Pryor's lawyer: autograph claims 'bogus'
Pryor announced Tuesday he would forgo his senior season, shortly before ESPN aired the report in which a former friend of Pryor — with his face hidden from view — claimed that Pryor earned between $20,000 and $40,000 for autographing items while at Ohio State.
Pryor's attorney, Larry James, also mentioned a possible lawsuit against ESPN in an interview on SiriusXM's "Jason and the GM" show.
James said the report was close to being reckless and malicious, adding Pryor may pursue legal action "once he gets in the position to have the wherewithal to bring that lawsuit."
The ESPN "Outside the Lines" report alleged that Pryor worked with a local freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott, who paid him $500-$1,000 per autographed item. Talbott has denied the allegation, with James contending Talbot did not have the financial means for such an operation.
"I know Dennis Talbott," James said. "I don't mean to belittle Dennis Talbott but Dennis Talbott is not a deep-pockets player. This is out of his league. He does not have this kind of cash.
"Dennis was a part-time photographer who knew a lot of players. He was known around town. He is harmless. He definitely did not have that kind of wherewithal to do that kind of stuff and that story is just bogus."
James also ranted against the "draconian" NCAA system, labeling it a form of "slavery."
"You've got a captured system here in college football. The student-athletes have no rights. They have no relief. It's an archaic, draconian process by which you are basically financed for about nine-and-a-half months of your school year and then you're to find the money for whatever else is left. You live in basically poverty throughout that period and you're making a million dollars for institutions."
James said Pryor is not interested in playing in the Canadian Football League, but will seek to be eligible for the NFL Supplemental Draft, which could be held sometime next month despite the lockout, according to ESPN.
Pryor had been suspended for the first five games of next season, along with four other Buckeyes, for allegedly exchanging memorabilia for cash and tattoos at a Columbus tattoo shop.
The scandal led to the resignation of coach Jim Tressel on May 30, months after he admitted he was told his players had possibly violated NCAA rules and did not notify the university or the NCAA.
The NCAA will hold a hearing on the allegations August 12.