The Ohio State football program was the subject of an article this week in Sports Illustrated raising new allegations of wrong-doing by Buckeye players. Nine new names were listed in addition to the five players already suspended by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.
Thursday evening, Jason Klein, father of Buckeye linebacker Storm Klein, issued a strong denial that his son participated in any wrong-doing, and announced he is pursuing legal action against Sports Illustrated for the article written by George Dohrmann.
Friday morning, John Simon Sr. issued a statement proclaiming the innocence of his son, Johnny, once again calling into question the accuracy of Dohrmann's piece.
"Please understand the only reason you are hearing from family members of Ohio State players is because the players are forbidden from speaking out on their own behalf," the elder Simon stated. "I would much rather be just a dad behind the scenes supporting our Buckeyes."
"The only thing the Sports Illustrated article got right about Johnny was the spelling of his name," he continued. "Other than that, NOTHING was accurate. He has NEVER been to that tattoo parlor. He has NEVER sold or traded any of his memorabilia. I have ALL the awards he has earned, including rings, jerseys, and anything else in question. In fact, I have everything he has been awarded since the days he played t-ball as a youngster."
"He has never taken drugs, nor ever failed any type of drug test," he continued. "He does have a few tattoos, but they were received from a local shop in Hubbard (OH). As far as what we are going to do going forward, we are certainly working on that. In the short term, we are looking to clear his name and let him do what he loves to do: Play Buckeye Football. I want to thank everyone for all the fantastic support we have received in the past few days."
The younger Simon will be a junior defensive tackle for Ohio State in 2011, and has been a strong performer since breaking into the defensive line rotation as a freshman, and was a starter as a sophomore last season.
Scout.com will continue to track the Ohio State situation, and will update as circumstances warrant.