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

tip

September 9th, 2010
4:42 pm

I’d be surprised if you are right. But I’d put my money on AJ if I had to

reasonable

September 9th, 2010
4:42 pm

Takedown – no need to apologize. I also listened to Munson even when I was in the stadium or watching the TV. I miss him and doubt we will find another like him. He was and is an original and I still remember “run Lindsay run,” and scaring the crap out of my boys when I went nuts over his call at the Auburn game on Greene to Johnson to win the game.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:43 pm

BAMA dude,
I’d have to agree with you on Peterson. He appears to have no weaknesses. AJ’s a great ballplayer, but I’d take Peterson first.

Ace

September 9th, 2010
4:43 pm

AJ would have sold his pre season national championship ring, but he had to give that one back.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:43 pm

Tell you what bayers. Count up your first day NFL draft picks from the last 10 years and tally up the GHSA recruits. Might surprise yourself.

Besides, the ability to recruit nationally is a positive last I checked…

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:43 pm

beast from the east,

The state of Georgia is annually ranked as a top 5 football production talent state by anybody and everybody that does recruiting.

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
4:44 pm

gdawgink’zoo -
PSU scheduled ALA in the 80’s when they were winning MNC’s all the time. They scheduled Miami in the 90’s when Miami was winning MNC’s regularly. They scheduled Nebraska not long after Nebraska came off back to back MNC’s (getting jobbed in 1994 is one of the reasons they scheduled Nebraska in 2002 and 2003).
I hardly think PSU scheduled ALA for 2010 and 2011 because they thought that ALA would be down.

Ace

September 9th, 2010
4:44 pm

So why do the GATORS own UGA?

bayers

September 9th, 2010
4:45 pm

Never said it was a negative. For a state like Alabama that has such few home grown talent it is a life line.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:45 pm

Tark the Shark,

That was hilarious. Especially that bit about our usual spot in football obscurity. More wins in the last 100 years of football than anybody. Yep. That’s pretty obscure. More bowl game appearances and bowl victories than anybody. Yep. That’s pretty obscure also. 7 poll championships since the polls started in 1936 second only to ND. Yep. That’s pretty obscure too. 22 sec titles, more than anyone. Does it get anymore obscure? More 10 win seasons than anyone in college football. Very obscure. A very obscure program indeed.

jerry

September 9th, 2010
4:45 pm

AJ will be a rich man someday. AJ will never be a smart rich man.

your answer

September 9th, 2010
4:46 pm

Ace –

Several reasons, mostly coaching. But the state of Florida is a hotter bed of football talent than Georgia.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:46 pm

Tark,
Your comments weren’t about recruiting, but about the state of Alabama in general. That’s what I was comparing. I think we all know Georgia is loaded with high school talent. But how much would that talent pool diminish minus Atlanta? Tons of those folks are tranplants from all over the country.

jerry

September 9th, 2010
4:47 pm

Tide Rising: Y’all have one hell of a focus on football over there, don’t you?

georgiadawgg

September 9th, 2010
4:48 pm

the ncaa is nothing but a racket. some old swiveled up old men trying to make a name for themselves. its a racket, and needs to be investigated.

anglo

September 9th, 2010
4:48 pm

Right. And the Bear didn’t cheat at all……

avolfan4u

September 9th, 2010
4:48 pm

You’re about to lose me, Tony. This smacks of the same “no standard” liberalism that is ruining America. Why isn’t a freaking free college education enough? No, this is the same story of Michael Vick and every good athlete out there: “I can break the rules because I am good.” And sadly, Tony, you are helping create these kids who don’t care the first thing about rules and standards. You tell them they’re victims instead of benefactors. Thanks for being part of the problem.

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:49 pm

But your comparison was stupid. Minus Atlanta? Yeah, lets just subtract one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the country from the equation for argument’s sake.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:50 pm

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:43 pm
beast from the east,

The state of Georgia is annually ranked as a top 5 football production talent state by anybody and everybody that does recruiting.

Yet the UGA football program is inconsistent as hell without an equal in-state rival (no slam there at GT- they recruit different kids in many cases). What does that say about Richt?

bawahahahahahaha!!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
4:50 pm

If it’s possible for anyone to get beat up via losing blogging debates, then someone better call the ambulance for Tide Rising!!!

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:51 pm

jerry

September 9th, 2010
4:47 pm
Tide Rising: Y’all have one hell of a focus on football over there, don’t you?

Hi, Jerry. Welcome to the FOOTBALL blog.

DIT

September 9th, 2010
4:51 pm

Thanks reasonable -
I appreciate you changing the subject. I was getting tired of all the other stuff outside of what the bolg was about and that was TB not being mad at AJ. Not a punch at Bama or any other SEC school, but I could care less about your coach and players. I say that because being a Dawg Alumnus, I’m concerned about what is going on with AJ and about my team.
I totally disagree with TB on this. As stated before this is AJ’s fault 100%. Just because he knew better. If the rule is right or wrong, it does not matter. The rule was in place and he knew it and now the Team and fans have to deal with his bad decision.

As for Munson, man I miss him a bunch. I was also one of thousand of Dawg people that would turn off the volume of the TV and listen to him instead. The best of them all ! Go Dawgs!

