SEC punishes players, but why no reprimand for coaches?

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin stated his case to Mark Richt after the game.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin stated his case to Mark Richt after the game.

(Updated with SEC statement on coaches.)

Georgia’s attempt to achieve a rare exacta — 1) beat Florida; 2) win the SEC East — just got a little more difficult.

The SEC, in an expected move, has suspended two Bulldogs defensive starters — safety Shawn Williams and nose tackle Kwame Geathers — for their actions in last week’s victory over Vanderbilt. Each must sit out the first half of the Florida game. Also suspended for a half was Vandy center Logan Stewart.

Meanwhile, the conference chose not to act on the actions of Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham or Vandy head coach James Franklin. That’s odd. It sends mixed messages.

This is not to suggest either Grantham or Franklin should have suspended, and a conference spokesman wasn’t even aware if there is precedent for a coach being fined for an on-field action. But the minimum of  a public reprimand certainly seemed in order.

I sent an email to SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom asking why there was no publish discipline of any kind for Grantham and Franklin. This was his emailed response: “Matter handled internally between league office and schools.”

Coaches should be held to at least as high a standard as players. Actually, higher. They are the adults in this scenario, at least theoretically.

As for the impact of the suspensions: The Dogs’ defense has improved this season — notwithstanding a poor second half against Vanderbilt — so the loss of Williams and Geathers, even just for a half, hurts. Williams has been one of the defense’s best players, but was flagged for a flagrant personal foul in the third quarter. Geathers drew two personal fouls, one stemming from a punch at Stewart, who clipped him from behind.

Williams reportedly also was one of the initial sparks to the post-game scrum involving the two teams. Various videos from news sites have popped up, the most recent indicating that Williams was popping off after the game to Franklin, who then returned verbal fire, which brought Grantham into it. Then things exploded.

WSMV television in Nashville released raw video footage on Tuesday that showed a post-game conversation between Franklin and Georgia coach Mark Richt, who apologizes to the Vandy coach for the actions of Williams and Grantham (while also calling each a name).

Suffice to say, Richt did not intend for those comments to become public, even if he probably was right.

Here’s the transcript from the news video:

Franklin: “36 comes up, after a tough game, talking **** to me!

Richt: “Okay.”

Franklin: “Rubbing our face in it right after the game!”

Richt: “He’s a dumb***.”

Franklin: “And then your coach when I tell him about it, then he goes after me and the fight starts.”

Richt: “That’s what I thought happened, I apologize. It’s horse **** horse ****.”

Then coach Franklin finds another coach to express his feelings to.

Franklin: ” Hey, 36 after a tough game, come over and going to talk **** in my face after the game. That’s NOT how my guys do it!”

Here’s a link to the video.

This is two strikes for Grantham, including last year’s episode when he gave multiple choke signs to a Florida place kicker. But there has been no official statement from the school, and athletic director Greg McGarity has only referred to Richt’s post-game comments, in which the coach expressed regret for the way his team acted after the win.

On the field, the Dogs definitely will take a hit in the first half against Florida next week. But they take a hit off the field as well.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

724 comments Add your comment

Bright Idea

October 19th, 2011
2:05 pm

And Penn Wagers will show up in J’ville to finish off the SEC dirty work and AJC will crucify UGA win or lose.

outkasted

October 19th, 2011
2:05 pm

how many more articles will this dude write about this vandy situation…. talk about beating a dead horse…

08fx4

October 19th, 2011
2:06 pm

Schultz, you gonna ride the horse all week ?

Dog Island Gator

October 19th, 2011
2:07 pm

II’ll take that bet Go Gators Go

Dean Tate

October 19th, 2011
2:08 pm

Mixed messages? How’s this for a mixed message: Nick Fairly gets off scott-free for spearing Aaron Murray in the back, yet Geathers and Williams get half-game suspensions for less. Splain that, please.

Jeff

October 19th, 2011
2:08 pm

I certainly do not here Richt calling anyone a name on that video. This is shoddy reporting.

GTT

October 19th, 2011
2:09 pm

Jim S.

