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OSU LB’s dad threatens legal action as SI expose’ comes under fire

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A Sports Illustrated expose’ expected to further reveal the seamy underbelly of the Ohio State football program under Jim Tressel did just that, but has also had the unintended consequence of bringing significant heat to the publication on several different fronts.

Speaking to both the Newark Advocate and ESPN.com, the father of linebacker Storm Klein threatened legal action against SI over his son being named in the George Dohrmann (with David Epstein) piece.  In the article, Klein was one of nine current Buckeyes a former employee of a Columbus-area tattoo parlor — who was only willing to speak under the pseudonym “Ellis” — named as having “swap[ped] memorabilia or give[n] autographs for tattoos or money.”

Jason Klein, the LB’s father, vehemently denied his son was involved in any of the activity described, and also some that wasn’t even mentioned by Dohrmann.

“I’ve raised my son right,” the father told the Advocate late Thursday. “My son has no tattoos. He does not have any drug problems. I have every bit of his memorabilia that he’s ever got from Ohio State.”

“My son has no tattoos on his body,” the elder Klein told ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad. “I have all of his memorabilia. What has been written is preposterous. My son has been routinely tested for drugs and has never had a positive test.”

Storm Klein was mentioned in one paragraph in Dohrmann’s article.  Here’s the relevant passage:

Ohio State has conceded that six current players committed an NCAA violation by trading memorabilia for tattoos or cash at Fine Line Ink: Pryor, tackle Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Jordan Whiting. Ellis, who spent time in and around the tattoo parlor for nearly 20 months, says that in addition to those six, he witnessed nine other active players swap memorabilia or give autographs for tattoos or money. Those players were defensive back C.J. Barnett, linebacker Dorian Bell, running back Jaamal Berry, running back Bo DeLande, defensive back Zach Domicone, linebacker Storm Klein, linebacker Etienne Sabino, defensive tackle John Simon and defensive end Nathan Williams. Ohio State declined to make any of its current players available to respond to SI.

As far as I can tell, and I’ve read the piece on at least seven different occasions, there is not a single instance of Dohrmann connecting Klein to drugs, so for the father to offer that “my son has been routinely tested for drugs and has never had a positive test” is mystifying to say the least.  Be that as it may, and if Klein’s father’s claims that all of his son’s memorabilia are in his possession and he isn’t inked are indeed correct — we think the latter might be an easy one to prove/disprove — it would cast serious doubt on the veracity of “Ellis”, which in turn would call into question at least some of the more damaging claims made in the piece.

Klein’s father is not the only parent with a public beef with the piece, however.  The dad of defensive tackle John Simon, mentioned in the same paragraph as Klein, lashed out to the Columbus Dispatch over his son’s inclusion in the article.  While Jason Klein could not say with any degree of certainty that his son had ever been in the tattoo parlor in question, the elder Simon, also named John, stated unequivocally that his defensive lineman son has never been in the joint.

“It’s just more or less disbelief on how something like that can come out, how a reputable publication can write something like that without any proof at all,” the elder Simon said. “He was never there, never even close to the place. He didn’t get his tattoos from there; he got them from a place here in his hometown (Youngstown).”

Unlike the Klein clan, it doesn’t appear any legal avenues will be pursued by members of the Simon family.

In addition to damning accusations made about the OSU football program under Tressel, The Vest’s program at Youngstown State in the nineties was also placed under a great deal of scrutiny by the magazine.  Specifically, star Penguins quarterback Ray Isaac, who was ultimately found to have received cash, a car and a all-pay-no-work job from a YSU trustee on Tressel’s watch.

Dohrmann also explores Tressel’s management between then-quarterback Ray Issac and Mickey Monus, a wealthy school trustee and the founder of the Phar-Mor chain of drug stores, while Tressel was with Youngstown State. According to the report, upward of 13 players were illegally holding jobs at Phar-Mor and Issac, in addition to collecting roughly $10,000 in cash from Monus, was also driving a car provided by Phar-Mor.

