Bryant and Butts were both vindicated in the libel law suits following the story, and the resulting back lash and legal payments bankrupted the paper. The suits are still studied in Law and Journalism School for the ground breaking decision regarding libel in regards to "public officials" vs. "public figures."
The story revolved around a phone conversation between Butts and Bryant that was apparently over heard by a third party. That third person took notes of the conversation and accused a drunken Butts (serving as AD of UGA at the time) of giving up the Georgia play book to Bryant. The third person sold his story to The Post for $5,000.
In their rush to bring down UGA, Alabama and College Football, the Birmingham News says that magazine didn't bother to look at the notes from the phone conversation. It was a hastily assembled story that didn't hold up under investigation. And frankly, Bear Bryant didn't need Georgia's play book to obliterate Johnny Griffith's team.
I throw Bisher into this because he helped Frank Graham Jr. write the story.
Fall out from the story:
- The Saturday Evening Post went bankrupt Georgia and Alabama stopped playing every year to avoid the story. We moved to playing about twice every 8-10 years in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
- Bryant was so enraged by the incident that he came to hate Atlanta. If memory serves, his team packed a lunch when they came to Atlanta after that. He refused to spend a nickel in town.
- The scandal helped push Butts out as Athletic Director.