A Collaboration of Truth


We all know what is going to air on HBO in the next hour, so I’ll spare you the details. On a positive note, I’m sure you’ve seen the multiple players that have come out and refuted what is being claimed by what I’m calling the “HBO Four” (Stanley “I ran out of money” McClover, Chaz “I sued McDonald’s for burning my tongue on their hot coffee” Ramsey, Troy “I really went to Auburn to learn how to optimize cell phone technology” Reddick, and Raven “I never touched the field” Gray.

It’s well known that every single one of these guys left Auburn on not so good terms, and in the most overused phrase of the day, have an axe to grind with the Auburn program. What is their reasoning for doing this? Why now? What do they have to gain? Are they the only ones?

It was good to see a few former players step up and tell their side. And quite frankly, the guys who spoke up would have had more business getting paid than the guys who are claiming that they were.

Earlier today, Lee Ziemba tweeted these little nuggets of truth:

Funny HBO story just broke. Couple former players lying to bring our past season down. Keep dreaming fellas. Ain’t nothing gonna

I started 52 games for auburn, played on a 14-0 national championship team…and saw no money from any boosters or the team itself

Was recruited by the same folks as the hbo star bums, walked out the same locker room doors as them after games…never a dime

I know the two players on this I played with both had bad divorces w/ auburn. Definitely trying to get at us with lies

His teammate, Ryan Pugh expressed that same sentiment with these tweets:

These guys goin on HBO and tryin to sneak us

We all walked out of the same locker room and had the same coaches yet never had money given to us. It’s a shame what people will say

I emailed/tweeted/google chatted with a few other guys who all played during the time of these supposed payments. Here’s what they said about the whole situation.

– Kody Bliss, Punter (2003-06)

1. What were your first thoughts when you initially heard about Stanley talking with HBO (before last night)?

I want to say that I had heard rumblings of HBO reaching out to former players about a month ago. It seems that they’ve tried to find anyone that might have an axe to grind

2. So when you heard what Stanley was originally reported as saying, that he got paid by an assistant, did any of that ring a bell or make sense?

I was there for four years and never saw anything that shouldn’t be happening. No pay for play. No debit card slush funds. None of the crap that you read online.

3. You tweeted that HBO went after two of the dumbest people you’ve ever met…care to elaborate?

I think you can infer the details… The fact that I don’t know who one of the guys is that HBO got for this interview shows you the lengths that they went to to try to make this story happen. Chaz was a natural pick because he blames the school for him messing up his back. I dealt with the same trainers and never had a problem.

4. What was the overall team feeling about that?

I wasn’t there when his stuff was going on so I don’t know too much. I do know that its tough when a sport is taken away from you against your will… I tore my quad in a workout with the Eagles my second year out of college and it never healed right. It was a tough time. You spend you’re whole life up until that point training for one thing and then it’s gone.

5. Do you have any more examples, like you tweeted Stanley borrowing your truck, that would prove otherwise about any of them having extra money?

I remember when we were freshmen living at Sewell Hall. Since the dining room wasn’t open on weekends we would get a stipend kind of thing for $27 to eat off of. One week that didn’t go through and Stanley along with the rest of us had to scavenge for cheap food.

Also, when we were freshmen some of the top players complained about their friends at other schools getting cash and cars to sign and getting nothing to go to AU.

6. What do these guys have to gain from saying they were paid?

The only one that makes sense about dogging Auburn is Chaz because he blames Auburn for his situation… Maybe Raven because I have no clue who he is. But Reddick and Stanley have to be getting something. Monetary or what have you.

– Jeris McIntyre, Wide Receiver (2000-03)

1. Were you ever given any money by coaches, boosters, or people standing outside the stadium after the games while you were at Auburn?

No never. Never even heard of anything like that while I was at Auburn so that is all new to me. After the game we sign autographs, took pictures, and spent time with our family.

2. What is your response to the story that HBO is doing tonight?

I really don’t even have a response to all this craziness.

– Karibi Dede, Linebacker (2002-05)

1. Were you ever given any money by coaches, boosters, or people standing outside the stadium after the games while you were at Auburn?

No.

2. Were you aware of any other players being given money by coaches, boosters, or people standing outside the stadium after the games while you were at Auburn?

No. Really only family waits out there. Even fans respect that immediate area and give you that time with your family. After you get further away, then the fans are closer, but they kinda help us out with event staff to give us room to see our families.

3. What is your response to the story that HBO is doing tonight?

I don’t know Chaz or Raven, I can care less about what they say. I know Stanley and Troy. Troy is my dog. I’m not a judgmental person. I may joke on twitter, but maybe one day in life I will just ask Troy straight up. Stanley is my homie too, but I cant say I was so close enough to him that I would know why or what his thought process in this was, so I may never ask and just let it be what it is.

I don’t have any personal hard feelings towards them. I just hate that all this is coming up because I know what I did at Auburn and it was all about hard work and it’s just messed up. True or false it just blows my mind that anyone would stain something I put a significant part of my life into. Everyone is looking for what’s motivating those guys. I am and I’m not. It’s just not that big of a deal to me.

4. I’ll ask again, did you know anything about any of these players or other players being paid while at Auburn?

Me, Troy, and my brother hung out the whole time at the bowl game in Orlando. Shoot, I hung out with Troy all the time. I say there’s no way in hell he got money. But I cant speak for another person. Only Troy and whoever he implicated and God know, and I’m not one to judge.

Stanley didn’t ever do anything that would have shown me he had money, but again only those guys and the guys implicated know.

5. Do you have any examples that would prove that they wouldn’t have any more money than any other guys on the team?

No, I mean those guys borrowed money from other guys on the team just like every guy did. We were college kids, we were all broke. They never volunteered to pick up any tabs or nothing special, no fancy jewelry or cars so I mean we were all just college kids.

6. It seems like all of these guys have some sort of problem with Auburn or how they have directed their lives after Auburn. Do you think this is why they would be making those claims? They are looking for someone else to blame?

Well, I’m not going to speak on that other than to say that there are players that come through every school, some graduate, some don’t, some leave believing in the creed and some are like “screw that place.” I’m not saying that this is the motivation, I’m just saying that’s how it is.

7. It seems that there may be some jealousy among these former players. Do you think they resent that Auburn won a National Championship this year, and they want to bring them down because they have some problem with their history with the program?

Hell no. Those guys bailed. They could give a damn what auburn did or didn’t do. I mean at the end of the day I’ll have to see the program, but they ain’t jealous. Bitter or disgruntled with former coaches, I have no idea, but I would be surprised if they spent all that much time watching AU play.

8. Any last thoughts on these guys, this story, or any of the other negative stories thrown at Auburn this year? Do you feel any shame for going to Auburn if any of these claims are in any way true?

I’d never feel shame for getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees while on a football scholarship. Do all these stories take away from what I’ve always known auburn to be about, sure. But this is big time college football, it doesn’t come without controversy. I hope that those guys are okay in life and that when all this is over they move on. I’m sure Auburn will.

– Quentin Groves, Defensive End (2003-07)

Groves went on WJOX today and had this to say. When I asked him about this whole situation, Groves simply told me this:

I was never given money, I never saw a coach give a player money… I just think they are bitter at the school for the choices they made in life.

We’ll see what happens, but I definitely trust these types of guys over those that are just mad at how their lives turned out.