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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
As I'm sure you've heard by now, we have three new Dawg players suspended due to a "violation of team rules." Technically, Tony Wilson is leaving due to being medically disqualified, but humor me here by allowing us not to split hairs. Rumors are flying that the three in question are suspended due to failed drug tests, which means probably pot or liquor, which PWD noted earlier today. When I say rumors, I mean "unnamed sources," which pisses me off, but that's another blog for another day.

Now when I first caught wind of the whole thing, I sent out a Tweet (ha ha ha...tweet) that 1) That sucked, 2) Things were already much worse this time last year and 3) That I was not surprised. The latter of the message was echoed by Groo, and just about everyone else who's followed the Dawgs over the past 3-4 seasons.

Look, as PWD said, you take 85 athletes and a handful are always going to find themselves in trouble. A violation of team rules is certainly different than getting arrested and creating a huge black eye for the program, but rules are rules. All should be treated the same right?

Well, obviously in Athens, they're not. Look, I like the way CMR runs this program. I like the players, I like our coaches (most of them) and I appreciate the work they do both on and off the field. However, where my problem begins and ends is with one Bruce Figgins. 

Apparently, this is Big Bruce's second offense, which means he's done this before. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't a long-snapper last year by the name of Jeff Henson get kicked off the team for a similar problem of two strikes? If you need a refresher, here it is:
Long snapper Jeff Henson, a junior from Gainesville, was arrested for public intoxication and urinating in public. He was booked into the Athens-Clarke County jail at 3:46 a.m. and was released on $750 bond at 10 a.m. Because Henson also was charged with DUI last November — he missed the Sugar Bowl as punishment — he was suspended indefinitely. Henson was the eighth Georgia football player arrested and jailed in 2008.
Now, let's say that Bruce's problems are with pot, which is an illegal substance in this country. Not legal like alcohol to those of a certain age, but illegal to anyone of any age. Henson as an idiot for sure, but he made two poor choices with a LEGAL substance that cost him his spot on a team.

However, Bruce has apparently made two poor choices with an illegal substance and was outright busted for it. According to these sources, he failed the drug tests. That's proof in said pudding, ladies and gents. 

So as a team, are we saying that it's worse to get busted by the cops and create that PR nightmare for the program than it is to use an illegal substance? Is it OK to screw up twice in two consecutive years and still have your spot on the team? The only thing I can think is that Henson messed up twice in the course of one season (during the season and shortly thereafter), which may be the reason he was suspended. I'll be honest, I really hope that's the case.

Everyone knows of my undying love for all things UGA. Everyone also knows that I think pot should be legal and we should tax the shit out of it. That's beside the point. The point is with Big Bruce's problem getting swept under a glass rug where everyone can see it anyway, are we sending the wrong message to our players and fans? Are we saying that a DUI, public intoxication, public urination or public disturbance is worse than failing a drug test? I don't know about you guys, but I've pissed outside before. In my mind, that's a little better off than failing a drug test.

Of course, we'll never know the real truth, but if I'm going to keep having the same respect for this team that I've always had, I'd like to see the "two strikes and you're out" rule applied to the larger issues as well as the ones related to police. Sure, the PR is much worse when you're handcuffed, but I'd argue it's just as bad when everyone knows what happened and the players get off easier. It's still a black eye for the university, no matter how the punch was thrown.

If I wanted to cheer for a team with a rug in one hand and a broom in the other, I'd be a Florida fan. 

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't think there's necessarily a double standard. The laws of this state treat DUI more harshly than possession of marijuana. I think that public intoxication (using alcohol) and use of marijuana are comparable offenses. But DUI is 1.5 or 2 strikes compared to pot being 1.