Pryor’s attorney hints at legal action, makes NCAA-slavery connection

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And, yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that this will not end well in the comments section below the post, but please attempt to behave with some semblance of maturity.

In an interview Thursday on Sirius/XM’s “Jason & The GM” show — thanks to the individual from the station responsible for the emailed transcript, by the way — the attorney for now-former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor addressed a variety of topics tossed at him by the show’s hosts, Jason Horowitz and ex-New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips.

In addition to a self-clearing of his client over the potential issues regarding vehicles driven/purchased by Pryor and that are the subject of a current NCAA investigation — “There is nothing, I don’t believe there is ever anything that is going to be NCAA-related violations on the use of cars by Terrelle… So that issue is off the table” — lawyer Larry James also blasted a report that surfaced on Outside the Lines earlier in the week.

In the report that appeared on ESPN.com, a former friend of Pryor’s claimed that the QB had received between $20,000 and $40,000 from freelance photographer Dennis Talbott in exchange for his signature on memorabilia.  According to James, Talbott is too small-time to be involved in something of that magnitude.  And that his client may pursue legal action against OTL at some point in the future.

“The first time this allegation of Dennis Talbott and the $20,000 to $40,000 came up was [on ESPN’s] Outside the Lines.  I know Dennis Talbott and I don’t mean to belittle Dennis Talbott but Dennis Talbott is not a deep-pocket player.  This is out of his league, he doesn’t have that kind of cash.  He is not one of those dealers that one would say ‘Dennis has the ability to negotiate the buying and selling of memorabilia that Terrelle has signed.’  No, Dennis was a part-time photographer that knew a lot of the players, guy around town, most of us knew him.  He was basically harmless, he is no big deal, and he definitely did not have the wherewithal to do that kind of stuff.  And that story is just bogus.

the [Outside the Lines] story is close to being reckless and malice and over the line.  And that’s something that Terrelle, at the appropriate time, may look at once he gets in a position to say, ‘I have the wherewithal to bring that lawsuit.'”

While ESPN could (but probably won’t) face legal action, Sports Illustrated definitely won’t suffer the same fate, at least at James’ hand.  The magazine published an expose’ a couple of weeks ago — which subsequently came under fire itself — that, among other things, accused nine current members of the football program of having received impermissible benefits from a Columbus tattoo parlor.  Despite the fact that James, who represents the nine mentioned in the piece, very strongly claims all of the players mentioned in the SI piece “will be cleared”, the magazine will be allowed to slide on their printed accusations.

“Well, the Sports Illustrated article with the nine athletes is a different story from this Outside the Lines.  I’m going to diverge on you because those allegations in Sports Illustrated by those new nine players, they will be cleared.  They will be cleared, okay?  Now, the thing about it, if someone makes the accusation that one of the student-athletes had visited the tattoo parlor and that athlete had tattoos, then that athlete must have gotten a free tattoo, a discounted tattoo, or sold his memorabilia.  So, like the movie, Absence of Malice, Sports Illustrated will probably get away with that.  They can probably get a free ride.  So it would be good money after bad and wasted time and resources.”

For the record, the father of linebacker Storm Klein, one of the new nine players mentioned in the SI article, has threatened legal action against the publication.

Not only did James intimate that a lawsuit could be filed against ESPN/OTL, the attorney also hinted that the NCAA itself could be in his legal crosshairs at some point in the future.  In the following exchange, James blistered the “archaic, draconian” NCAA as an association akin to slavery.

Phillips: “Does Terrelle have any sort of anger or resentment he still holds against coach and the school?”

James: “No, not at all.  Not at all.  I think he understands that he made a mistake that he’s held accountable for.  He wishes he had some things to do over.  Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are they are still on the books.  You know, they had slavery for all those years.  Those rules are still on the books and courts uphold them so until we bring the right lawsuit to go after the NCAA on some of these issues, they stand.”

Horowitz: “And is that something you’re currently working on?”

James: “I am definitely reviewing it.”

Phillips: “Which issues are the ones that you think are the most closely related to slavery?  That connection seemed odd to me.”

James: “Well, you’ve got a captured system here in college football.  It’s mandated, it’s dictated.  The student-athletes have no rights, they have no relief.  It’s an archaic, draconian process by which you are basically financed for about nine and a half months of your school year and then you’re to find the money for whatever else is left [of] your expenses.  You live in basically poverty through that time period and you’re making a million dollars for institutions.”

Of course, I believe that the current NCAA “slave owners” actually encourage student-athletes to continue to learn to read and write and better themselves academically, but I guess it’s easier to shock and rile up the media masses by tossing out a ‘slavery” bomb than actually have some type of rational discourse on the subject.  There are some very real issues about the way the NCAA conducts its business that should be discussed, but lobbing that kind of inflammatory comparison into the mix does nothing to further the discussion.  In fact, it actually damages what is becoming more and more a very credible and compelling argument, that, given the amount of money flowing into conference coffers and then to the universities, something needs to be done about closing the gap between a scholarship and the actual cost of attending school.

Slavery?  Please.  To each his own, though, I guess.