Dr. Saturday

Two Ohio State players dispute legitmacy of SI story

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

First Ray Isaac, then Terrelle Pryor's lawyer and now parents of two Ohio State players are questioning information in a Sports Illustrated article that claimed 28 players -- nine currently on the roster other than the previous six suspended -- traded memorabilia for tattoos.

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The parents of linebacker Storm Klein and defensive end John Simon took to the media expressing their frustrations with the article that basically labeled their kids as NCAA violators.

Klein and Simon's names were mentioned toward the end of the article along with seven others. However, none of those players were among the ones suspended by the NCAA and none of them have been implicated in any way by the media, university or NCAA.

Until the Sports Illustrated story, which cited a protected source under the pseudonym Ellis as the eyewitness to seeing several current and former players performing transactions in the tattoo parlor, Fine Line Ink.

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Both Klein and Simon spent time with Ohio State compliance and NCAA investigators the past couple days, which prompted Klein's parents to start thinking legal action against SI.

"I've raised my son right," Klein's father, Jason, told The Advocate in Newark 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."

When asked about whether his son, who is not a starter, would sell his signature, Klein said his son freely gave his signature away.

"My son gives out his signature free to 200 people after every game. Every time we're around anybody who asks for a signature, he's more than happy to give it out free. Quite frankly, I don't know if it's worth anything; he's not a starter."
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Simon father, who is also named John, had a similar reaction to his son's name appearing in the SI article.

"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," John Simon Sr., told the Columbus Dispatch. "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)."

For Klein and Simon it now becomes a waiting game as the NCAA continues to digest everything it's learned throughout its study of Ohio State. The school also could find reason to add Klein, Simon and others to the list of already suspended players. However, both Jason Klein and John Simon think their sons will be vindicated.

"I can't speak for anybody else," Klein told The Advocate. "I just know what my son has done and know my son.

"His name has been smeared, but I'm very confident he'll come out of it without anything because he's done nothing."

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