• Kirby Smart defends Georgia 'culture' after fatal crash, arrests

    From Moorlock@21:1/5 to All on Sat Mar 4 00:59:29 2023
    XPost: atl.general, alt.sports.college.sec

    ATHENS, Ga. -- Despite having two players arrested in the past two weeks
    for street-racing offenses, including Jalen Carter's booking Wednesday in connection with a Jan. 15 crash that killed a Georgia football player and
    a recruiting staff member, coach Kirby Smart insists his program does not
    have a culture problem.

    "Absolutely not. I would say we're far from it," Smart told ESPN on
    Friday. "When you talk to people outside our program that come into it,
    they talk about what a great culture we do have -- and we do an incredible
    job. Because I've got a lot of outside entities that come into our program
    and pour into these young men.

    "Do we have perfect young men and women and players? Not necessarily. But
    I promise you this, that's the intent: for us to grow these guys and get
    them better. And I feel really good about the culture within our program."

    Smart, in his first interview since offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy were killed, said he and his staff have worked hard to educate their players about the dangers of speeding and
    racing.

    Carter, the former Bulldogs defensive tackle who is a potential No. 1 pick
    in April's NFL draft, was arrested Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of
    reckless driving and racing. He was released on bond after briefly being jailed. Linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson, a Butkus Award finalist in 2022,
    was arrested last week on the same charges.

    Police officers said they observed Dumas-Johnson's vehicle traveling at
    high speeds before fleeing the scene Jan. 10, the day after Georgia
    defeated TCU to win its second straight national title.

    Then on Jan. 15, only hours after Georgia celebrated with a parade and
    ceremony at Sanford Stadium, Athens-Clarke County Police alleged that
    Carter was racing a Ford Expedition driven by LeCroy on a street near
    campus. Police said the Expedition left the road around 2:45 a.m. and
    struck two power poles and several trees.

    Willock, an offensive lineman from New Jersey, was ejected from the
    vehicle and died at the scene. He was sitting behind LeCroy and wasn't
    wearing a seat belt. LeCroy was transported to a hospital by ambulance and
    died as a result of her injuries.

    Former Georgia player Warren McClendon and another female staffer, Tory
    Bowles, were injured but survived.

    Police said the Expedition was going 104 mph when it crashed. A toxicology report indicated LeCroy's blood alcohol concentration was .197, about 2
    times the legal limit in Georgia.

    Smart said he was sleeping at home when his wife, Mary Beth, awoke him
    with the devastating news. He had several missed calls on his cellphone.

    "Heartache," Smart said, when asked what he remembered about that night.
    "Got a call at 3 or so in the morning. Went immediately to the emergency
    room. Probably one of the toughest moments I've ever experienced as a
    coach and a leader to see the pain in the faces of the players who had
    joined up at the emergency room that morning. [Athletics director] Josh
    Brooks was there. You know, [I] still remember the ER doctor telling me
    the news, and just one of the most painful experiences of my life."

    Smart said many players are still struggling emotionally from the tragedy.

    "Inside our building, we've got 130 football players that are hurting and
    have been dealing with pain. And we've emotionally supported those guys'
    mental health," Smart said. "We had several players that struggled to come
    back after the parade that have really dealt with this. It's been a tough, trying time for our family, our in-house family, both staff and players.
    And we continue to support both the Willock and Chandler families."

    Smart's last interaction with Willock, 20, came at the end of the parade
    and celebration.

    "I can remember he was walking out with a big smile on his face leaving
    the stadium," Smart said. "I just got through speaking up on the podium,
    and we dapped each other up [and] gave each other knuckles like we did
    from time to time. He just had an infectious smile. One of the most
    gentle, best people in terms of character. You know, he picked my 10-year-
    old son up and carried him off the field on the night of the
    championship."

    Smart said he didn't remember seeing LeCroy, 24, at the celebration.

    The Expedition that LeCroy was driving had been leased by the athletics department for recruiting. Asked if it was LeCroy's job to get players
    home that night, Smart responded: "Absolutely not. Absolutely not." He
    added there were no policy changes needed as a result of the crash.

    Smart said he was unaware that Carter had been cited in September for
    driving 89 mph in a 45 mph zone. The Athens-Clarke County Police officer pleaded with Carter to slow down -- and to tell his teammates to do the
    same.

    "Y'all need to slow down, dude," the officer said, continuing, "Your break
    is you're not going to jail. Because that would make all kinds of news,
    right?"

    Smart said his program brought in officers from the UGA Police Department
    and Athens-Clarke County Police last summer to educate players about the dangers of street racing. Smart said Bryant Gantt, the program's director
    of player support operations, suggested it after watching news clips of
    street racing in Atlanta.

    If Georgia's players didn't listen to the warning then, Smart is hoping
    they will learn from the tragedy on Jan. 15.

    "I mean, there [are] laws in place for these things, to prevent it for a reason," Smart said. "And we want to educate our players in every way,
    every part of our organization. We're constantly looking for a better way
    in whatever that is, health and safety included. I talked about drugs and alcohol, talked about gambling, talked about racing in cars and high
    speeds. You have to educate your players and you have to make sure they understand the risks and dangers of that, and that's something that we've
    tried to do."

    <https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/35777437/kirby-smart- defends-georgia-culture-fatal-crash-arrests>

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Michael Falkner@21:1/5 to All on Fri Mar 3 17:54:55 2023
    Anyone think there's a coincidence that they've won the last two Nattys, this year's by (largely) a wide margin, and a "culture problem" which includes weed for the star quarterback and double vehicular manslaughter for the star defensive player?

    Nah.

    Mike

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)