Why I can’t be mad at A.J. Green

I’ll be honest. My first reaction when I heard of A.J. Green’s four-game suspension was one of anger.

And it wasn’t because Green owes any of us anything. I want to see the guy play because he’s a great player. And when there is a big game like Saturday’s between Georgia and South Carolina I want both teams to have all of their weapons. I love college football and I want to see great players play. And we’ve got too many guys who are not playing right now because of NCAA rules violations.

No, I was angry at A.J. because it seems so unnecessary. Early next year A.J. Green is going to be a very wealthy man because he is going to turn pro. So the money was coming. A.J. is a smart kid and he knew that there is no level where selling his jersey for a lousy $1,000 bucks was not a rules violation. The risk/reward/punishment equation for doing this just didn’t add up.

If this NCAA ruling stands (three more games on suspension), and it shouldn’t because it’s excessive, what should be an unforgettable junior season for Green will be forever tainted with “Yeah, he was good but he missed four games.” That made me sad and, at first, angry.

But I learned a long time ago that it’s easy for us adults to wag our fingers and say “Hey, those are the rules. You gotta follow them.” We’re not in the kid’s shoes. We don’t have to watch while the schools fill the stadiums, accept millions from television and make more millions from selling his jersey (with his name on it) while the system pats us on the head and assures us that our day is coming if we’ll only be patient. We really only learn that kind of patience as an adult. Youth, by its very defintion, is not patient.

Understand that the NCAA makes these rules not to regulate what actually happens, like one kid selling a jersey for $1,000. The rules are in place to control what COULD happen–like a kid selling 500 jerseys (provided to him by an agent) for $1,000 each. The NCAA punishes the nickle and dime stuff in hopes of preventing something really big and bad from happening.

When Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant lied to investigators about his relationship with Deion Sanders, the NCAA banned him for the rest of his junior season. Bryant was not truthful but was his lie REALLY that bad? Well, no but the move sent a chilling message to other athletes: Lie to NCAA investigators and you’re done. That message was received and understood. Now before every interview with the NCAA the kid has the fear of God put in him. That was by design.

Yes, the financial end of college athletics is certainly to the benefit of the schools. It’s all one big double standard, we know that. But certain things are just a blatant slap in the face to these guys. The fact that A.J. Green may lose a third of his junior season for selling a jersey while the University Bookstore sells a bunch of them is a double slap. It’s the establishment telling these kids: We can make money off your talent and fame in every damn way we please. If you try it, though, we’ll use the rules to take you out and to keep you in line.

The NCAA enforcement people have been working overtime this summer trying to keep a lid on a bunch of these issues from Agent Gate to Hotel Gate. At the core of all of them is a system where the athletes realize on a daily basis that they are getting a raw deal. They get to the point where they don’t care any more. It’s “hey, if they catch me they catch me but I’m not taking this any more.”

  We as fans wonder where the loyalty is to the institution. But through the eyes of a young kid from modest or poor circumstances, that loyalty street seems to only run one way.

I don’t have a lot of answers for you this morning but I would suggest this: A school like Georgia should be able to sell all of the No. 8 jerseys it wants. The jersey and the number belong to the school.

But when some schools–and I am told that Georgia is not one of them–start putting name on the back on the jersey then you have crossed an ethical line. What the kid did on the field made that jersey more valuable than a generic one. He created that extra value and cannot share in it. So the school shouldn’t share in it either.

So let’s just end that practice. Is it a little thing in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely. But it would be one less slap in the face to a group of people who are getting tired of being pushed around.

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847 comments Add your comment

the real issues

September 9th, 2010
2:41 pm

1. The jersey was HIS jersey, his property.

2. Clearly the guy he sold it too wasn’t an agent at all. The pathetically broad and incoherent NCAA definition makes anyone that wears a college t-shirt an agent.

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:42 pm

bwahahahahaha, obviously there is no age restriction on these blogs. Or IQ for that matter.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
2:43 pm

North always beat the south

September 9th, 2010
2:34 pm
Q: What is Nick Satan’s biggest concern?
A: Does the NCAA count bail money as a recruiting
violation?
A lady in Tuscaloosa calls 911. Hysterically, she says,
‘Someone’s just broken into my house, and I think he’s going to rob me!’
The police officer says, ‘We’re really busy at the moment.
Just get the guy’s jersey number and we’ll get back to you.

