Grantham should be suspended and fined–now

The University of Georgia, led by President Michael Adams, should run the school’s football program the way it sees best. Dr. Adams delegates that task to his athletics director, Greg McGarity, and his head football coach, Mark Richt.

But if I’m in charge at Georgia, three things would happen today:

 **–Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be informed that he’ll be watching Saturday’s game with Idaho State from somewhere other than Sanford Stadium.

**–His wallet will also be considerably lighter because I’m taking a sizable chunk of his $750,000 salary.

**–He would know, in no uncertain terms, that if he ever repeated the behavior in question again and it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, he would be fired on the spot.

It took a couple of days to sort out but the facts are no longer in dispute. Grantham, Georgia’s first-year defensive coordinator, did something in the Georgia-Florida game that is so far over the line that it can’t even be debated. He gave a student-athlete from another school, Florida kicker Chas Henry, the choke sign as Henry was preparing to kick the game winning field goal. Grantham was caught in a screen capture and the image went viral in no time at all.  Jeff Schultz showed you the video where Henry told Tracy Wolfson of CBS that coaches on the Georgia sidelines were telling him that he was going to choke.

Since the first posting of this before 8 a.m. it has come to my attention that there was some taunting going on from both sides. In other words, Grantham was provoked and lost his cool. In other words, he took the bait.

Okay. It has been duly noted. Every story has has two sides. I got it. 

Still, this is totally unacceptable on any level. And I don’t want to hear this “heat of competition” crap from anybody. I don’t care how intense a game is. A coach does not attempt to intimidate a student-athlete from another school. You don’t do it. Period. I don’t care what the other side is doing.

This not about competition or the intensity of the Georgia-Florida rivalry. This is about the adults in charge acting like adults. Georgia fans complain to me all the time that they think Mark Richt’s program doesn’t have enough discipline. If the adults can’t control themselves how in the hell do we expect the players to do it?

Now in fairness I have to say that I have yet to meet Todd Grantham. He may well be a perfectly fine fellow. I hear that he is. His defense is starting to play better. They might play better still if he would concentrate on coaching them instead of trying to harrass players from another team.

This is unacceptable and embarrassing for the University of Georgia. Grantham said Tuesday wants to “move on.” I’m sure he does because he knows he screwed up big time.

But before Mr. Grantham moves on he is going to apologize to Chas Henry and apologize to the University of Florida. Then he’s going to apologize to the University of Georgia for embarrassing the institution on a national stage.

Then he will accept a one-game suspension and a fine and keep his mouth shut.

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Barnhart and Durham: Today we are joined by Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies host Georgia Tech on Thursday night. Join us at 10 a.m. on www.790thezone.com.

1,919 comments Add your comment

H.Obama

November 3rd, 2010
11:03 am

TONY THIS IS A NO STORY. DON’T YOU CARE HOW I FEEL THIS MORNING? DID YOU SEE THE ELECTION RESULTS? THESE VOTERS ARE GIVING ME THE CHOKE SIGN AND I AM MR PERFECT. SEE MY SMILE. NO SMILE THIS MORNING TONY. SPEND YOUR TIME ON THINGS OF MORE SUBSTANCE NOT ON WHAT SOME FOOTBALL COACH DID. GROW UP LITTLE MAN. THE COACH DIDN”T POKE SOME ONE IN THE EYES OR FORCE A STIMULAS PACKAGE ON YOU DID HE? REPENT REJOICE AND BE HAPPY YOU ARE ALIVE. OTHER THAN THIS STUPID ARTICLE YOU ARE DOING ALRIGHT. HAVE A GREAT DAY.

WesDawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:03 am

Disagree. Atleast Gratham has balls and wants to win. Chas can’t have it both ways, gator chomp and gester toward our sideline after making his earlier attempt then gets his panties in a wad when someone responds. The gator chomp is the most offensive gesture in football and Florida gets a pass from the SEC. It’s taunting pure and simple and is almost always aimed at opposing players and coaches. These are men not 12yr olds playing for both sides. Piss on them if they’re offended about the choke sign.

BDawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:03 am

Lighten-up, Tony. It’s refreshing to have a coach with this much passion. As Dawg fans, we all wanted Chas Henry to choke. I was yelling – imploring – for him to choke. That’s being a fan; not crossing the bounds of sportsmanship. I saw Urban Meyer sling his arms in the air when Murray threw the pick a minute before that. What’s the difference? Where’s your column asking for Meyer’s suspension and firing? Whatever. You just lost cred, IMO.

