Guess he’s missing the opener after all.

Tricky problem for Kirby today:

Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter has found himself in trouble again.

Early Sunday morning, Ledbetter was arrested by Athens-Clarke County Police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and underage possession of alcohol, according to jail logs. Ledbetter was booked at 6:05 a.m. and, as of publication of this story, was listed as currently incarcerated.

Ledbetter’s bail will total $2,000, with $1,500 of it on the DUI charge and $500 on the underage possession charge.

This is Ledbetter’s second alcohol-related arrest. In March, Ledbetter was arrested for underage possession of alcohol and possessing a false identification, although those charges were thrown out.

Ledbetter, 18, was originally given a one-game suspension, although head coach Kirby Smart seemed to change his tune once the charges from the first arrest were thrown out, stating, “We’ll find out the first game” when asked. As a result, it’s unknown if this arrest will be considered a first- or second-time offense.[Emphasis added.]

Yeah, that’s gotta be a tough call.  That’s Georgia.


UPDATE:  Chip Towers speculates Ledbetter’s arrest is indicative of a respect problem Smart has.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

49 responses to “Guess he’s missing the opener after all.

  1. I'm right, you're wrong

    Mark Richt has lost control of this team damnit!

  2. Bob

    Glad we got rid of that soft, Mr. Nice Guy as head coach. Nice to have some of that Saban discipline around.

    Seriously, not blaming Kirby…but there are those who would be jumping on Richt in spades.

  3. With Uber, taxis, having a designated driver, and other ways to get around Athens, there’s really no plausible excuse for this. I don’t begrudge these guys (even the underage ones) the desire to go out and enjoy Athens as we all did. Please just be smart about it.

    I think the drinking age of 21 is one of the dumbest laws we have on the books. If you’re old enough to vote, enter into a legally binding contract, and be sent to war, you’re old enough to decide whether or not to have a beer.

    • Macallanlover

      I agree whole-heartedly about the 21 year old legal age in this country, it is damned silly. But the law isn’t the issue here, it is an 18-19 year old adult who lacks self control, and believes rules do not apply to him. You can say he is on a crusade against the law, has a drinking problem, and/or just a selfish individual who does not care what he is doing to himself or his teammates. The first charge was thrown out on a technicality, he now has twice broken the rules in a reckless manner. As much as I realize the team needs help at his position, Ledbetter needs help, probably, and needs a strong dose of discipline. I hope he gets at least a half season of suspension, or dismissal from the team from Smart. He owes this young man a wake-up call.

      • Mac, I agree with you. The young man needs to be sent a strong message. The DUI is what concerns me. I could care less about the underage consumption/possession charge. If Smart wants to run him until he pukes for a week or 2 for the underage issue, I’m fine with that. For the DUI charge, he needs to sit and understand his actions have consequences.

        My point about the drinking age is that it has become a revenue generator for local government rather than a deterrent for behavior. It’s a useless law only meant to bring in revenue from fines.

      • PTC DAWG

        Judge, Jury & Executioner

        • Macallanlover

          Yes, it doesn’t take a village here. Houston, we have a problem. Of course the light goes on more slowly for some of the Spock disciples. Maybe we should give him an ice cream, and a trophy. Bless his little heart. I even suggested some therapy, that should have mollified your little tender heart.

          • PTC DAWG

            LOL, Kirby is on hold for your advice right now.

            Seriously, things are rarely as bad nor as good as one thinks.

      • thetadog

        BIngo. Perhaps he should sit and watch footage of fatal DUI wrecks on game day instead of playing in the first three games. A five-hundred word paper on same would be nice, too.

    • Gaskilldawg

      Thank MADD. That organization, at its core, is a temperance organization. Its public statements about trying to reduce danger from impaired driving is laudable, stuff such as successfully lobbying to raise the age a person can sit and home and legally drink shows its true colors.

      It also refused to address a huge impaired driver issue: texting and cell phone use while driving. MADD would rather outlaw someone having two glassed of wine while eating dinner out than outlaw someone barrelling down the highway in a two ton machine concentrating on a phone call.

      • Reducing alcohol consumption and driving under the influence are noble goals. Using the power of government to tell me I can’t allow my daughter to have a glass of wine at dinner in the privacy of my home is overreach.

      • Chi-town Dawg

        Whether you agree with MADD or not, as someone who’s had two friends killed in separate incidents by drunk drivers, I have very little tolerance for these situations. One time, okay maybe it’s bad judgment or even stupidity/immaturity. Two times in less than six months, someone needs to drop the hammer on this guy before it happens again and get him some help.

        • Chi-town Dawg

          And I agree with EE’s comments as well as the 21 year old drinking age being ridiculous. Underage possession is a joke, but DUI is a serious issue especially as a repeat offender.

