Friday I reported former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond, who is not a “registered recruiter” for Mississippi State, claiming that the only reason he released a statement about possible impropriety involving the recruitment of Cam Newton was that ESPN was going to report the story “with or without me.”
(MSU used media as attack dog on NCAA, Bond to deflect blame for leak)
From Bond on WCNN-AM in Atlanta on Friday:
All I know is ESPN was going to put the story out there, with or without me. They wanted to know what I had told the NCAA and that’s exactly what I told them. I don’t know why they decided to bring it out now. Like I said, I talked to the NCAA a couple several months ago.
Former star MSU quarterback Bond was the credible, on the record source that ESPN needed to buttress its otherwise anon-sourced claims about former Bond teammate Kenny Rogers soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for the acquisition of Newton’s services.
Bond was also not an official MSU football staff member and/or registered recruiter, initially removing the connection of any Newton allegation to an officially MSU-affiliated person. (That changed with ESPN’s followup story- keep reading, bruh.)
Bond put a game-changing face on the allegations about Newton, but it was something the former quarterback said after his initial, prepared statement that called into question his motivation in coming forward.
While on the same WCNN-AM radio show Friday, Bond was asked if Rogers approached him to solicit money on Newton’s behalf. Bond’s response:
Actually, there were two people in between it but, basically, yes, that’s what happened.
Fast forward to Joe Schad’s ESPN report last night about Cam and father Cecil Newton allegedly acknowledging during phone calls that it would require payment to obtain Cam’s services:
Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.
Remember how Bond said last Friday that there were “two people” between he and Rogers? In ESPN’s followup report about Newton, it cited “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State.”
Is it unreasonable to think that people representing Mississippi State’s athletic interests , frustrated with the SEC and NCAA’s lack of action on the Newton case (11 months!), turned in Newton (and effectively Auburn) to ESPN? Then those same MSU-affiliated people had non-MSU-affiliated Bond use the “ESPN was going to run the story anyway” excuse to deflect the idea that MSU was behind planting the story in the media?
Taking it a wildly speculative step further, the “two people” between Bond and Rogers leaked the original Newton story to ESPN - and then leaked the second, phone call story to ESPN as well. (As “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State.”)
Not saying it happened that way, but if it did, absolutely brilliant on Mississippi State’s part. Who knew they had that kind of public relations savvy in StarkVegas?