Sports Illustrated senior writer Thayer Evans responded to a growing number of critics Friday in his first public appearance since an expose of Oklahoma State's football program hit the Internet earlier this week.
In the interview, conducted by SI personality Maggie Gray, Evans stood by "The Dirty Game," a five-part series Evans co-wrote depicting alleged improprieties by the upstart Cowboys.
SPECIAL SECTION: Analysis, reaction from former players and Oklahoma State, video, photos and links to the SI reports can be found at www.kjrh.com/osureport.
"Look, I worked with great editors in this: BJ Schecter, John Wertheim, Pultizer Prize Award winner George Dohrmann," he said. "I mean we took the time to go through and be thorough in this."
MORE: Evans' articles at Sports Illustrated (http://bit.ly/Evanshistory)
The SI writer went further in defense of the articles, claiming to have audio recorded "60 some-odd interviews" for the story. It's not clear if the recordings will be made available.
Evans also responded to claims he has a vendetta against OSU, calling the accusation "laughable."
"My parents actually attended Oklahoma State. The majority of the people on my mother's side of the family are Oklahoma State graduates," he told Gray. "My family are from places like Coyle, Cushing, Perkins -- all these little communities around Stillwater."
Evans and Sports Illustrated received immediate backlash from the sports world, but in a unique twist, several sports journalists led the charge to debunk the writer's credibility. Most notably, ESPN's Jason Whitlock took to the Oklahoma City Sports Animal's airwaves on Monday, only hours after the investigation debuted.
"He's simpleminded. He's a hack that can't write," Whitlock said of Evans, a former colleague.
The Internet hasn't been kind either. Headlines like "Sports Illustrated's Oklahoma State investigation is falling apart" and "4 more Oklahoma State players interviewed by SI slam Thayer Evans" dot an Evans' Google search.
Despite the vitriol, Evans said Friday he expected all that's come his way, especially from Cowboy fans, but asked that the report be read in its entirety before conclusions be made.
OPINION: 'Don't hate the author, hate the system' (http://bit.ly/sicriticism)
The fifth and final installment is scheduled for Tuesday. Evans called the piece, titled "The Fallout" the most important in the series.
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