Hangin’s too good for ‘em.

Of all the over-the-top points in this sanctimonious exercise in hyperventilation, this stands as my favorite:

… Richt has got to do something, or he needs to be shown the door. The University cannot continually endure summer after summer of this juvenile and immature behavior from its most high-profile athletes.

A start would be bringing in more high-character players. Could you imagine these shenanigans happening during the reign of David Greene or David Pollack? They would not have allowed it.

To which I can only reply with two words:  Odell. Thurman. Funny, you’d think a self-described “fourth-generation Georgia student and an ardent supporter of the Bulldogs” would have remembered him.

I’ve got two predictions for you.  Coming down the turnpike are meant-to-be-taken-very-seriously proposals that (1) the football team wear the initials “JG” on their jerseys and that (2) Mark Richt be required to cut a public service announcement about drunk driving that eulogizes Jordan Griner.  Because those will show that we mean business about this problem.  An empty gesture that makes so many feel better without having to make hard decisions about what’s really going on is what 21st century American society is all about.

On the other hand, maybe Fitzpatrick’s on to something here with his run the bums out of town approach.  How about we extend it to revoking the HOPE Scholarship of any student pinched for underage possession?  Nah, wouldn’t work.  We’d be putting too many “high-character” kids at risk with an approach like that.

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UPDATE: This post at Bernie’s is proof that great minds think alike.

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UPDATE #2: Just to give you an indication of how absurd the “Mark Richt has to do something” blather is, check out this post from Marc Weiszer’s blog.

“Now my feeling is every single Georgia football player must have not only a valid license but a Class C (unrestricted license),” Richt said. “I can’t snap my finger and get it done overnight. If a kid gets a ticket and he doesn’t take care of it quickly enough then he could find himself with an issue there. It’s a real pain in the rear quite frankly.”

For a story I wrote in April on motor scooter safety, it was clear that efforts have been made by Georgia’s support staff to ensure that players that drive have proper license and insurance. This weekend’s incident shows that there’s still work to be done there.

I don’t know if I’m more amazed that Richt has assumed the responsibility for this sort of stuff (don’t these kids have parents riding their asses about it?) or that it seems expected that he should.

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58 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

58 responses to “Hangin’s too good for ‘em.

  1. Brandon

    Couldn’t agree with you more about the Jordan Griner thing, Limbaugh (I know a lot of people hate him but he’s right on this one) calls that symbolism over substance, that kind of thing is a substitute for real leadership far too often in our time. Anyway though I don’t remember a single year where there weren’t some off season arrests going back to at least 96′, I bet if you take the number of citations for underage drinking, etc. on the football team and compare it against 85-100 random male students proportioned by class to match the football team I bet the football team wouldn’t be a whole lot worse than the general student population. When I lived in Russell Hall I think we had some guy go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning about every weekend and no football players live there, not to mention people pulling the damn fire alarm every other week in the middle of the night.

  2. jw

    Is this guy a Bradley wantebe or what?

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    The little twerp needs to shave and put on a dress shirt.

  4. Apologies for the “Back in my day/You kids get off my lawn” comment here, but the semester I was the editor-in-chief at the R&B, the opinions editor was a former sports guy. And had an op-ed like this been sent our way, we would’ve sat in our little corner of the office, read it aloud, chortled derisively at the writer’s obnoxiousness, and then tossed it on the “Only If We’re Incredible Desperate” pile.

    Are they really so hard up for opinions-page material that they’ve got to resort to melodramatic fainting-couch crap like this?

    • Julie

      When I was at the R&B, we didn’t even have the “Only If We’re Incredibly Desperate” pile. We would have just tossed it and increased the ad space for the B&L Warehouse.

  5. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    Speaking of Odell, Pollack shared some “rest of the story” info yesterday about when Odell got pinched for DUI in Athens.

    Apparently Odell had left downtown and made it through a sobriety check point while he was drunk. He made it home. His girlfriend called from the club and asked him to come pick her up.

    He got back into his car and drove right back through the same sobriety checkpoint! He was detained and charged with DUI.