October 19th, 2011
2:09 pm

I think Coach Richt was just trying to calm the situation down. I also think he expects his players and coaches to act with class. About the most angry the man has been publicly is when the players were seemingly jumping on the Vanderbilt logo after winning a game a few years ago. I agree with Coach Richt that we have expectations that our players and coaches will represent the institution in a manner in which we all can be proud. I don’t think he was giving Coach Franklin a pass. I’m coming to the conclusion that Franklin needs to apologize as well. It’s not his job to address UGA players directly and that’s what likely had Coach Grantham stirred up…it’s an afront to do such a thing. Franklin has his own history concerning temperment.

That said….Go Dawgs!

just sayin'

October 19th, 2011
2:09 pm

shultz…any details on what franklin said to grantham?..or did you even ask that?

P_The_Ricker

October 19th, 2011
2:10 pm

is that true? has penn wager’s crew been assigned the uga/uf game?? the fix will definitely be on then!

chiefdawg

October 19th, 2011
2:12 pm

Richt needs to resign today.

P_The_Ricker

October 19th, 2011
2:12 pm

Schultz has burned all bridges in this town….so he has to get details/comments from out of town reporters and media outlets.

sad, really!

yeah c'mon

October 19th, 2011
2:13 pm

Can we be done with this?

Herman Cain

October 19th, 2011
2:15 pm

I would invoke my 9 9 9 plan. 9 month suspension, fined 9 months pay and say I’m sorry 9 times.

Vain Jangling

October 19th, 2011
2:16 pm

If 36 didn’t know he is a dumba$$, he does now.

pmc

October 19th, 2011
2:16 pm

In fairness, 36 is a freaking idiot who is killing his team with silly penalties… but Logan Stewart should have been ejected for that clip.

Total, complete punk move.

randy ray

October 19th, 2011
2:16 pm

richt is such a spineless wuss,stand up for your boys you coward

@CRuleSportsGuy

October 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

This whole issue will be ‘done’ with after this weekend’s Fla.-Ga. game, and if Grantham ever learns to act like an adult. Until then, it isn’t finished, nor should it be – it’ll hang over Grantham’s name every time it’s mentioned for a while, at least. And if Georgia loses this game, and thereby their shot at the SEC East title, then this incident will hover all offseason.

Dawg Fud

October 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

Can we move on with life now? Please?

#36

October 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

Thanks, coach. ‘Preciate that.

durrtydog

October 19th, 2011
2:18 pm

Here we go again. AJC just won’t let it die. I can understand Nashville still talking about it. They have nothing to do anyway. This was the most excitement Vanderbilt had in years unless you talk about one of the nerds blowing up the chemistry lab. Now, let’s really talk. I have read so many reports about this incident. I just finished reading the response from Kwames dad. To me, I think this was more sensational journalism that brought forth these suspensions than anything. You guys on here are pathetic at times and in due time, your readers will have the last say. It seems to me, everyone wants to jump on GA. GA is the bully. GA is the wild and crazy bunch. It can’t be those guys in Nashville. NOOOOO! Please. What you have failed to mention in any of your blogs is the fact that Vandergirls coach went after a college player. I could care less what some video department in a country city has to offer. I mean, come on. In this day and age, video can be altered in any way to prove a point. People that were there have said numerous times that Vandergirls coach started it. So why all the hate for Grantham? Why? Why when Saban gets fired up its not a big deal? Muschamp is mad every game and they have video evidence to support it but yet you guys never talk about that. I had to find out on sports illustrated site that he was called out for his numerous outbursts. Coaches get fired up. It was a lot of things in that game that was wrong from both sides. Continuing to act like GA is the only reason this incident flared up is irresponisble journalism. Common sense tells you it was more to it that Grantham just going off. All game long they were taking illegal shots at GA players. So of course GA started doing the same and thats why tempers were heated. Then you add it was a long, close game and it made things worse. I laughed at Vandergirls Coach talking about what Williams said to him after the game sounding like a little woman. Man please. Thats a kid. Regardless of what was said, you don’t talk to kids. You talk to another adult. Don’t wait until you almost get that tail wooped to run and try to tell boss. Oh your player and coach hurt my feelings. Please please coach control your team!! Nah, playa. Tell him the truth. Tell him how you went after a player and when he responded you wanted to go rat him out. But you learned quick that you picked the wrong coach to tell. Im glad most of us can see through this garbage that you guys are writing about this incident. Im very disappointed in the coverage of this issue by OUR journalists. Just stick to the facts. Oh and I saw how you tried to play up the way Richt called out Williams and Grantham. That’s sad. Im sure Williams has been called worse than that. Stop making non issues relevant.

