Former OSU Player Tatum Bell Says SI's OSU Series Is 'Slander'

Thursday, September 12th 2013, 10:29 pm
By: Tess Maune

One of the biggest stars named in the Sports Illustrated series on alleged corruption in the Oklahoma State University football program is joining those speaking out.

Tatum Bell played for OSU for three seasons before being drafted to the NFL. His name has been used in every installment of the SI series on OSU.

Bell said he didn't know anything about the article until his Twitter feed was flooded with questions on Tuesday.

He said the five-part article is a defamation of his character and said it was a waste of time and journalism.

Wearing his college colors, Bell refuted the many allegations made against him by former teammates.

"Everybody keep bringing my name up--I was the cleanest, most faithfulest cat to Oklahoma State," Bell said.

So far, the star running back has been accused of accepting money from boosters, cheating to pass classes, and in the latest article, Sports Illustrated said Bell admitted to smoking marijuana while playing for OSU.

"They said I was in the weed circle or the circle or whatever it was called. Man, I never failed a drug test in my life, I don't even know what circle they [sic] talking about. I wasn't part of it, I didn't even know they had it," Bell said. "I didn't have nothing to do with nothing illegal going on. I grinded and worked hard for everything I got and that's how I want to leave it."

Bell says sports reporter Thayer Evans showed up at his Denver apartment a few months ago after church.

"He started just throwing Oklahoma State under the bus, and no I didn't get money and no I wasn't involved in no drugs. He asked, was I selling drugs, he asked were girls sleeping with guys, he asked all the stuff that's coming out, and I told him no, all that stuff was false," Bell said. "And then I said, 'Man, I'm done talking to you and that was it.'"

Sports Illustrated said Evans identified himself before the interview, but Bell said that's not true.

"Until I saw the pictures of him, I'm like, 'Oh, okay, this is the guy.' And that's why, at first, I was saying, 'No I never talked to nobody with Sports Illustrated,' because he never identified himself or nothing, I didn't have a clue who he was," Bell said.

Now, he said he plans to take legal action against the magazine.

"I'm a high school football coach, I need to keep my name clean. I got a good reputation with the school, I want to keep my relationship with them, so this is definitely slander to my name," Bell said.

Sports Illustrated claims to have recorded all of the interviews, but the magazine told us Thursday night it has no plans of releasing those tapes. A member of the magazine's media department said that the magazine stands by its reporting.