“Tressel was aware of the car. At times, Isaac told SI, he asked the coach for help in getting out of traffic tickets. “He’d slot out two hours to meet and say, ‘Ray, I need you to read this book and give me 500 words on why it’s important to be a good student-athlete,’” Isaac says. Afterward the ticket would sometimes disappear, which, if Tressel intervened, would be an NCAA infraction.”

In an interview with 790 The Zone in Atlanta, Isaac was very vehement in stating that Tressel was unaware of what was going on until Monus was indicted on federal charges, with the issues involving Isaac and other YSU players only seeing the light of day when they came out during the trial.

The article is a big lie… I’m very displeased with the article,” Isaac told the radio station.

“Jim Tressel never ever knew anything about our dealings. I kept it secret. To say Coach Tressel knew about this car, or knew about this money, listen, the only way that anyone knew about the money I received from Youngstown State University was Mickey Monus got indicted on $1.1 million worth of embezzlement and fraud. In documents and public record, they found checks that were written to me. … That’s the only way that this situation came to light. … Other than that, no one in the history of the world would have known the Mickey Monus paid me a dime.”

Isaac wasn’t the only person to refer to at least a portion of the piece as a lie.  Now-retired Youngstown State University president Leslie Cochran told the Youngstown Vindicator that a quote attributed to him in the SI article was, in his words, “fabricated“.

“What bothered me was that the family knows. Inside the family, everyone knows what’s going on,” Cochran reportelyd told the magazine in regard to how Tressel ran the football program.

“I never said that,” Cochrane told the Vindicator; “He absolutely said it.  Not sure what more we can say,” Epstein wrote on Twitter when apprised of Cochran’s denial.

Incidentally, Sports Illustrated, Schad wrote in his Klein article, said it stands by its story.

It remains to be seen whether the Klein family or anyone else will take legal action or whether said legal action would actually gain any traction once it were in the system, although it’s entirely possible Dohrmann/Epstein were burned by a source who may or may not have an ax to grind against a former employer.  What’s hard to fathom, however, is that a journalist as reputable and meticulous as Dohrmann would “lie” in such an explosive piece or “fabricate” a quote.

Just a guess, but we’re thinking that we haven’t heard the last of this SI piece on a whole helluva lot of different fronts.

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25 Responses to “OSU LB’s dad threatens legal action as SI expose’ comes under fire”
  1. kbwalters says: Jun 3, 2011 10:57 AM

    “he witnessed nine other active players swap memorabilia or give autographs for tattoos or money. ”

    He still could could have swap an autograph for money, Jason Klein can’t account for autographs or money.

  2. laxer37 says: Jun 3, 2011 10:57 AM

    Funny how player’s dad’s are aware of their son’s whereabouts at all times when they live hundreds of miles away.

    Good luck with the lawsuit. They would have to prove malicious intent which is next to impossible.

  3. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 11:04 AM

    So daddy, it’s not even remotely possible your lil baby boy didn’t accept ANY money?

    I know you raised your precious boy properly and after all, he was having Bible study with Mr. Tressel as well, so he had 2 of the world’s saintliest people guiding him through every step in life.

    Jason Klein is preaching ::
    “My precious boy is PERFECT! I raised him right, and Jim Tressel was watching over him while he was at school. My baby boy would NEVER do such a thing, it is all those other hoodlum kids that are bad seeds.”

    While right behind him

    **And at the same time Storm Klein is behind his back yakking it up with Terrell Pryor, making vee signs behind his head, flashing all his memorbilia money, and posing with the tattoo guys***

    This Klein character needs to do what SOME Buckeye fans need to do and take off his Tressel issued blinders, pull his head out of the sand, and accept reality. CAUSE THE PROGRAM IS CORRUPT AND A FRAUD JUST LIKE STORM KLEIN.

    Yea I said it, go ahead and sue me daddy Klein!

  4. neyvit says: Jun 3, 2011 11:12 AM

    The reason Klein’s father mentioned drugs is that a piece of the article stated that some players (didn’t list specific names) traded their stuff for marijuana.

    And news flash to the angry mob with pitchforks, it’s not on the student athlete to have to prove his innocence when there is absolutely no proof other than hearsay from an unidentified “source.” Like I said before, the media’s (specifically SI and ESPN) speculation and accusatory stories about STUDENTS is disgusting and crosses a line. If there is actual proof (like in the case of the “tat-5″ and Tressel), then go ahead and report it. But to just throw any rumor you hear on the wall and hope it sticks is irresponsible reporting – especially when you are dealing with amateur athletes.

