A man's reputation is a hard thing to rebuild if it's torn down. The Sports Illustrated five-part series "The Dirty Game" puts in question the character of OSU supporter John Talley, but for most in Stillwater and for those who know him, Mr. Talley's integrity is still in tact.
"Without any second thought. This guy is pure gold." said former state director of Oklahoma's Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Bowman knows John Talley very well, he hired him to be an FCA area director. He says there is no way his friend has done what Sports Illustrated claims.
"When I read the article in Sports Illustrated. I said this is unfair. Totally unfair." Bowman added, "He's been working for the FCA twenty years plus doing positive things and there is nobody that knows John Talley that would question anything."
The article makes Talley out to be a booster who likes to throw money around. Here's a portion of Part 1 of the series "The Money" and what it suggests John Talley did wrong.
John Talley, an area director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, had been close to the football program since at least 2002, when his son, Saul, was a walk-on long snapper. "John Talley was the hot name around campus," Johnson says. "If you needed a job, call John Talley."
Carter, Girtman, Johnson and Thomas Wright each say that Talley either grossly overpaid them for jobs they did or compensated them for jobs they didn't do. They allege that numerous other players benefited from Talley's generosity too. Girtman says Talley paid him $1,500 to $2,000 every two weeks during one summer to work on his horse ranch, far more than the job was worth. Talley could also be counted on to set up speaking gigs for players, paying $100 for a 15- to 20-minute talk. "You might get more depending on who you were," says Shaw. Carter says he and a few other players were once paid by Talley to help shoe horses. Asked if the players did the work, Carter says, "Are you kidding? Most of us hadn't even seen a horse before."
Several Cowboys say that's just not true. Cooper Bassett who player for Oklahoma State from 2009-2012 tweeted, "Who ever heard of John Talley not making you work hard for every dime? Never sweat so much."
OSU defensive back Andrew McGee (2009-2010) wrote on twitter, "John Talley did nothing but good in the community and he did it the right way. SI is allowing these fools to throw dirt on his name."
Jamie Blatnick, a former Cowboy defensive lineman from 2008-2011 tweeted this about Talley, "I worked for John Talley for four-years and he is the most honest man I've been blessed to work with. True blue collar, hard working Christian."
Support for Talley has been overwhelming.
"Mr. Talley was nothing but a saint to the enter program." Former OSU defensive tackle (1997-2000) Zac Akin said, "I can't remember him ever being around the locker room on game day and stuff, but I do remember him on Wednesday's doing the FCA deal. I went to his house several times as well. He was nothing but a good man and my heart goes out to him and his family for everything they've been dragged through to this point."
Chuck Bowman said he spoke with Talley Tuesday night and that he's in good spirits and he's determined to not allow these allegations to keep him from being a positive influence for the youth of Stillwater.
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