RunningDog

October 19th, 2011
2:20 pm

You’re a good guy, Jeff, but you’re overreacting. To suggest that Grantham should be punished for defending a player getting cursed out by an opposing coach is a bit much. Franklin acted like a child. Williams may have been out of line, but he should not address opposing players.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 19th, 2011
2:23 pm

McGarity is going after the Florida AD and Adams is going to take out the UF president. That should get things started for Coach Grantham. I know all our fans are saying it’s just emotion but it looked a lot like Coach Grantham was going to get into somebody’s else’s doughnuts to me. I was a well behaved mascot but next week Coach Grantham is encouraging me to bite somebody. I can’t say for sure but some of our players may be packing heat in Jacksonville. This is the new image we are trying to project and it seems to be working. Most of our lawbreaking in the past has been off-field. I think some on-field offenses (felonies) will liven things up.

Chief Nocahoma

October 19th, 2011
2:23 pm

What if they cancelled an NBA season and nobody came?

rally

October 19th, 2011
2:23 pm

You redneck DAWG fans are beyond hope. The one guy with class is Mark Richt who is able to admit and apologize for the UGA thuggery. You castigate him and praise that raving lunatic Goon Grantham. Please GO DAWGS…. right out of the SEC. We don’t need your ilk around here.

Pitbull

October 19th, 2011
2:24 pm

Why no reprimand for coaches?

Why no reprimand for dirtbag sports writers?

Got a suggestion for you Jeff. Why don’t you just quit writing about Georgia? Just turn your back and lets go our separate ways. Oh. I know why. Because you need Georgia a lot more than they need you which is not at all. You are a bottom feeder that makes your money pimping out college sports.

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:26 pm

Outkasted, 08fx4 — It’s called commenting on the news. That’s my job. You don’t like it? Click elsewhere.

59bulldawg

October 19th, 2011
2:27 pm

OK I grant you that Grantham should have handled it better. But I’d rather we say nothing at all than call one of our own players a dumb***. Richt just took Franklin’s word for what happened! Where’s the family that Richt preaches about? And since when did CMR get a “potty mouth”? LOL! Isn’t that sort of thing what CMR calls an energy vampire? If Grantham was defending Williams after watching his noseguard get cut blocked, I think he had a right to be upset. Richt had sure better find a way to fire up the team between now and Florida and I think he has just made it harder on himself. If he can’t get at least 4 more wins this season, I think both he and Grantham will be gone next season.

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:27 pm

Jim S. — No question that Mark was trying to calm the situation down. I’m guessing he was more angry behind the scenes, however.

Phillip S Thompson

October 19th, 2011
2:28 pm

Jeff Schultz,

You are are a wuss who never played a varsity down of football in your life. Probably washed jock straps. I just called the AJC to end my subscription and I have talked 9 people into canceling theirs as well because of your weak reporting.

Vain Jangling

October 19th, 2011
2:29 pm

Am I the only person who thought that Richt sold out his own player and coach a little too quickly?

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:30 pm

Just Sayin’ — We all asked Grantham after the game what was said and he wouldn’t comment, other than the “I’m just defending my players” stuff that he kept repeating. I wasn’t in Franklin’s press conference. Couldn’t get to both late at night and on deadline. Not sure if he has gone into specifics or not. Not sure it really matters.

Eaassyy

October 19th, 2011
2:30 pm

jeff, what do you see an appropriate punishment for Grantham? Do you think Franklin should also receive punishment. Why or why not?

SCS

October 19th, 2011
2:31 pm

Schultz… You are a dumb *** and your reporting is horse****.

Are you using this as one of your submissions for your job interview with the National Enquirer?

Henry D.

October 19th, 2011
2:31 pm

If we want to stop these AJC clowns from continually bashing Ga., stop posting on their sites. When the AJC realizes they have no readers left, they will send them to be with Clarence Moore, wherever that is.

Totally biased and un-professional journalism.

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:32 pm

Running Dog– I’m suggesting a public reprimand to both coaches. They’re supposed to set an example. I’ve never suggested a suspension.

UGADawg83

October 19th, 2011
2:32 pm

I just don’t understand how Franklin gets a pass on this. He instigated everything. This whole thing boils down to Franklin trying to prove Vandy isn’t Vandy anymore.

