Reeves Nelson already had a bad reputation for being kicked off the UCLA basketball team for poor behavior, but what remained of it was shredded by a damning article published in Sports Illustrated this week. Reeves reacted swiftly and hired a lawyer who sent a letter to SI demanding a retraction. He continued the damage control with an interview on NBC Los Angeles Thursday night.
In the interview, Nelson says Sports Illustrated writer George Dohrmann took his remorseful apology out of context. He also says almost all the stories in the article are false.
“My attitude towards the team and the program as a whole just was very immature,” Nelson said of the behavior that led to his dismissal. “I was defiant, I walked out of a team practice without coach’s permission, I missed a team flight to Maui — which obviously doesn’t look good — you never want to do. And then, I think the final straw was when I was just showing disrespect by laughing on the bench at the end of a loss against Texas.
“That’s why I was really dismissed, and those were the mistakes I was speaking about when I gave my original statement,” Nelson said.
Sports Illustrated responded to the demand for a retraction and stood by Dohrmann, saying “Time Inc. and Sports Illustrated unequivocally stand behind George Dohrmann’s story, Not the UCLA Way. Dohrmann has multiple sources on the facts uncovered during his reporting. This includes a detailed conversation with Mr. Nelson in which he was given an opportunity to respond to the facts and, to his credit, he did.”
Nelson contradicts SI’s statement and described his conversation with Dohrmann as brief, and one where he did little protesting because he figured Dohrmann made his mind up about the article and was going to write it regardless of what some “punk kid” would say (Nelson seemed to really lose credibility when making that statement). He disputes the accuracy of the article.