James W. Conradt, a Nebraska football fan living in Austin, Texas, says he didn’t mean to hurt Oklahoma quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Landry Jones with his Internet hoax.
So what was Conradt thinking Wednesday when he lifted a template off The Oklahoman’s web site, newsok.com, wrote and pasted a bogus story about the Sooner pair’s arrest on cocaine distribution charges, then posted it on a message board?
The 36-year-old Conradt says he wasn’t thinking.
“I want to express my deepest apologies to the families,” Conradt said Wednesday night, after his story was reported as fact by at least two Texas radio stations. “That’s the thing I’m regretful about. I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
An apology might not be enough to sooth this over.
“I’m going to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law,” said Kevin Jones, Landry’s father. “I’ve got deep enough pockets to do it.”
Oklahoman publisher David Thompson said, “When this was brought to our attention, we took immediate action. Through our technology and news teams, we tracked him down and told him to cease and desist. We take this very seriously and will consider legal action.”
OU associate athletic director Kenny Mossman said the hoax is just the latest in a disturbing trend.
“We feel it’s real unfortunate how many things have germinated from an anonymous starting point that are unfounded, untrue and, as this story proves, hurtful,” Mossman said.
“Coaches and players are berated, and nobody attaches a name to it.