    SI won’t lose any lawsuit, but this is certainly a black-eye for the magazine and George Dohrmann. Embarrassing.

  5. dg0122 says: Jun 3, 2011 11:15 AM

    very surprising that tO$U people are unhappy with the article

  6. murraychadwick says: Jun 3, 2011 11:49 AM

    Ok, so he has no tats and doesn’t do drugs, that’s fine. I’m sure he didn’t trade memorabilia for drugs or tats. His Dad states that he has all of his son’s memorabilia, this could very well be true. However, who is to say the kid didn’t trade a football or gloves or anything for cash? His dad may indeed have all of the kid’s persnoal memorabilia but there is a ton of stuff that he could have traded in that wouldn’t neceessarily be “his”. I’m not saying he did or didn’t but his father’s arguement has no bearing.

  7. dkhhuey says: Jun 3, 2011 11:49 AM

    WOW – who would have thought the ‘big stories’ coming out every hour might be lacking a quality vetting process! Throw anything and everything against the wall and see if any of it sticks! Damn any collateral damage caused by the investigatory laziness of the ‘journalist’. Sadly, our media outlets have all begun to turn into various shades of The National Inquire’! Can’t wait until the homeless guy in front of the tattoo parlor gets a story about how he remembers Pryor and company passing him joints and bottles of cheap liquor on game day.

  8. dryzzt23 says: Jun 3, 2011 11:52 AM

    why is it that people will beleive anything that the media tells them via radio, TV, or print?

    Ever notice that the media ALWAYS cite other media members, and interview the media member who broke the story, not the actually subject of the story. The assumption they make is that the media should know everything about everyone and are therefore entitled to private information no matter what the means…….unless of course the story could be about another fellow media member – then they would sit on the story b/c they would never want to compromise their fellow media brethren

  9. edgy and imtalking are one in the same says: Jun 3, 2011 12:04 PM

    I send a thank you to the judges, juries, and executioners on this website

    I am glad that you have decided that he is instantly guilty because a druggie(who is afraid to show his identity) has decided to say people committed these acts

    hey if I am strung out on meth and go by an anonymous nickname and say that Les Miles pays recruits, does that mean we get to have an LSU investigation?

  10. rjsjr says: Jun 3, 2011 12:13 PM

    A father defending his son? Never. The only good thing about this guy and Simon’s dad speaking up is it reminds the world that the sources in this story are drug addicts, convicts and the anonymous. Would a jury trust every word a convict says on the stand? Hopefully not. Yet practically everyone who has waited for OSU to slip up somehow feels these sources are good enough for the article to be accepted as fact. And I am not some OSU homer, if there is veracity to the claims in this article, clean house in the football program and sanction to your heart’s content. But I do think the NCAA will have trouble accepting all these claims of misdeeds considering who is doing the claiming.

  11. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 12:39 PM

    To all those that are crying about “consider the source” and “you are going to believe a convict”

    Not everyone is a liar like Jim Tressel

    I will believe what the convict or drug addict says about the program over ANYTHING Jim Tressel says.

  12. swcoach says: Jun 3, 2011 12:50 PM

    I think someone’s father would know if their son has a tattoo or not. I highly doubt they would take legal action if they were lieing. But I guess haters need some ammunition for their smart alec posts.

    Oh, and by the way, after the NCAA did their investigation yesterday about all the SI stuff, they have already found almost everything to be false. I’m sure SI won’t put that on the cover and write a story on how they messed up.

    You write a story about how someone lies, then lie yourself? Way to be hypocritical SI.

  13. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 12:51 PM

    Jason Klein sounds just like Craig James

  14. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 12:54 PM

    @swcoach

    Are you saying the NCAA did an investigation, completed it, and proved almost everything false about the SI story that just came out a few days ago ?

    Now that is almost as fast an investigation as the schools “compliance officer” did on the automobiles-for-play program!!!!!

    Thanks for the info……….Mr. Gee

  15. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 12:57 PM

    The NCAA did an investigation and proved everything false in less than a week???

