Friday, April 5, 2013
'E:60' -- Coming Down, on Auburn football
By Edward Aschoff
More controversy continues to swirl around Auburn's 2010 national championship team.
The first hits came from a story reported by former New York Times and Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts, who stated that Auburn players' grades were changed in order to secure eligibility, money was offered to potential NFL draft picks so they would return for their senior seasons and NCAA recruiting rules were violated under former coach Gene Chizik.
While former players, including ones quoted in Roberts' report, quickly denied any such wrongdoing at Auburn, more negativity came when a six-month investigation conducted by ESPN the Magazine and "E:60" revealed that a dozen players, including star running back, Michael Dyer, failed tests for synthetic marijuana -- or spice.
Here's part of the story that will appear in ESPN The Magazine's April 29 NFL draft Issue, and will air on the season-premiere of "E:60" on April 23:
MICHAEL DYER waves the smoke out of his eyes and tries to focus on the question: Can we have your gun?
On one side of him, an Auburn teammate is nodding off, too sick and tired from his high to stay awake. Another teammate is holding his stomach and retching while his brain burns.
Dyer, a 20-year-old running back coming off a freshman All-American season in 2010, is celebrating spring break at a friend's apartment, drinking beer and smoking chemically coated leaves that are sold in gas stations under the name Spice. But the mood turns serious when fellow freshman teammate Shaun Kitchens asks: "Man, let me use your strap. We need to go hit a lick."
The "strap" is a .45-caliber handgun with a laser sight stashed beneath the couch in Dyer's off-campus apartment. But Dyer, according to records of his subsequent interview with police, isn't interested in committing a robbery on this night, or any night. Not when he's just two months removed from single-handedly marching Auburn down the football field in the final seconds of the 2011 BCS title game, the school's first national championship since 1957. Not when two more seasons stand between him and a first-round spot in the 2013 NFL draft.