s supposed to be journalism?
Forget the goofy reporting, in my opinion, Real Sports jumped the shark a few years back when they carted out Jim Cramer to tell the world that Lenny Dykstra (LENNY DYKSTRA?!?!?) was a financial wiz. How much credibility can the show have after airing a piece of shit story like that?
These guys could’ve save a little face this week by actually reporting on a more timely recruiting scandal, like the one involving Willie Lyles. Here you have a street agent who’s getting MULTIPLE schools in hot water, but instead, HBO went with Chaz Ramsey and the Has Beens. Wow.
Speaking of Lyles, here’s former Texas A&M assistant Van Malone broadsiding the dude in a piece of video from ESPN:
I’m not sure how much more hot water that Oregon or LSU will get into over Lyles, because the whole world seems to STILL be more preoccupied with nosing through Auburn’s closet in the aftermath of Cam-gate. Hell, all of Mississippi State’s money men were exposed in that fiasco, but I guess HBO wasn’t interested in chasing those leads. If only they’d have come to me, I could’ve provided contact info: John Bond, email@example.com.