North always beats the South,

That would be real funny except Alabama hasn’t had a player arrested in over a year. 13 months to be exact. I reckon you never let the facts get in the way of your argument.

it's never enough

September 9th, 2010
2:43 pm

Free, free, free, free, free. Football players, since that’s the athlete we are talking about, don’t have to worry about anything. NOTHING!!! Free education, free room and board, free meals, free usage of state of the art facilities and training, free books, free apparel, free rent if they live off campus. NOW we need to pay them as well?????

We going to pay all athletes? Hello, Title 9 mean anything to you people?? Where is the money going to come from to fund these stipends?

Geez...

September 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

the real issues

September 9th, 2010
2:41 pm
1. The jersey was HIS jersey, his property

And he has every legal right to do what he wants with it. However, NCAA eligibility rules state that he will be suspended if he sells it while still under scholarship. Those are the ORGANIZATION’S rules that he is playing under and he knew it.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
2:46 pm

the real issues,

The NCAA has a rule that is very clear on this issue and its a common sense issue as well. You can’t use your position as a college athlete to make money or receive any extra benefit that a regular student wouldn’t also otherwise be able to do. Also, the jersey is clearly not worth $1000. A couple hundred bucks maybe but as a person who has bought Alabama memorabilia I can tell you it aint nowhere near worth $1,000. That was just a payoff.

classy

September 9th, 2010
2:48 pm

Hey Nerds!!

Just be glad that up until this point your Ebonics speaking thugs haven’t been put under the microscope. Because we all know what would happen if the Tarrants, Johnsons, Balls and Nesbitts of the world were investigated.

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:49 pm

Ahh, Tide Rising, welcome to the party. Logic is not allowed in these Georgia blogs. I can hear all of the Georgia fans typing now – their predictable response will be that the police in Tuscaloosa and the Alabama football program are in lock step sweeping all the true infractions under the rug. And that its a conspiracy spearheaded by the Athens-Clarke County police department that has led to all of their players’ arrests. The poor Georgia student athletes are being targeted while any other school just sweeps EVERYTHING under the rug.

Groundhog day.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
2:50 pm

give me a break,

You proved both of those being nonexistent on here forever ago

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
2:50 pm

I heard they were also investigating Guthrie’s for excessive free chicken wing samples…

takedowndawg

September 9th, 2010
2:51 pm

vol fan, no AJ won’t be dropping out of UGA, transferring to tenn., lose a year of eligibility and be a superstar for dooley light. I am a life long Georgia football and I never cared for his daddy. I liked Erk. Did you notice that most of us Georgia alum did not support the statue idea for Dooley at our stadium. In the meantime, don’t be crying too many Crocodile Tears for AJ Green and our DAWGS. Beware.

william

September 9th, 2010
2:52 pm

To be honest, this might be a good thing. These should be the easy games, and AJ should be healthy for the hard SEC teams. Those are the games we need to win. We should be able to beat South Carolina we’ve got weapons all over the place, and to be honest as much as AJ is great its easy to telepath that Georgia qb’s want to throw to him. Now they don’t know who are favorite target is, and arkansas defense sucks anyways. Even if we lose to them though, we can still run the east, and play for SEC championship.

As for AJ, he messed up when he did it online. Too much of a paper trail

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
2:52 pm

its never enough,

I also listed all the free things that athletes get and I left out one thing that people never think about. Free publicity. By virtue of being a great football player an AJ Green type player gets boatloads of free promotion and marketing.

You can’t even put a price tag on how much free pub a player gets when ESPN shows highlight reels of a player or all the various media outlets show pics and write various articles and award various awards for performance. Its a free marketing machine that returns millions of dollars to premier athletes.

I can’t even count the number of times of seen Mark Ingram highlights on ESPN on sports illustrated, etc. How much would he have to come out of pocket for all that exposure if he had to pay for it all itself. Anyone ever think of that?