    • Cojones

      Back in the late 60s(?) the age limit went down to 18 due to the same hue and cry made here. I was a huge proponent and cheered it’s passing because I had come from the service where 18 yr olds could drink. Vietnam and all that was an easy convincer to lower the age limit.

      Then the kids began to die in droves on the highways and it was repealed. I was as shocked as any proponent, but when you dip into HS ages we found it was a no-go. That’s tough on everyone else , but who can say you have a kid who can drink responsibly at that age? We don’t know until the age is dropped, but we do have a historical warning of what the outcome can be.

      • Good point, Cojones. But is the reason for the increase in deaths tied to the drinking age or the lack of awareness of the impact of drinking and driving? I would assume at that time, open containers were allowed in the car. I definitely see both sides of the argument.

      • Macallanlover

        Yes, the age was dropped, then blamed for DUIs and reinstituted. I grew up near the SC line where it was 18 while I was in HS but 21 in Georgia. I didn’t drink in HS so it didn’t impact me but did in college. Wasn’t lowered to 18 in Georgia until the 70s, I couldn’t drink legally in Georgia until after I was married.

        BTW, Big Brother demanded the age be raised back to 21 for all states, or they would cut off all highway spending for your state and that is the only reason it is universal. Did the exact same thing until seat belt laws were changed as well. Recently, the bathroom/shower issue drove them to threaten cutting off all education support dollars to mandate compliance. States made a deal with the devil when they became dependent on the Federal government for what was once state controlled. You can argue that it came with other advantages, but you are now forced to be as dumb as the dumbest. And no, there isn’t enough space to explore that discussion, but that is why every state is consistent now. Coming soon, the Feds plan to drop enforcement on marijuana use/possession, wonder how long before they re-enter that arena?

  4. 202dawg


  5. AG

    I don’t know if this would work in this situation or not, but I say force him to redshirt, call it blackshirt… I don’t know. But keep him on the team, enforce discipline, but don’t let him take a snap of football. He needs the team and he needs to learn a tough lesson.

  6. Walt

    4 game suspension on the way

  7. fmdjr1970

    This young man is clearly showing signs that he is a bad apple.

    • Cojones

      It shows he can’t drink responsibly, especially by himself. “Bad apple” is harsh; what he needs is peer pressure not to have to drink in order to have a good time. If he is already habituated, he needs to undergo treatment that will help him forgo or limit his desire for alcohol in a social setting. Figure also that for everyone caught in this state there are probably four more that didn’t get caught.

      Rather than judge him, why not see what you can do if you live locally in Athens. Watching a kid piss away a career while doing nothing is difficult.

      • Uglydawg

        Some people are prone to substance abuse….including alcoholics. My conncern is that he is a developing alcoholic. He needs help. I’m all for punishment, but something is driving his behavior. If you are a person who thinks you need to get a strong buzz every time you drink, you are in peril of ruining your life. It happens to millions, including kids.

        • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

          I think it is fair to say that he is an alcoholic. You don’t get in trouble twice in a six month period for consumption related offenses unless you are. These are the times he got caught. Have you been caught every time you over imbibed? Of course not. None of us has so hopefully, whatever else happens to him will include some treatment – 12 step programs are more or less free and do work – and if this incident wakes him up to his problem and he addresses it’ll be worth it for him.

  8. JasonC

    At least we’re consistent

  9. Tronan


    Underage possession is exploitive, revenue-generating BS. As someone who’s personally been mulcted by Athens-Clarke County on the same charge, I don’t think the kid has anything to atone for for this particular peccadillo.

    However, drinking and driving is selfish, stupid, and dangerous. He should be forced to be on the weekend emergency room cleanup crew, run laps until he vomits, and serve at least a two-game suspension while wearing a sign around his neck on the sideline that says “I let down my teammates, coaches and fans.” Maybe that’d teach him (and hopefully others).

  10. DawgPhan

    I guess I will wait and see. If he was over the limit he was over the limit. If he blew a .04 and caught a DUI because he is underage that seems a little different.

    Secondly…Guess this is the down side of being from a smaller town. Everyone knows who Ledbetter’s momma is in tucker.

    I guess Kirby can’t skirt the booze arrest rules @ UGA, but at Bama he would have had his defensive players suited up and playing even after a 2nd DUI. Handle it internally as they say.

  11. Bulldog Joe

    Rodney will have some awesome DL talent to squander next year.

  12. ugadawgguy

    Seems to me that Jonathan has led rather poorly up to this point.

    I’ll see myself out.

  13. John Denver is full of shit...

    Uber gets me and the wife to Watkinsville for $13.

    Simply no excuse for someone on campus and in the spotlight, much less a magnified spotlight for previous encounter.

  14. Macallanlover

    I disagree with Towers, I don’t think Ledbetter thinks beyond his personal immediate wants and desires. And as hard as it is to understand, he may also have an addiction issue.

