Oklahoma State University Alum Sues Sports Illustrated Over ‘Dirty Game’ Series

Source: Murphy Mitchell/Tulsa World

STILLWATER — A Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative who reportedly paid illegal benefits to Oklahoma State University football players has sued Time Inc. over his portrayal in the Sports Illustrated series “The Dirty Game.”

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Payne County District Court by John Talley lists Sports Illustrated Magazine, along with employees George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans, as defendants.

Talley is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 that he claims are a result of the September 2013 Sports Illustrated investigative series into the OSU football program. According to the suit, Talley alleges that in the course of publishing the five-part story, Sports Illustrated made particular, specific and malicious allegations against him and portrayed him in a false light as a booster who performed illegal activities.

The suit claims Sports Illustrated painted Talley as an overzealous booster who made systematic improper financial contributions to OSU’s football players and grossly overpaid them for jobs they did or compensated them for jobs they didn’t do.

Among the claims the suit argues are false is that Talley paid former OSU football player Brad Girtman $1,500 to $2,000 every two weeks during one summer to work on Talley’s ranch.

The suit also puts into question whether Sports Illustrated accurately reported Seymore Shaw’s claim that Talley “set up speaking gigs for players, paying $100 for a 15-20-minute talk” and that an athlete “might get more depending on who … they were.”

Also included in the suit are allegations that Sports Illustrated intentionally published false claims by Fath’ Carter that Talley paid him money to “help shoe horses.”

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