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:53 pm

Tark, I was raised in Gwinnett. He said Atlanta was different from the rest of the south, not necessarily better. It’s just bigger and more “developed”.

Give me Huntsville, Nashville, Charleston SC, or Birmingham (in that order) any day over Atlanta.

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:53 pm

You got me there. I can’t explain it. It’s definitely not for a lack of talent so that only leaves coaching. With has much talent that is in this state both UGA and Tech should each win at least 1 national title per decade. I’ve said that for years.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:54 pm

bayers,

Since you’re Patrick Sulley aka simple simon posting again under various handles once again please tell me what state Stafford, Moreno, and AJ played their high school football in.

What? You didn’t think it was obvious you using all these handles that we couldn’t figure you out.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:55 pm

Tark,
My point was that Georgia is much more similar to those other states than you want to admit. Many of the metro Atlantans are not natives, but you act like they were born and bred. Notice how the number of potential Div 1 recruits rose in places like Houston and Atlanta post Katrina? That’s all I’m saying. You are the one that wanted to bash the state of Alabama. They’re your neighbor and should be treated with the same respect that you would like to receive. Maybe that’s just too much for you to understand.

SSIgator

September 9th, 2010
4:55 pm

Tide Rising -

I saw one of your earlier posts about the player benefits, but at UGA it goes a little further. The players get:

Happy Hour all day long at the Athens bars.

Bail posted and free legal services.

Swimming day instead of football practice.

Free tanning sessions at Richts tanning salon.

Free spray on tan for those who need more.

Free personal grooming at Richts hair stylist.

Free dance routine lessons before game day.

Free fashion consultations to chose game day unis.

Free driver education lessons.

Free name memory courses.

Free Richt endorsed sunglasses.

And last but not least; free unlimited red panties.

Melky

September 9th, 2010
4:57 pm

And notice how violent crime went up in Houston and Atlanta post Katrina.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:58 pm

SSI Gator,
How about show some class every now and then, will ya? If you’re going to claim to be a Gator, then at least try and ACT like one, please.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:58 pm

Tech will never attract the type of recruits a big time SEC program can. It’s just not a priority- they don’t have the facilities, atmosphere, etc. Other than LA you don’t find many big time football schools in major cities.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:58 pm

Melky,
You said it, not me!

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:59 pm

Beast and Bama dude,

As a subject change I’ll go with Patrick Peterson being the best player in college football. The return yardage against UNC plus he’s probably the best corner in America. I can see that.

gerogiabase

September 9th, 2010
4:59 pm

AJ got caught – I am sure players are told many times over, what and what not to do. He made the choice to sell the jersey.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
5:00 pm

Orlando too on the Katrina fugitives. Check their crime stats….

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
5:01 pm

Peterson is a stud- wish we had him. But we have our share. 8)

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
5:03 pm

BAMA dude – to expound on your comment of not many big time football schools in major cities – look at cities that have NFL teams. LA has no NFL team. The local schools don’t get the crowds. UM is the only “powerhouse” I can think of in an NFL city and they don’t draw.
The Bear was smart to fight to keep the pros out of Birmingham.

garrydawg

September 9th, 2010
5:05 pm

It is amazing that the universities pay other students to work various
jobs around school, cannot compensate players for their time.

Ga fans

September 9th, 2010
5:06 pm

are just envious, they know that Alabama is going to repeat as NC after beating South Carolina in the SEC championship game

For What It Worth

September 9th, 2010
5:06 pm

Why should the SEC be held to a higher standard of who they play, when BSU can play 9 or 10 cupcakes and steal play for the National Championship.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
5:06 pm

It’s a shame the guys on the defensive side don’t get the love in the Heisman voting that the skill players on offense do. I think we all know defense wins championships most years.

SSIgator

September 9th, 2010
5:08 pm

Beast from the East -

Class? The only classes I thought UGA players went to were DUI and remedial reading classes. I guess we all learned something new today.

Delbert D.

September 9th, 2010
5:09 pm

Paul in RDU – I thought the discussion was on quality of HS programs, maybe not. I’d think Dallas/Arlington/Ft. Worth would figure in there for high school areas.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
5:09 pm

Beast,

That’s just SSIgator’s MO. His specialty is razzing the dawg fans. I read the dawg blawg every day just to see how SSIgator is gonna taunt them on that particular day. Its almost as funny as when Nachos flames the AU fans.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
5:10 pm

SSIgator…

You’re a tool.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
5:10 pm

SSIgator,
Give it a rest. Do you stop and make fun of people on the side of the road when they get into a wreck? This stuff happens everywhere. Take a look at the “all-time” standings in the Fulmer Cup. Our beloved UF is #3. Once again, give it a rest, please.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
5:11 pm

Beast,

See what I mean? Another zinger from SSIgator. How can you not be laughing at that one.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
5:11 pm

Delbert this is a new one. See my 4:58.

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
5:12 pm

Delbert – I thought the comment had to do with big city colleges not being football powerhouses

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
5:12 pm

Later, gents. It’s been fun…

Delbert D.

September 9th, 2010
5:16 pm

I’m on track now, and thinking about it…