    • Brandon

      Those are the kind of guts that make an all-SEC linebacker…we miss you Odell!!! LOL.

    • BMan

      For Odell, I’m afraid that DUI stands for driving under idiocy if that story is accurate, which it probably is. The guy, as blessed as he was on the field, doesn’t seem to have a lick of sense.

  6. BenG

    Since I can’t comment over there, I will leave this here for Michael Fitzpatrick: You, sir, are a dipshit.

    • Reptillicide

      They removed the comment section after they started getting hundreds of comments blasting the authors. Gotta protect their virgin minds from the reality that their opinions are crap.

  7. heyberto

    Fitzpatrick is living in a fantasy world. Does it seem to anyone else that kicking kids off the team is a more selfish wasy to deal with this for CMR? I mean, if he does that his job becomes easier in terms of discipline, but in many ways he’s giving up on them. We all agree that there are times when you have to (Mettenberger), but not in all cases, and in UGA’s case very few do something so offensive to warrant that. Grow up and realize that these kids are being punished, even if they get to remain with the team.

  8. kevin

    I was in school from 2001-06 and remember with regularity seeing football players getting drunk at Firehouse and Flannagans and getting special treatment from the barkeeps. It’s nothing new, and it certainly DID happen during the Greene and Pollack years.

    • heyberto

      Exactly… the difference is only that they didn’t get caught.

    • Will

      Hell, Greene had to have gotten hammered in Oct. ’04 before the Tennessee game where we lost to the Freshman Eric Ainge. If he wasn’t suffering a hangover on the field, I’d eat my hat. My friends and I were stunned how clearly “coming down” he looked the whole game.

      • hccargo

        There is absolutely no way Greene was hammered the night before the Tennessee game. If you honestly think that you have no idea what kind of watch players are under the night before a game.

        • Fitzpatrick's Dad

          Hey, I was in Athens in the 60s and early 70s (damn, 6 years of college down the drain) and the football players of that era were getting plastered all the time. If what my twerpy son is advocating was the way things were back then I can think of some AAs and All-SECs that would have been kicked off the team. Not wanting to mention names but Jake Scott, Mike Cavan, Bruce Kemp, Steve Greer and basically the whole SEC Champion team from 1968 would have been kicked out. No SEC Championship, too. Son, you are FOS. (Pay him no mind you guys. His mother dropped him on his head when he was a baby.)

        • Reptillicide

          I don’t know WHEN Greene got hammered, but I personally know people who saw Greene getting hammered downtown on several occasions. He was a big time party boy, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was hammered drunk the night before a game.

  9. Go Dawgs!

    If Mitchell Fitzpatrick can swear an oath that he has never, ever, in his career as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia possessed alcohol underage, then game on. But just from looking at the guy, I’m willing to bet he’s downed a few gallons of Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice before his 21st birthday.

    The point is, UGA has had players in trouble with alcohol. And while DUI is not acceptable under any circumstances, I don’t consider any other alcohol violation to be a big deal in any way, shape, or form on a college campus unless they’re giving beer to high school kids.

    Get down off of your high horse, Mitchell. I know that you think writing hard-hitting columns is going to get you a job at a dying newspaper one day, but you need to increase your game a little bit. Your writing is crap, this column is crap, and you’re not going to get hired anywhere writing tripe like this.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        The real point is that it is a stupid law that requires and 18 year old adult to not drink alcohol. (DUI is another matter beyond the scope of this post.) The Feds tried to prohibit everyone from drinking in the 1920s and see what it got them? Organized crime got started by bootlegging and Prohibition was repealed after 20 years.

  10. Keith

    The general school population IS NOT the same as the football team. Not in any shape or form. A HOPE scholly is not the same and those students DO NOT represent UGA on national TV every week. Like it or not the football team should be held up to a higher standard.
    CMR should adopt a system where when a player gets in trouble, the whole team is punished. Then maybe some leaders would step up.
    For example, King gets arrested for underage possession and gets suspended for a game, the rest of the team picks up trash on the North Campus after a football game with their practice jerseys on. See what happens when the offender has to face a pissed off Cornelius Washington. Cause at this point they don’t seem to mind pissing off CMR.
    Also put them in the old fashioned bull ring with 10 of our biggest baddest asses.
    Gotta try something different.

