DOWN AND DIRTY: The Life and Crimes of Oklahoma Football by Charles & Allan Sonnenschein Thompson

DOWN AND DIRTY: The Life and Crimes of Oklahoma Football

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KIRKUS REVIEW

During a three-week period in January 1989, three members of the Univ. of Oklahoma football team were arrested for a gang rape in a dormitory room, another for shooting a teammate during a dispute over a haircut, and yet another, the chief author of this finger-pointing apologia, for dealing cocaine. With the aid of Sonnenschein, an editor at Penthouse. Thompson contends that administrators and staff at OU--in particular, head coach Barry Switzer--""looked the other way"" and fostered an atmosphere of permissiveness that led to the crimes. In fact, says Thompson, ""the coaches knew"" about the drugs, liquor, guns, and sexual activities but were concerned only with keeping things quiet, with winning football games. When police informed Switzer in the summer of 1988 that star quarterback Thompson was involved in drugs, Switzer's reaction, says Thompson, was to protect himself and quietly arrange a two-week session for Thompson at a drug rehabilitation center--with release scheduled just in time for the start of football practice. Switzer, who later resigned, failed to report Thompson's drug use to the NCAA as required--not, according to Thompson, out of concern for the youth, but to protect his own reputation. Later on, the ""issues were not the shooting and the rape, but can we save Barry Switzer?"" As Thompson writes about the special treatment provided football players at OU--cars, women, money, and expensive toys--he notes that ""If I gave my best on Owen Field, I was allowed to do my worst off it."" A volatile, the-devil-made-me-do-it, self-serving work.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1990
Publisher: Carroll & Graf