    I suspect there are many of the young freshmen who do think about their role and actions and make choices (at least of discretion) that include the program to include staff and players. And this guy had a warning shot fired across his bow recently enough that he could not have forgotten it. He was the one guy who got a “Hail Mary” opportunity and then squandered it. My guess is Smart would have played him some in the UNC game, maybe 2nd half.

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Chip has become very disappointing, writing more for clicks and less for insight.

      You are right that Ledbetter’s problems, whatever they may include, are probably not a question of selfishness, and certainly not disrespect for CKS. More likely, he’s an impulsive knucklehead, and that is compounded by his fairly apparent addiction. Hope this is bottom for him so he can get his life in order.

      • Macallanlover

        “impulsive knucklehead”, nice, we may need to add that to the evaluation checklist for our guys when recruiting a HS athlete. None of them will act like that when we visit their high schools but the chances are the their coaches have had an eye on them for years and hear the gossip. As talented as many of them are, a 4-5 star that has behavior, maturity, and/or attitude issues is just too much of a distraction. Would rather have a hard working 3 star than a da Rick type superstar any year. Ledbetter should take some steps proactively, he is costing himself money at the next level as well as playing time while in college.

  15. Will

    The strong move at this point would be to expel him. I’d help him reach out to GMC or something similar afterwards, but 2 underage possession charges in less than 6 months? Ignoring clear warnings?

    Something needs to knock some sense into this young man’s (ugh, get off my lawn moment) head, and maybe it will be learning that his gifts won’t pay his way out of every mistake.

  16. Rival

    Where’s Herbstreit?

  17. Debby Balcer

    Glad that the first response was about Coach Rich since if he had still been our coach people would have claimed that and meant it. I can’t believe Towers actually attributed the arrest to lack of respect for Kirby. It was selfishness at best and alcoholism at worst. Suspend him Kirby and introduce him to AA.

  18. Derek

    It would be a lot better to have bright line rules and follow them than to think Kirby, God, their mothers or anyone else can control what a 19 year old kid is going to do. The idea that there is a coach/behavior correlation is insanity. The kids going to do what the kids going to do. Apply the punishment and move on. If the kid wants to straighten up he will. If he doesn’t, he won’t.

    All of the screaming and yelling and cajoling is meaningless to these guys. The ones who won’t screw up don’t need to hear it and the ones so inclined aren’t listening. The idea that the world somehow works differently brought us the war on drugs. If you are just tough enough it will go away they said. Yep, worked like a charm. Anybody think that after 30 years of this war that it would take me more than 20 minutes to score some heroin? Nope.

    People who think that other people can or even should be controlled need to get over themselves.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      That Gary Johnson 2016 yard sign is going to look so good in your front yard, Derek – let me know where to send it. I’m actually thinking about getting another one.

      • Derek

        I only buy half of what the libertarians are selling. I like the personal freedom side. I think the economic side would be disastrous so I’ll take a pass. I think any ideology on economics is disastrous if taken to its logical extreme. You have to have pragmatic economic policy that is flexible enough to adapt to current circumstances. Rigid ideologies always fail. One extreme leads to all the money on the hands of a few and the other leads to everyone being equally poor. Neither are good choices. A system that allows a poor kid to get rich and a rich kid to become poor is what you want.

        Generational poverty and generational wealth are inefficient and counter productive.

  19. JCDAWG83

    Two thoughts. First, Ledbetter has all the signs of an alcoholic. Someone he will listen to needs to sit him down and have a serious heart to heart or he could be another unemployed black guy sitting on a porch drinking with his unemployed homeys all day in another 10 years. Two alcohol incidents within 6 months is not bad luck or persecution by cops, it is a very troubling sign.

    Second, I think the suspensions should be such that the player does not get to participate with the team at all on game day. No standing on the sideline yucking it up with his team mates during the game or riding the bus to the Dawg Walk, no being in the locker room pre and post game, no pregame meal with the team. On game days they are suspended, they should effectively not be part of the team. If they want to see the game, they need to get a seat in the student section like everyone else and get to the game the best they can, like the other students.

  20. W Cobb Dawg

    If towers can go off the speculation deep end, then I suppose I can too. I’m wondering if its a good idea to keep some of these younger guys away from their families for so much time. They don’t even go home for the summer break. Seems the guys having troubles lately are the youngest – Ledbetter, Clay, Rivers.

  21. Otto

    Towers or the AJC staff go off the deep end? I try to just avoid their rag and would hope that most do not fall for their headline click baiting.

  22. fred russo

    Don’t give up on this kid! Send him to AA he can be saved help him!

  23. paul

    Now that the details of his arrest have been made public, it’s not a tricky call at all. While we shouldn’t give up on him as a person, as a football player at UGA he’s done. Kirby can’t keep him on the team and and expect to maintain any sort of discipline or integrity.