At 11:54 on the final night of June 2010, the head of Georgia’s athletics department was described by a police officer as having “watery” and “bloodshot” eyes. His speech patterns were “slow” and “mumbled.” His behavior was characterized as “crying” and “talkative.”
Then this, from Officer M. Cabe: “I also noticed that the subject had a red pair of lady’s panties between his legs.”
Later in the police report: “I asked the subject what the panties were doing in his side of the seat and he said, ‘She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home.’ ”
And there you have it, the reason Damon Evans cannot be allowed to remain in place: Because every future mention he might make of red, as in Red & Black, will evoke the memory of June 30, 2010, and the image of red underwear belonging to a woman who was not his wife. Because a program as proud as Georgia cannot allow itself to become an ongoing cheap joke.
The police report – which, it must be stipulated, represents only the officer’s view of events — is a sad and unseemly document. Near its end we read this: “The subject began crying uncontrollably before I took him into the jail.”
And surely that was because Evans, even in an allegedly diminished capacity, knew what he’d just forfeited: His dream job at his alma mater; his position as a leader not just in Athens, Ga., but in the community of intercollegiate athletics; a salary due to rise — only six minutes from the time he was stopped at Roswell Road and Chastain Drive — to $550,000 per fiscal year.
Napoleon, who met his own Waterloo, once said that “power is never ridiculous,” but ridiculous is how the powerful Damon Evans is made to appear. “I don’t want to use who I am,” he’s quoted as saying, and also that he didn’t “want to use my influence.” And also: “I am not trying to bribe you, but is there anything you can do without arresting me?’ ”
And the man who taped a public service announcement imploring Sanford Stadium customers not to drink and drive had this rather different message for his arresting officer: “We go through life and we all drink and jump in a car.”
The woman in question, Courtney Fuhrmann, tells Officer Cabe she and Evans have been seeing one another “only a week or so,” but apparently she knew full well who he is. “Just to let you know,” she’s quoted as saying, “[the charge] will be erased because he’s the athletic director at UGA and he has that power.”
Whatever power Evans wielded is about to go away. Because president Michael Adams cannot read these three damning pages and see anything but red. Red, as in a woman’s unworn undergarment. Red, as in the color of ongoing embarrassment.
On Thursday night Evans referred to the Red & Black as “our storied program.” Sad to say, his part of the story reads like a bad pulp novel. His part of the story needs to conclude.