Hunker Down

November 3rd, 2010
11:04 am

The overall concensus from what I read is it is time to move on. I am hearing this from both sides.

Jack Spratt

November 3rd, 2010
11:05 am

Chris Rainey never “threatened to kill his girlfriend.” He said he thought she should be dead, he didn’t say he would make sure that happened. Maybe it would happen by illness, maybe by a car accident, who knows. But he certainly never said “I’m going to kill you” or words of that import.

Greg

November 3rd, 2010
11:05 am

When Myer is reprimanded for allowing Chris Rainey to ever don a gator uniform again, then I’ll think about reprimanding Grantham. You are blowing hot air, as usual.

What’s worse? Giving the choke sign, or barely reprimanding one of your players for trying to blind an opponent??? Myer and Florida are hypocrites on this.

RealDawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

I am an adult and I was shouting “newnan” and doing the choke sign myself. Next time, I will just sit and grin and say “oh golly gosh darn”. Get real.

katherine

November 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

G8R GRAD
November 3rd, 2010
11:01 am

katherine:

“Yes its very immature behavior for sure….just like the gators doing the chomp to uga.”

You miss the point.
UF players giving the Gator Chomp is a far cry from the number two man on your coaching staff yelling “You’re gonna fu(king CHOKE” to a 20 year old kid.

It’s a GAME, for crying out loud!

Exactly! It is a game…and saying you are going to choke to a 20 year old adult is part of it. Geesh….chill out already. It really is not that big of a deal IMO. I think underage drinking, traffic arrests, threatening to actually kill someone are things to worry about and work on.

Dawgie Howser, MD

November 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

Instant Karma killed the Dawgs- suspend him for bringing bad mojo to UGA… Again!

ga gator

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

Wes, Chaz never complained, he laughed during the interview. I actually think Grantham helped motivate him. It should be a non story.

Ron Smith

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

This mole hill is big enough. Give it a rest. GO GATORS!

modawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

I don’t remember Urban apologizing for calling time out last year, when the game had been over for quite awhile. MR did apoligize, but I guess that’s different. You see coaches all over the screen on Saturdays stomping up and down the sidelines and getting in their players faces (and they win), but Georgia has higher level they have to meet. I think we should fire them all and go get some people from the church choir. We are in a football conference, but nobody wants us to “go to war” on Saturdays. We should just “all get along” while we’re losing.

Mobile Dawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

If there was nothing wrong with the gesture accompanied by obscenities why does Richt say, it shouldn’t have happened? Why does CTG regret doing it?

If CTG stands up like a man, apologizes, it’s over.

If CMR stands up like a man, admits he’s done a poor job, and outlines what he intends to do to fix our problems we might look at giving him some time to straighten HIS mess out.

Think we ever hear anything that sounds like a man admitting his shortcomings? We get nothing but lip service from the regime in Athens. I’m still “furious”, and “disgusted”.

nofairweather

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

I agree 100% Tony. This may be the one thing that makes me feel embarrassed to be a Georgia football fan. I can handle the tough season and even the player arrests, because let’s face it, kids will be kids. By no means am I saying that it’s OK for the players to misbehave and get into trouble. However, it is expected that in each group of guys, you’re going to have a few trouble-makers. That’s just life. But for a 44-year-old coach, who is supposed to be setting an example for his players during a tough time for the program, to act this way is inexcusable. He should be penalized. He should be given a solid warning informing him that if he ever does anything even remotely out of line again, he will be fired on the spot. Nuff’ said.

BAMA dude

November 3rd, 2010
11:07 am

RealDawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:06 am
I am an adult and I was shouting “newnan” and doing the choke sign myself. Next time, I will just sit and grin and say “oh golly gosh darn”. Get real.

Just to be clear, you are on the UGA payroll and walk the sidelines representing the school and athletic program?

Bill Clinton

November 3rd, 2010
11:08 am

Jack Spratt- I guess it depends on how define “is”

Everyone with common sense

November 3rd, 2010
11:08 am

Real Journalism.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/16344/fact-and-fiction-in-choke-gate

Guess that’s why Low is at ESPN and you’re at the AJC Barnhart.

reservoirDAWG

November 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

This is an asinine article TB. Goodbye.

