If you haven’t heard by now, Thayer "That’s Laughable" Evans was laid off by Sports Illustrated earlier this week. Typically, a man’s job (or lack thereof) is no joking matter. However, after Evans’ failed attempt to bring down the Oklahoma State football program in a five-part series, I figured it would be appropriate to reflect on his accomplishments as a journalist, and a person. Here is his eulogy:
Welcome, friends and family. Today is a sad day, as our beloved Thayer Evans had his career cut down in the prime of its’ life. Many people will say it is tragic, and many will say it was undeserved, but the fact of the matter is this; Thayer is gone.
We shouldn’t reflect, however, on our own sorrow. Rather, we must recollect what made Thayer himself. We must remember what made Thayer such a beloved journalist. Loved by many, hated by most, Thayer always pushed the envelope, whether or not it was backed up by factual evidence. His tenacious attitude towards investigative journalism could not be slowed by ethical qualms, basic standards of journalism, or a lack of credible sources. He was willing to sacrifice his integrity that he spent so long building, in order to push what he believed in. And he did just that.
Thayer will be remembered not only for his tenacious personality as a writer, but he also loved the outdoors. An avid walker, Thayer preferred a rugged style of walking, something that matched his care-free habits during his time at Sports Illustrated. He preferred to walk in cowboy boots, and once said "I’ve gone through four soles of two pairs of cowboy boots in each pair reporting the [Dirty Game] story." Thayer was not typically one for facts. He was also not one for luxury cowboy boots. Often living well below his means, he was able to satisfy his love for western apparel without spending top-dollar that is typically associated with cowboy boots. His salt-of-the-earth lifestyle was a sobering, yet appreciated influence on all of us, and that will be greatly missed.
Thayer was all business. Not one for nonsense or urban myths, Thayer was always quick to defend himself when his integrity was called into question. While receiving backlash from his investigation into Oklahoma State, he took to the internet to set the record straight. Regarding his vendetta towards Oklahoma State, he said, "A lot of the stuff that people have alleged are urban myths perpetuated by the internet ... any idiot can post something on the internet."
We will remember him as a compassionate, well-spoken man.
Back to Thayer’s love for fashion... He sure did love his boots, but that’s not the only thing he loved. He often took great pride in his hair. Thayer once said, after watching his favorite Pixar movie, "The Incredibles," that he wants his hair to look like Dash’s hair. If you’re unaware, Dash had super speed, and his hair blew backwards when he ran. Always a man of his word, Thayer made it his mission to bring his hair dream to life. Any time he set his mind to something, he did it. Look at how precise he was.
We will never know what Thayer's true potential was at Sports Illustrated, but we will always be left with a memory. A stinky, heaping memory. "The Dirty Game" was Thayer's prized work at S.I., but much like his hair, the story blew backwards over his head.
Thayer will be greatly missed at Sports Illustrated, but his memory will live on in the form of the most widely discredited five-part investigative collegiate athletics piece in Sports Illustrated history.
Thayer Evans, Sports Illustrated, ~2011-August 22, 2016