I talked to Artrell Woods in an exclusive interview. Woods has made headlines for his part in SI’s The Dirty Game investigation into the rise of Oklahoma State’s program. Woods was a promising OSU recruit who broke his back in a freak weight room accident in 2007. He recovered but was later released from his scholarship and finished his career at Central Oklahoma. Here is the unedited transcript of the interview. Warning: contains vulgar language.
I also did a follow up interview with Woods where he detailed his release from OSU.
For our reporting on the fallout from “The Dirty Game,” the O’Colly sports staff won first place for team investigative reporting in the 2014 Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association Awards. The judges wrote, “The O’Colly gave Sports Illustrated a lesson in journalism.”
A.W: Before we get started, I’m not going to answer any questions about anything.
My first statement is I don’t give a damn about who was paying who at Oklahoma State. When they were being paid, none of that shit. All I want is what the fuck I’m owed from Oklahoma State for breaking my fucking spine and being paralyzed. Ending up doing whatever the fuck I’m doing right now with a bull shit degree. That’s all I care about. I don’t give a fuck about nothing else. So unless yall got some questions to answer about who gonna pay me and how much they gonna pay me, I have nothing to talk about.
Kieran: Who needs to pay you?
A.W: Oklahoma State, whoever associated from Oklahoma State. Somebody owe me money for breaking my damn spine and having trouble working right now. All this fucking back pain is because of Oklahoma State. That’s the bottom line. Everything I’m going through right now, they’re responsible for. They could have gave me something. They could have made sure I left with a degree. Those mother fuckers ran me out of there and you will hear more about it on Tuesday (Sept 17). You will see a video about it on Tuesday. They ran me the fuck up out of there. They could have treated somebody who broke their spine better. All those who don’t agree with me, ask yourself this question, How many of you guys have broke your fucking spine, been paralyzed? Doing some shit for the people making billions of dollars who not gonna break they spine, won’t get paralyzed.
Aint nobody know what happened behind closed doors with me, and I aint gonna speak about what happened behind closed doors with me because I don’t give a fuck. All I want is what the fuck I’m owed. I signed something that said I will not sue but when I signed it, I bet you I was drugged up on something, some kind of pain medication.
K: Do you remember signing the waiver?
A.W: I don’t remember any damn thing. I barely remember what happened from July (2007) to December (2007). I don’t remember anything. Morphine. Whatever they gave me in the hospital, I don’t remember very much of.
I lost a lot of very important people in my life because of the narcotics and stuff but regardless of what the case is I don’t care nothing about all the academics, all the sex, drugs. Fuck all that. I answered some questions somebody asked me. I answered the questions the same way I answered any question, which is one of two ways. One way, mind your damn business or two, I’ll give you the truth. Those are the two ways I answered questions. Somebody asked me questions, I answered them. I do it for one thing and one thing only and that is for me. I feel like I’m owed something so until a judge tells me that I’m not owed something, that’s all I got to say.
K: Are you pursing legal action against OSU?
A.W: No, no. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. I will not comment on that. Just know, somebody is going to have to pay me what I’m owed. I don’t even want much. All I want is a better fucking way of life than what I have now. Because I know before I came to Oklahoma State, if I was doing the job that I’m doing now, I would be just fine doing that job. But since I went to Oklahoma State, the job I’m doing now hurts my fucking back. Actually any fucking job I do now pretty much gives me back pain. I wouldn’t have those back pains if I never went to Oklahoma State and played football for them. It’s the only point I’m making. I don’t give a fuck about that other stuff. That stuff is irrelevant to me. I don’t care. I don’t care if this is selfish. It is very selfish of me. I could care less what happens to Oklahoma State. Somebody needs to pay me. That’s all I know.
K: How long were you papralyzed?
A.W: Not sure. One, two and half days. I remember the doctor came about two times and asked me to wiggle my toes and I couldn’t. That’s about all I remember. I was drugged up on morphine. Who knows what the hell morphine is or what the hell morphine does to you. I don’t know. But I know I’m not the same person I was before I came here. And shit is not cool and they are responsible. And the way they ran me out of there was wrong. They know what I’m talking about and the two people who did it know what I’m talking about. I’m not gonna say no names, but we will find out something else.
K: How were you forced out of the program?
A.W: Make a long story short. Broke my back in July. Started running again about January. Got back on the team. Played a year, didn’t play a year (playing time), whatever you want to call it. After that Christmas break after the season, I came back. I was called into a meeting. Told that this was my last chance. What the fuck that mean? Talking about my attitude being right, whatever the fuck that mean. Even if my attitude wasn’t right, have any of you mother fuckers broke yall spine? No, then tell me what the fuck my attitude should be like. All I know is the same day or the next day, I asked for a release and I got released the same day. Without even being talked to about it. Just, “Up there you go. Sign your release, bye.” What kind of shit is that? Maybe it’s just me but I would be a little more sympathetic to this guy who broke his damn spine for yall. Just saying. I did all that work to get back to playing football and I wanted to play football again. The way they called the meeting and the way that meeting was approached, was like, I’m not going to get to play football (for OSU).
K: Anything else you want to add?
A.W: I’m sorry for the anger, man. Just years of being fucked over, don’t like it. I’m trying to get what I was owed. What I feel like I’m owed. Maybe I’m not (owed anything). But I’m gonna need somebody a fucking higher authority then Oklahoma State to tell me I’m not owed before I start shutting up.