    LMAO!

    Yea, ok, I believe you.

  16. stoutfiles says: Jun 3, 2011 12:58 PM

    Does the dad go everywhere with his son? No? Then how the he’ll can be 100% sure what his son did and didn’t do?

    So what if he doesn’t have a tattoo, trading an autograph for cash doesn’t leave a mark on your body.

  17. huskerguy says: Jun 3, 2011 12:59 PM

    @myballsmyrules

    HA HA HA!~

    That is exactly what I was thinking. Heck, they aren’t even done investigating Vest and there is a ton of evidence.

  18. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Jun 3, 2011 1:13 PM

    How does papa know for certain his son has zero tattoos? Does he shower with his boy? Are there weekly inspections? Or is he simply taking his sons word for it, because college students would NEVER lie to their parents.

    @ swcoach – my brother kept his first 3 tattoos hidden from our parents for 6 years, they are not that hard to hide if they are not on your arm or neck.

    And for those of you who are bashing “Ellis” from the SI article may I point out one glitch in the argument I have noticed. I have seen on a few of the articles now that this Ellis should not believed because he is a career criminal. To support this fact the commenters point to “Ellis’s” boss who refutes the claim that Ellis worked there for the period of time he claims. So, you are taking the word of Eddie Rife, tatto boss, against the word of “Ellis”.

    Just to clarify, this is the same Ed Rife who has just been indicted on federal drug charges? Surely he is a man of honor and would only teel the truth.

  19. macbull says: Jun 3, 2011 1:45 PM

    HEY JOHN…reading the SI story, tell me, is that Dohrmann story about Tressel or is it about the lack of creditability of Dohrmann’s sources, that he is attempting to explain away?

    I hope Klein’s dad gets a chunk of cash out of Dohrmann and SI for running with a story that has the creditability of a story sourced to a convicted felon/drug user who goes by an alias…

    …OH WAIT, THAT IS WHAT DOHRMANN AND SPORTS ILLUSTRATED DID.

    Honestly, I have never seen a story sourced from such an untrustworthy group of sources. It is more than fair that readers question the SI agenda behind such a poorly sourced piece of writing.

    The only recourse a player has to defend themselves against the slob journalism exhibited by Dohrmann and SI, is to hire the best lawyer and sue the hell out of them.

  20. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 2:01 PM

    @macbull

    It’s not working Gordon. Go back and straighten up that bowtie and try again.

  21. myballsmyrules says: Jun 3, 2011 2:08 PM

    Macbull said:

    “Honestly, I have never seen a story sourced from such an untrustworthy group of sources.”

    You must mean when Gene Smith said “I am convinced these are just a couple of isolated instances”
    OR WHEN
    the “compliance officer” said he investigated the “car-for-play” issue and found no wrongdoing

    OR WHEN
    Tressel lied multiple times.

    Nice try Gordon Gee, but you and your group of corrupt crooks are the “untrustworthy group of sources”

  22. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Jun 3, 2011 2:23 PM

    @ macbull

    Creditability?

    Is that you W?

  23. stairwayto7 says: Jun 3, 2011 4:08 PM

    Come on Buckeye fan, your team got caught and is going down hard and now everyone will turn on eveyone ! Enjoy your next 5 years of 5-7 wins !

  24. imneverwrong says: Jun 3, 2011 6:23 PM

    stairwayto7,

    5-7 wins? You are nuts, the way the NCAA lets schools play 5-7 cupcakes, OSU will have that many easily.

    Some people just like to hate. So a dad is standing up for his son and now you are saying that he shouldn’t do that? So if someone writes something bad about you, or your family, and it goes out to Millions and hurts their image and possible future, you should just say “Welp, nothing I can do, guess it is true.”

  25. edgy is under THEE Thumb! says: Jun 4, 2011 10:05 AM

    noballsnonuts sounds like a new one of 80 CFT IDs representing the same person – “edgy”.

    IamAdumbassTrollingCFTwhileDreaming OfAgayMustangDude have gone missing and have been replaced by yet another ID for edgy to hide behind and spew his idiot comments then claim that it wasn’t him.

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