    • The general school population IS NOT the same as the football team. Not in any shape or form. A HOPE scholly is not the same and those students DO NOT represent UGA on national TV every week.

      So if the football team wasn’t televised, everything would be equal?

      • Prov

        Or if History classes were televised HOPE students would be held to a higher standard.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I think the Hope recipients should be held to a higher standard than the football players who EARN their scholly by practicing their asses off constantly and then risking their necks in badass combat every weekend during the fall.

          • NRBQ

            Hope students DO earn their scholarships.

            And Hope kids don’t necessarily get accepted at UGA.

            For those who do, their housing, meals, and every other expense is not gratis, as with athletes.

            And they don’t travel all over the southeast (and as far as Colorado or Arizona) on the school’s dime.

            It’s a game, not badass combat.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              I was speaking of the video game Mortal Kombat which they play in the locker room before the game starts.

    • 69Dawg

      Seems that is the way Derrick Dooley tried to handle the first offense of the now dismissed playa. What it apparently achieved was that 10% of the team decided if they were going to be punished they might as well be guilty. That my friends is a team building excise that went way wrong.

    • Brandon

      Disagree, they’re not getting paid, they’re students just like everybody else, if anything they have a bigger bullseye drawn on them than regular students, all students should be held to the same standard whatever it be, that’s America. By the way, nice use of the word “scholly” for scholarship, you must be straight out of Compton, homeboy.

  11. Will Trane

    What has Tony Barnhartt or Mark Bradley done to bring prefection to the world of sports. I do not go to Atlanta except for business and watch the Dawgs. In and out after the meeting or event. Why? Because of the crime. No Braves, no Hawks, no Thrashers for me and my family. I do not buy the AJC or a ticket to any venue there now because of these guys. Nope. No support from me. Will not waste the money on metro Atlanta. From Outlar to Bisher and forward they have always been against UGA, the Dawgs, and us. Sporting news, readers, and the balance sheet are down in the world of the AJC. I am not alone in this view or actions. Their demise is as certain as players getting a little rowdy. But nobody arrested those Tech guys for trashing vechiles past December. No, Atlanta gives those guys a pass.

  12. hassan

    College is a different environment than high school. You take a chance with ANY kid you sign. I’ve known more than a few straight A goody goods that go nuts in college.

    For the athlete, the best a coach can do is to try and teach them while you can. I think the NCAA rules kind of hampers the effort sometimes. If the coaches had more access to the kids in the summer then maybe these things wouldn’t happen.

    Tough penalties may help get the point across to some kids. In that case, then the kid can learn and grow. Some kids are unreachable and they are the ones that need to go. Unless there is some history of trouble on the high school level, then I doubt the coaches can do any better job recruiting.

    It’s not whether or not the kids get into trouble, it’s how the staff deals with it and what they will tolerate. I will say that I’ll take traffic violations and underage drinking over bar brawls and drug dealing any day.

  13. JC in Powder Springs

    It’s easy to pontificate about the players problems. But I’d wager at least half of the guys in the NFL hall of fame did the same stuff when they were in college.

    All the money is spent on enforcement, not solving the problem. People are going to drink. Perhaps UGA & Athens should institute some type of system where taxis pick up drunks and drive them home – no questions asked. These players are the source of multi-millions in proceeds to the school, community, coaches, (yes, even sportswriters). They deserve more than a wagging finger in the face.

    • Perhaps UGA & Athens should institute some type of system where taxis pick up drunks and drive them home – no questions asked.

      Exactly. If all of the hand wringing were truly motivated by a desire to avoid tragic deaths at the hands of impaired drivers, this would be a damn-the-expense no-brainer.

      • kevin

        They do.