Eaassyy

October 19th, 2011
2:33 pm

Richt was clearly playing politics. I just hope it doesnt come back and bite him on the opinions that matter most. HIS PLAYER’S OPINIONS OF THEIR HEAD COACH.

Red Panties

October 19th, 2011
2:33 pm

Grantham has a personality disorder————–immature adult

Georgia | MrSEC.com

October 19th, 2011
2:34 pm

[...] postgame curse-fest has made bigger news this week than any of the penalties the drew suspensions.Cue those who will say there is one standard for players and one for coaches.In the end, this situation hurts Georgia more than it does Vanderbilt.  The Commodores will be [...]

Almix77

October 19th, 2011
2:34 pm

So, Franklin’s discipline is handled internally? I’m sure their AD or lackof will really lay down the law…

Fleming Island Dawg

October 19th, 2011
2:34 pm

Dog Island Gator…. You lost the bet. He guaranteed GA would not lose THIS Saturday and they won’t and can’t. Have to wait and see about next Saturday. Maybe Florida will haven to suspend starting corner for being arrested. Gator fans always got onto GA players being arrested for the same thing. Maybe that Florida player Bostic will be suspended for then punch he threw in the AL game.

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:34 pm

Philip S. Thompson — “I just called the AJC to end my subscription and I have talked 9 people into canceling theirs as well because of your weak reporting.” ….. Is that your best lie of the day?

Uuuuuugh...

October 19th, 2011
2:34 pm

Coaches Screaming at each other embarassing SEC: “Matter handled internally between league office and schools.”

Vandy player dirty hit way after the play followed by Geathers’ retaliatory shove: 1/2 game suspension for both (with one team playing with a trip to the dome in the balance and the other playing against a Service Academy.) SEC should have said ““Matter handled between players during play and penalized during game.”

Slive should now look for an extra dirty game between Vandy and UGA next year. Just like the one he guaranteed at Auburn this year, by letting Nick Fairley get away with the dirtiest play I have ever seen.

I completely agree with the Williams suspension. Was he retaliating? Of course. He should be penalized.

What Slive should have learned from this is that if the Refs don’t call a tight game both ways–it will get out of control. All of this was brought on by poor officiating.

gregj

October 19th, 2011
2:36 pm

Shultz why dont you just email sec com and tell him to fire coach Richt.Thats what you are pushing for.you hate georgia.and i dont like you.done with ajc.this is last straw.

Phillip S Thompson

October 19th, 2011
2:36 pm

Enter your comments here

Lindsey

October 19th, 2011
2:37 pm

I hope all this gets the Dawgs fired up against Florida!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

Jeff Schultz

October 19th, 2011
2:37 pm

All of this misplaced venom. News happened, the SEC acted and all some of you feel you can do about it is attack me or the AJC or Herman “Came”. Which is fine, if that’s what makes you feel better. I just feel bad for the intelligent Georgia fans who I hear from so often about how they feel they are misrepresented by some of the commenters on blogs.

Go ahead. Respond to that.

Swamp Chomper

October 19th, 2011
2:37 pm

Todd Grantham needs to go ahead and pop in a handful of preperation H prior to games.

Can’t wait to see how he acts after the annual loss in Jacksonville! Let the TV cameras roll!

NC Dawg

October 19th, 2011
2:38 pm

This story is so overblown. If you want to see how Franklin’s guys do it, try watching the center take a cheap shot at Kwame’s knee and then give a thumbs up to his players and coaches. Sure, Franklin is trying to change Vandy’s image, but I don’t their alumni base is going much enjoy the new image.

If Williams was indeed the first to start things with Franklin, then he was probably wrong to do that. But the officials lost control of this game long before that happened.

I get it, though Jeff, the Braves flopped out of the playoffs, NBA is non-existent, Tech doesn’t even have a basketball stadium right now, and the Falcons are .500 and underperforming. There is jack to write about in the sports world right now.

Franklin refuses to talk about Saturday – our coaches have come out and issued at least some sort of apology. Franklin is a douche. Vandy won’t be getting out of the doghouse anytime soon.

Let’s move on and do our best to get ready for a hungry Florida team. And please AJC, let’s try analyzing the game, impact, and personal history/rivalry of the game instead of harping about suspensions and off-field issues.