BottomFeeders

November 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

And this is surprising how?

This is just another in a long of embarrassments to this school. From the #1 Party School ranking to the string of arrests to the Fulmer Cup to Damon Evans’ DUI to this pathetic coach, UGA is the laughing stock of college football. And winning out won’t change that.

The Daddy

November 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

People who have issues with this are the one’s who have never played a sport. Stay behind your desk and let T.G. coach. This is a non – issue that is getting way to much air time. The coaches need to get the players ready for Aub. and G.T. That is where the focus should be not on some petty choke sign.
The Daddy

I'm a man, I'm 40

November 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

You all are comparing CTG’s actions to those of a 20 year old. The coaches have a responsibility to be role models for their athletes. Rainey was punished for his actions, Todd Grantham should as well.

G8R GRAD

November 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

Thanks to Coach Grantham’s antics, you Dawg fans can think about it while you’re fishing and the rest of us go post-season Bowling!

ClinchPanther

November 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

barnhart you are such a whiny baby. it is part of the game. i dont care of the entire florida team had made a choke sign while uga was kicking. what is the big deal? grow up you bunch of whiners!!!

BAMA dude

November 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

They’re calling this “choke-gate”? I really wish someone would pull a scheme that rivals Watergate so we could give the “-gate” suffix a rest. It’s tired, real tired.

SECfan1976

November 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

Tony you have got to be kidding me. I have noticed a few people who have said you have lost them as readers. Consider me one of them. You are blowing this up to be a bigger issue than it actually is. If I was a UGA fan, I would want my D coordinator to have some fire under his belly (unlike Willie Martinez). He obviously made a mistake. I believe a bigger travesty was letting Chris Rainey play in that game. If I were a coach I would have booted him off the team in a second. There is a difference here because Grantham made a mistake in the heat of the moment. Urban had plenty of time to sit around and think about whether to keep Chris Rainey and he made an awful decision to keep this troubled player on his team.

PMC

November 3rd, 2010
11:11 am

Anyone making $750,000 should have a lot more sense and a lot more tact than to do that knowing where he is. He deserves to get fined for acting like a jackass.

Know who you are and where you are. You simply cannot behave like that when you represent a University.

Hunker Down

November 3rd, 2010
11:11 am

Was CTG a bit over the top on this…yes. But as a Dawg faithful you got to love a coach who has some fire and brimstone about him. Not a wet dish cloth. Think CTG got the message now coach let’s go out and beat Idaho State and show something to the Dawg Nation with some stellar defense.

Ken Pyles

November 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

I agree 100% with Tony Barnhart’s directives. UGA should win or lose with class. Nothing less should be tolerated for one instant. Lets allow our talented players to defeat Idaho State, Auburn, and Tech, if they can, without such classless demonstrations from any coach, much less a Coordinator. 1973, 1977, 1979 Alumni.

G8R GRAD

November 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

katherine:

“. . . threatening to actually kill someone are things to worry about and work on.”

Now you’re reacting just like the other morons on this blog!
Yours is an indefensible position, period.
(Oh, and have you seen the arrest record of your beloved Dawgs recently?
Those who live in galss houses, . . .)

Michael J Fox

November 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

This entire situation has left me skaken

jtdawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

BAMA dude -

Maybe you are correct. Maybe he shouldn’t have. But is this really an issue with adults on a football field, one of the most violent, physically and mentally challenging sports? I don’t think so. Too sensitive.

Maybe it’s just disrespectful, like sending all your players out to celebrate a touchdown. But this? Just too sensitive. Please don’t heckle little Billy….

b

November 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

From a Ga. fan, and this was a totally classless act by Grantham.
IMO, the penalty should be worse for him. There is absolutely no excuse for what he did.

BAMA dude

November 3rd, 2010
11:14 am

Wow, Ken, you did a lot of schoolin’. What’s your field?

PMC

November 3rd, 2010
11:14 am

The guy should have been a lot more angry at his players for thier poor tackling and allowing 31pts. The Choke Sign… come on man, if you’re going to act like a fan get in the stands. He is charged with ensuring the other team doesn’t score 31 pts….instead he’s worried about a 19 year old punter beating him with a 35 yard kick.