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:52 pm

Classy, yes, and all Georgia athletes must be world renowned orators that sound like Barack Obama in post game interviews.

the real issues

September 9th, 2010
2:53 pm

A payoff? He’s only the top athlete in college football. I’m sure a game worn jersey by the best athlete could easily sell for 1,000 bucks. Don’t kid yourself.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:52 pm
Classy, yes, and all Georgia athletes must be world renowned orators that sound like Barack Obama in post game interviews

They sound like Arab shiekhs?

Dawglasville

September 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

crackbaby – I don’t think there was a line of plantation owners wine and dining would be slaves to come and be a member of their plantations.

These kids are not forced to play college football. They could pick another sport. You don’t have to support college football. You can pick another sport. The current players can boycott. You can boycott the NFL until they change their draft rules. You have a choice. They have a choice. The black colleges could start their own league and pay players. If you play the game you have to live by the rules. If you buy a ticket, or the merchandise, or buy something from a sponser, you are a contributor. I wish those who think the current system is unfair would pull their muscle and do something about it. I think that the bigger problem is why are these kids allowing themselves to be used like that. Used by the NFL, the NCAA, the universities, their families, agents, friends, their high school coaches. Why don’t they want to step up and take care of themselves? Why are there not enough role models around to help them? Maybe you can step up and mentor some of these kids. You may already do that. I do not know. If you care enough about it then make steps to fix it.

Delbert D.

September 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

Who squealed is what I’d like to know.

mark

September 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

They do sound like Obama in post game interviews, without his teleprompter of course

gdawginkalamazoo

September 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

North beats South, yes that would be funny but when you are hired on as head coach at Bama you get sworn in as deputy undersheriff and a huge broom. This all helps to sweep things under the rug when scooter helments and feed bags go missing.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 9th, 2010
2:55 pm

Tide Rising, you know that I am just kidding!

what we've learned

September 9th, 2010
2:55 pm

give me a break is a clueless yech fan that is apparently a Communist that worships at the alter of the Messiah Obama. Yup, that about sums up yech fans nicely.

So Paid

September 9th, 2010
2:55 pm

Relax—UGA beats SC like a rented mule, even without AJ. This game will be over early, with the Dawgs getting a few picks from garcia who is terrible. Ga 33 SC 16

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

Tide Rising –
What is your read on the ALA-PSU game this week?
JoePa’s freshman QB surprises a few people and the D play stiff early but ALA makes adjustments at the half and wins by 10.

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

Yes, if I closed my eyes I would have sworn that AJ Green was the president himself. Separated at birth.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

the real issues

September 9th, 2010
2:53 pm
A payoff? He’s only the top athlete in college football

Ummm…no.

Mike Minor

September 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

TAKE THE SUSPENSION AWAY N-C-A-A! Let THE GREEN MACHINE PLAY!

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
2:57 pm

I knew give me a break was an idiotic bug fan, but a loony leftist headcase as well? You just keep digging your hole of humiliation and shame deeper don’t you little guy?

NCAA COPS

September 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

Xavier Jockstrap

September 9th, 2010
2:39 pm
Green “earned” the jersey, case closed. If he gave it to his. What if he gave it to a friend who sold it? I played in two non-BCS bowls (pre-BCS). I gave a bowl watch to my dad. He used to give me $20 after every home game. the fact the buyer was an agent means nothing. as you point out, Green will need an agent within the year. this is B.S. and I don’t even like UGA (ACC!)

Xavier,

Its obvious your institution gave you zero training on NCAA rules. What a foolish statement that the agent bought the jersey means nothing. That’s just plain dumb

reasonable

September 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

1. Yes, the NCAA is a member based organization and their rules are proposed and passed by them. I don’t dispute that. That does not make them perfect or right. My point is that the rules are way too complex, subject to misinterpretation as we have seen in recent years and in need of some change. Do you agree or disagree with my point?
2. I am a native born Georgian and have lived here my whole life. I have followed the Dawgs since 1958 when as a young kid in Athens, I got the unbridled joy of playing a YMCA football game on the field at Sanford Stadium. I received all of my education, including graduate degrees within Georgia and have spent my entire career within the state. The simple fact is that I became a diehard UGA fan before most of the people on this site were a gleam in their Daddys’ eyes.
To repeat, the changes in college football will require some look at modifying the NCAA rules in this area. I think AJ’s punishment, given what we know is too harsh and needs to be reduced.

