Remember the article I wrote three weeks ago pointing out that John Blake was going be at the center of the Marvin Austin scandal despite the fact that l'affaire Marvin Austin appeared on the surface to be nothing more than the standard agent hijinks plaguing several schools in the SEC and ACC?
Three sources close to an NCAA probe into the University of North Carolina football program told Yahoo! Sports that investigators are focusing on ties between assistant coach John Blake and prominent NFL agent Gary Wichard.
The comments section of my first piece, featuring Tar Heel fans who doth protest too much, combined with Wichard's bizarre inability to tell the truth in the Yahoo article (which is fine piece of reporting, by the way) makes for an entertaining tapestry of ongoing denial and deceit best expressed by Blake/Wichard attorney Nathan Sturm:
Wichard's inability to tell the truth about the nature of his relationship with John Blake borders on the surreal.
The sources said the NCAA’s inquiry into Blake has focused on his one-time position as vice president of football operations for Pro Tect Management – an agency founded and run by Wichard since 1979. Blake is now a defensive line coach for the Tar Heels, and oversees All-ACC tackle Marvin Austin, who is also facing NCAA scrutiny.
And now it gets fun...
Email and telephone messages for Blake were not returned. An interview request for Austin was not returned. Messages left at Proactive Sports seeking comment were not returned. Messages seeking an interview with Balmer were not returned.
Black Santa doesn't always answer the messages of all good boys and girls.
Wichard did talk though. And I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest to you that he now regrets it.
So, Gary - what's up with you and John Blake? Did he ever work for you?
“No, no, no, no,” Wichard said. “John lived [in California] after he was the head coach at Oklahoma. He lived out in [Los Angeles]. We’ve socialized. We’ve been friends. His son is my godson. It has nothing to do with that. He hasn’t worked for me at all. I don’t get where that is coming from.”
Oh. Well, we'll move on then. Nothing to see here. Sorry for the inconvenience...wait, what's on this brochure?
Prepared for prospective clients, the brochure contains multiple pictures of players, including a handful who were selected as recently as the 2001 draft. The inner cover features large photos of both Wichard and Blake. Under Blake’s picture, his title is listed as “Vice President/Football Operations.”
Next time you roll home at 3:30am with lipstick on your collar, scratch marks on your back, panties in your glove box, and your wife greets you, hand on hip with her fists clenched, quietly mouth this self-affirmation:
STEADY GAZE OF PANTHER.
RESOLVE OF BADGER.
TONGUE OF GARY WICHARD.
Then quietly unload all of the firearms in the home.
Still, this doesn't prove that Blake was actively representing players in cooperation with Wichard. Maybe he was just doing community work for future millionaires...
• “Blake made the move into athletic representation because he feels he can have a greater on-going positive impact on the careers of athletes than merely coaching them in college for four years.”
Oh. Well. OK then.
However, did you know that factual information becomes less truthful if the parchment is old? Facts can actually decompose.
When informed that Yahoo! Sports had a copy of the brochure, Wichard said that although Blake had worked with some of his players, the brochure was “meaningless." “The brochure is [from] like 1997 or whatever,” Wichard said. “He was on the brochure for whatever, dealing with football-related situations. But it has nothing to do with anything. He was not working as a coach at that time. The relevance to me is ridiculous.”
Wichard then delivers the rhetorical coup de grace:
“I don’t care what the brochure says. That brochure is so old."
I don't care what historians claim the Declaration of Independence says. That document is, like, old. For all I know, we might have been revolting against Bavaria.
Wichard continues to weave factual magic:
An accomplished agent with many big-name clients, Wichard said he signed only one player – Oklahoma tight end Stephen Alexander – while Blake was a head coach with the Sooners.
Sigh. Yahoo sports editors have now renamed fact-checking: "Wichard-checking."
But a review of NFLPA records show Wichard signed multiple players whose college careers overlapped with Blake’s coaching journey.
In addition to Alexander, they include:
Brian Bosworth (OU)
Cedric Jones (OU)
Aubrey Beavers (OU)
William Bartee (OU)
Tommy Kelly (Miss State)
Brandon Jackson (Neb)
Kentwan Balmer (UNC)
When confronted with these facts, Wichard replies:
“If somebody wants to accuse me of something, bring it on,” Wichard said. “But don’t sit here and ask me about John Blake. He’s my best friend and that’s all I can say about it. Whether he worked out my players or didn’t, it doesn’t matter
His response reeks of innocence. How have Gary Wichard and John Blake managed to find themselves beneath society's cruel fact-based grindstone?
To paraphrase Wichard's response: Yes, you caught me in yet another tedious lie. But John Blake is my best friend. And Checkers was a gift and I won't give him back! Also, I'm an ironist and I'm engaging you in an exploration over the very nature of truth itself. And hey, what's that over your shoulder? //hides under desk with hands over eyes//
1. Every statement Wichard has made to date on the record with respect to his professional relationship with John Blake has been proven to be demonstrably false. When confronted with the fact that John Blake was his VP of Operations for years and was working as a player representative for him, he points out that old brochures can't be trusted as brochure's memories are notoriously cloudy.
2. Every statement Wichard has made to date on record with respect to players routed to him by John Blake has proven to be false, including existence of said players, him representing them, and the seemingly linear nature of time-space.
3. Wichard denies the existence of a game called football.
4. Wichard believes that the real killers are still at large.
There was no killing?
Thank God. Well, they're still out there, nonetheless.
5. Wichard denies that he is subject to US law as he possesses diplomatic immunity in his role as special envoy from Bizarro world.
So I end this article the way my first began:
A man is known by the company he keeps, but also by the company from which he is kept out. - Grover Cleveland
But that quote is at least as old as a 1997 brochure. Who could possibly believe it?