OKLAHOMA CITY -- An appeals court has thrown out a public drunkenness conviction against Charles Thompson, the quarterback who led Oklahoma to an 11-1 season in 1987.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously reversed a conviction by an Oklahoma City municipal judge, who fined Thompson $69.
In overturning the ruling last week, Judge David B. Lewis wrote in his opinion that the evidence did not support a conviction because the city failed to prove Thompson was drunk in a public place.
"A lot of people thought it was a small matter in terms of a fine, but it was a big matter in terms of my reputation," Thompson said. "I never should have been arrested."
Thompson, who had been arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover FBI agent, was pictured in handcuffs and orange prison coveralls on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1989 as an image of the Sooners' out-of-control program.
He has since tried to clean up his image, telling children at school and youth groups not to follow his path.
"People assume things because of my past and I've been in trouble before," Thompson said. "I knew I was right on this one. I knew I had to stand up."
Thompson was arrested at an Oklahoma City hotel in November 2006 when police responded to complaints from hotel managers and claimed Thompson smelled of alcohol. Five witnesses testified at Thompson's trial that there was no alcohol in the room, but Judge William Manger convicted him based on testimony from three police officers.