the real issues

September 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

He’s not? He would most certainly be taken in a draft before your fake Heisman winner and your bust of a receiver Cornrows Jones

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

Didn’t vote for Obama and don’t particularly like him, but think he’s a pretty good public speaker that doesn’t appear to need “hooked on phonics” like most Georgia players.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

Cronrows Jones!!! LOL!!!! I love it!!!

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
2:56 pm
Tide Rising –
What is your read on the ALA-PSU game this week?
JoePa’s freshman QB surprises a few people and the D play stiff early but ALA makes adjustments at the half and wins by 10.

No Dareus, Upshaw nicked up. They will have a shot to move the ball through the air. Don’t think they have the athletes on D to run with Bama’s offense, though.

I say Bama wins 34-17 or so.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
3:00 pm

No, he just needs a teleprompter to tie his own shoes

Herb

September 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

Give Me A Break,

You want a good laugh? Youtube any interview Michael Johnson ever gave. I mean seriously, you expect me to believe he was taking and passing his own classes there at Tech for 5 years?

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

Gdawginkalamazoo,

I can’t be mad about a quip if its funny now can I?

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

yes, he must be the only politician that uses a teleprompter. Just like Georgia is the only program that doesn’t sweep off the field incidents under the rug.

Hoopie

September 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

It’s about fairness Tony. Only some of the player’s jerseys are worth buying. These are all amateurs. If some can sell jerseys for pocket change and others can’t, then where’s the fairness. When these guys go pro, then market demand can determine prices.

Delbert D.

September 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

NCAA regulations state “That student-athletes and their institutions must agree to the use of game performance video indirectly associated with commercial entities. “

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

You must not have seen Julio play healthy. Kid has been knicked up for the better part of two years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVV70efL26Q

max

September 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

The facts are, Julio has probably played in at least 6 more full games than AJ yet still isn’t within sniffing distance of any of his numbers.

NUFF SAID

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
3:02 pm

BAMA dude – 17 points is a heck of a spread over a PSU team

max

September 9th, 2010
3:03 pm

and AJ hasn’t? Try again friend. No comparison

Give me a break

September 9th, 2010
3:03 pm

Want a better laugh? Go youtube any interview that Leonard Pope ever did.

PMC

September 9th, 2010
3:03 pm

I agree with you Boo Boo.

Captain Obvious

September 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

Tony, you are angry because you a homer of the nth degree. This kid did wrong, knows he did wrong and most all college football players would also know that he did wrong. Playing with agents is like playing with fire. And stop whining about the “school makes millions while the kid gets nothing” crap. Last I checked he got a free education, gear, shoes, books, stipends, all for playing a game that he loves to play. The price tag on that is mind-boggling and many paying their own way would kill for what he has…yet wouldn’t screw it up. I cry no tears for AJ Green. You cheat, you lie, you get caught, you pay the price. You are really starting to show your true colors with this episode and the whole “worst call I’ve ever seen in my life” crap from the LSU game. You aren’t Mr. College Football. You are Mr. HOMER UGA writer. Get over it.

Coastal Dog (SSI)

September 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

What the cuss! Punish the real problem sports agents who make this happen — let’s say 1 to 5 year ban from doing business for agents and their companies — and the problem’s solved.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

Paul in RDU?

I’m expecting the same ole type of clash as we always have with Penn State. They’re always physical and tough and the game in general will be played close to the vest. I do think we have a big advantage in that they are starting a freshman qb and we will be able to open it up a little more with McElroy. All things being equal I would agree with you that we probably pull away late and win by 10. I do know Ingram won’t play and of course Dareus has to sit out another game. Oh well.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
3:04 pm

Paul, this is a MNC caliber SEC team though. Remember UF-OSU, LSU-OSU, etc.