        It’s called Dawgs After Dark. They pick you up in front of The Grill and take you anywhere fo’ free. You just have to go over there at the end of the night and wait in line.

        • That’s great. Were I Mark Richt, I’d make that the main subject of my next talk.

        • kevin

          I misspoke. Dawgs After Dark is something else, but the rest of it was accurate. I just don’t know the name of it. I remember I volunteered to do it once. You’re out on Thurs, Fri, and Sat and have a sign up sheet and it helps with the line knowing what time frame you can get a van.

  14. Dawg Scribe

    FWIW, I was in school with Fitzpatrick and he’s every bit the clown he appears to be in this column.

  15. kdsdawg

    Look senator and Prov, if you think the general population looks on regular students like they do athletes then you been smoking some of that good stuff. Whether its right or wrong or whether you like it or not, there is a different standard for the privileged athlete.

  16. kdsdawg

    Edit: If regular students were equal then ESPN would be paying 2.25 billion dollars for 15 years to televise the finals from that history class.

    • So basically your theory is that anyone who is capable of generating significant TV viewership should be held to a higher standard than someone who cannot. Why, exactly?

    • Prov

      So if the coaches and cops were in cahoots and all of these transgressions were swept under the rug you’d be okay with it because it wasn’t getting press? I have concern for anyone out there drinking and driving. I just don’t elevate athletes above the average citizen, student or athletic director. If you do that is your right. But be prepared to be disappointed on a yearly basis because these things will continue to happen to athletes just like they do in every other segment of society.

  17. kdsdawg

    So, you really don’t believe that athletes are held to a higher standard? Really?

    Why don’t you start a blog about regular students and what goes on in the classroom instead of commenting on the football team. Or tell us about the professor that hit on the college girl instead of Mike Leach’s troubles.

    Get back to me and let me know how many readers you got.

    • You are missing my point. We’re certainly more interested in the football players at this blog than we are in the students who don’t play. But how does higher interest translate into higher standards? And when exactly did these seventeen-year olds cut that deal with you and me?

  18. kdsdawg

    The seventeen year olds didn’t cut that deal with me and you, although they did sign a letter of intent to play football with the University of Georgia and I AM SURE that whether or not they choose to respect CMR, they received a talk before and after the signature about what it meant to receive a full ride to go to school and play football and what was expected of them. When you get a HOPE scholarship, you don’t get that speech. Trust me, I know this for a fact.

    • So now it’s not about being on TV, it’s about getting a speech from somebody. Man, this is a real stretch. You think King was told in the speech that if he were arrested for underage possession, he’d be kicked off the team and lose his scholarship, as you advocate?

  19. kdsdawg

    First, I can assure you I have NEVER made the statement to kick King off the team. Please point that out to me, as I don’t believe he should have been.
    Its the whole package that goes along with being a scholarship athlete, not just being on TV.

    So now you are telling me that you don’t think CMR or another coach has ever told one of these ball players what was expected of them. Really? If you can say that, then I am now questioning your knowledge of college football or playing any sport.

    I can remember playing Little League BB and my coach having that talk of what was expected of us by playing on his team and that continued on every team I played on through to college.

    • Sorry – I misunderstood the first paragraph in your initial post on the subject.

      I’m not telling you that these kids weren’t given an idea about what was expected from them when they joined the program – just that it’s not realistic to hold these kids to a higher behavioral standard than the typical student. And I still haven’t seen a convincing reason from you to suggest otherwise.

  20. JC in Powder Springs

    I’ll say it again. These players are responsible for MILLIONS in proceeds to UGA, Athens, etc. What purpose does it serve to arrest them for drinking? Giving them a lift for free would be a small fraction compared to the income they produce. I don’t advocate underage drinking or drinking to excess, but a simple, fairly cheap solution is there if anybody is interested in avoiding future arrests. CMR openly admits he did the same stuff when he was in school. Isn’t holding these kids to a far higher standard than us older folks had a bit hypocritical?

  21. DawgPhan

    At least the good senator is seeing some easy action this summer. it will be august before we know it.