How about building a defense worth a crap for 750K coach?

ga gator

November 3rd, 2010
11:14 am

Michael J Fox

LMAO, priceless!!!

PTC DAWG

November 3rd, 2010
11:14 am

BS…just plane BS.

We are too PC in this Country.

True DAWG

November 3rd, 2010
11:15 am

this is a bad article TB-good way to loose faithful readers- He was just trying to get in the kickers head and it didnt work- Surely you got better things to write on then to dwell on this. What about what to do about Richt 2-8 against FL?

Barack Dawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:15 am

Who cares what you think? No one is writing about how a player told his girlfriend time to die and he gets to play in the damn game and even further told her with the cops there – what is she going to do when the cops leave. He apologized so he gets back on the team and all that BS. Glad to see he was into the game and in the heat of the moment.

Screw CUM and the Gators!

moot point

November 3rd, 2010
11:15 am

It didn’t work, just like his defense. $750,000 and he is reduced to a last second cheerleading stunt hoping for the other team to screw up.

ga gator

November 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

The more hits Tony gets on his blog, the more money he makes. We are helping him get rich, I am out.

Mutt Nonsense

November 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

Mobile Dawg,

Thank you sir. Last post gives me confidence that the majority of UGA fans are not being represented here.

Excellent post as usual.

G8R GRAD

November 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

Oh, the hipocrasy!

OldFan

November 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

No doubt it was a no-class act, and I’m sorry it happened at my university, but it’s not worthy of a suspension and fine. When it comes to punishing misbehavior on the field, on the sidelines, in the stands, or in front of my TV, there’s a whole lot more that I’d be worried about.

Old Yeller

November 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

No surprise, Tony, at the reaction of most of those posting here. Unfortunately, Coach Grantham and his actions epitomize what most of us on the outside perceive as the “Bulldog Nation.” How can anyone expect students/players to show more discipline, when their leaders behave as we have seen this year. Lack of decisive action on the part of UGA administration underscores the real problem–anything goes in UGA Athletics, as long as we win (at the #1 Party School in the nation!). Such things are ultimately self-correcting, as I suspect will be the case this year in football: 4-5 on the way to 5-7. Losing is the only thing UGA won’t tolerate.

katherine

November 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

Has it been overblown some? Perhaps. Anybody who’s been on a sideline in an SEC football game knows that things are done and said all the time that are lot worse than what Grantham did. The difference here is that he was caught on camera doing it.
Is it possible that Henry might have helped ignite the situation by saying some things to people on the Georgia sideline first? Yes, there have been rumblings of that coming from the Georgia camp.

And, finally, is it possible that the Florida-Georgia rivalry is simply one of those nasty rivalries that brings out the worst in people? I’ll answer this last question with a few of my own. Didn’t the Brandon Spikes’ eye-gouging incident happen in this game a year ago? Didn’t Meyer call two timeouts in the final seconds of a 49-10 rout just to rub it in two years ago? Didn’t Georgia’s whole sideline race into the end zone and start dancing, at the behest of Richt, and draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Bulldogs’ first touchdown three years ago?

This is from the espn article……… no one is blameless in this…and it’s being overblown IMO. Move on now….

Greg B.

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

You are taking this a too little far, don’t you think? It ’s an emotional game and IT happens. Frankly, I am glad to see some emotion on the sidelines. Players feed off that. I am disappointed, sounds like something Paul Finebaum would say.

BAMA dude

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

jtdawg, I’m not saying he should be canned and I’m not sure I agree with Tony’s article regarding appropriate punishment. My response is to the 80% on here who don’t seem to get why this should be a big deal. Put it this way- you think any mothers of sons who are great HS football players but lack some maturity will approve of this behavior? I could absolutely see this having some effect on his ability to recruit.

Nancy Pelosi

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

I am the devil.

jtdawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

These same “kids” who are so offended, could also be in a war zone, being unfortunately injured or killed, in service to this country, whatever the agenda may be, yet this is such a travesty, people need to be fined and suspended over?

These players bretheren are sacrificing themselves for something much more important than a game, and could be doing the same themselves. For you, me, Tony, Jeff or any of us. Paying the ultimate price. Yet we should never hurt their feelings like this – it might destroy them.

Whatever … what a complete joke this is.

Mobile Dawg

November 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

I don’t see the correlation between political correctness, and lack of class.