Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 13, 2013

Johnson: SI report is ‘bogus’

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

Victor Johnson isn’t afraid to admit his backstory. The one-time Oklahoma State Cowboy was arrested on a complaint of obstructing an OSU police officer, and he was also charged with possession of marijuana.

It’s accessible to anyone, just look it up, Johnson says.

“I was my own [worst enemy],” Johnson said. “It’s everywhere, anyone can look it up. How could I say I blame (Oklahoma State)?”

Johnson didn’t point fingers. He accepted his undoing in Stillwater before eventually landing on his feet at Northeastern State University.

“I violated one of their rules — one of their team rules — so I had to leave,” said Johnson, a Waco, Texas, native who had 27 tackles in nine games for the Cowboys in 2009. “That was the end of it.”

In a story released by Sports Illustrated on Thursday, Johnson — who missed playing time because of a knee injury — was used as an example to expose the inconsistencies in Oklahoma State’s drug policy. In the report, Johnson was quoted as saying, “If I didn’t get hurt, I probably could have p—ssed dirty again and they would have been like, ‘just don’t do it.’ But when I got hurt it was a whole different [story]. They were just going to find a way to get me off the team.”

When told of the quote in the widely-known national sports publication, Johnson told the Tahlequah Daily Press, “I never said that. I told them, ‘I p—ssed dirty. That’s why I left.’”

Johnson — now a senior safety for the RiverHawks — has been identified as one of 64 former OSU players to come forward to describe the culture surrounding the Oklahoma State football program. However, after reading the first two articles — the first about players being paid for their performances, the second about academic fraud — Johnson attacked the credibility of the pieces.

“It’s a bogus series,” Johnson said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Press on Thursday. “I’m ready to get to the bottom of all of this stuff. I feel like (writer Thayer Evans) is trying to get rich off this article.”

Johnson said he was led to believe that Evans wanted to catch up with him and see how his career was panning out after his days at Oklahoma State.

“I don’t know how he got my number, but somehow he got it from someone in Stillwater,” Johnson said. “He called me out of nowhere and acted like he was going to do a story over me. He was like, ‘I want to catch up with you and see how everything is going.’”

A Northeastern State official confirmed that Evans circumvented the system and set up an interview without getting permission from the university.

“When I left OSU, I had got a new number, so I feel like it was someone working within the athletic department that gave him my number,” Johnson said. “...I was thinking, ‘OK, maybe he wants to do a good story about how I’m coming back and how I’m coming off my knee injury.’”

Johnson described the interview as normal before Evans started asking “bogus questions.”

In SI’s piece about academic fraud, it was reported that former OSU standout Dez Bryant did not attend class and that tutors did the majority of his coursework. Johnson was quoted as saying, “You didn’t have no choice but to laugh at it.”

Johnson said he did laugh during the interview — but it was over the context of the question about Bryant and his academic achievements.

“I never have said anything about Dez; I laughed at (Evans),” Johnson said. “...A lot of folks that know me, they know I’d never say anything bad about them, about Dez, about the school or anything. I’ve paid my price.”

Since joining the RiverHawks in 2011, Johnson has been a model citizen, NSU head coach Kenny Evans said.

“Victor Johnson has done everything we’ve asked him to since he’s been here,” Evans said. “He’s never been a problem. He has done everything that we enforce here.

“Since the day he’s been here, he’s never said one thing about any of the things that are being brought up at Oklahoma State. As far as I’m concerned, those things are not true.”

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