A.J. Green: I sold jersey for ‘extra cash’ during spring break

ATHENS — Having served his four-game NCAA suspension for selling a jersey for $1,000, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green on Tuesday told why he did it and how he got caught.

Green said he sold his Independence Bowl jersey to have “extra cash” during spring break and that the NCAA found out about it after asking him to turn over his bank records. He said he complied with the request.

“They had every bank statement going back to February ‘09,” Green said. “They looked and saw that [$1,000 deposit] and they were, like, ‘Hey, where did you get the money from?’ I told them. I’m not going to lie to them . . . and jeopardize my whole season.”

Green, eligible to play for the first time this season Saturday at Colorado, spoke to reporters in a UGA conference room Tuesday afternoon — his first interview since being suspended by the NCAA.

The star receiver did not deny knowing that selling the jersey was against NCAA rules, saying he “didn’t really think it through” and “everybody makes mistakes in life.”

“I broke the rule,” Green said, “and I paid my price. And I’m just ready to play again.”

He said he has never met the jersey buyer, Chris Hawkins, a former North Carolina football player, whom the NCAA considers an agent. Green said he and Hawkins communicated only through Facebook.

It also would be against NCAA rules to sell a jersey to a non-agent, but the NCAA’s designation of Hawkins as an agent might have added to the severity of Green’s penalty. Hawkins has denied that he is an agent and said that he bought the jersey as a collector.

Green said he was told the investigation started when the NCAA heard a rumor that he might have attended a Miami party sponsored by an agent (not Hawkins).

“I didn’t know anything about it,” Green said of the party. “When the NCAA told me about it, they said they heard it from [website] TMZ. [The NCAA] just heard it was a rumor, so they came down here and asked me.”

Green said he told the NCAA investigators, as he previously had told reporters and UGA officials, that he did not attend the Miami party.  In the course of the investigation, he said, the NCAA asked for his bank statements, which led to the discovery of a rule violation — the jersey sale — separate from the Miami party.

“I guess when they couldn’t find [anything] on that trip, they went back and found this,” Green said.

He said the NCAA first asked him to explain the money about a week before Georgia’s Sept. 4 opener.

The NCAA declined to respond to Green’s comments Tuesday, and UGA has refused to turn over documents related to the case.

Green said the investigation was “a painful process, man. I’m not the type of guy who ever got into trouble here and stuff like that. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep just thinking about [it]. … I’m just glad that it’s over.”

Of the four-game suspension, he said: “I did something wrong. I deserve it, a penalty for what I’d done.”

Green said he had been approached about selling items before, “but I didn’t do it. But, like I said, it was spring break. So, you know, extra cash. I really didn’t think about it [being] a big deal, so I just did it.”

Georgia has lost three of four games without Green, who said the games have been “painful” for him to watch.

“I feel like . . . I caused a lot of people pain,” he said. “Because I feel like if I was out there some of the time we would have had a chance. . . . I beat myself up pretty much over that.

“But it taught me a valuable lesson. I’m growing up, and I’ve got to do the right thing.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt hopes the lesson spreads to Green’s teammates.

“I would think everybody saw what happened to A.J. and hopefully if they were in that position would not give in to whoever is trying to convince you that this is a good thing to do or that it’s OK to do,” Richt said.

Meanwhile, Green looks forward to his belated season opener Saturday.

“Now it’s about that time to show people what I was missing,” Green said. “I feel like I still got stuff to prove, that I’m behind and that I’m going to have a lot of catching up to do.”

689 comments Add your comment

gdawginkalamazoo

September 28th, 2010
3:08 pm

Okay dumb move by AJ. Let’s see him make some smart moves on the field now. I hate it that he wasted four games but it’s done and over with.

CP

September 28th, 2010
3:09 pm

82Dawg

September 28th, 2010
3:10 pm

Enough said on this subject, time to get down to business and salvage the season.

CP

September 28th, 2010
3:11 pm

aw man! Well I’m glad he owned up to his mistake, but I still think the NCAA blew the whole thing out of proportion

DDPO

September 28th, 2010
3:13 pm

I’m not going to lie to them and jeopardize MY whole season.”

By all means AJ. Don’t do anything to jeopordize YOUR whole season. Don’t think of your school or teammates when you make these type of decisions.

This guy is all about himself. Not the team.

MMA is stupid

September 28th, 2010
3:13 pm

Now get out there and start kicking some a$$…Help this team regain some sort of identity and pride.

Winderdogg

September 28th, 2010
3:13 pm

Who cares…0-3 in the SEC…Probably could not get that much now…although the idiots on Craiglist still ask $125 a game for tickets…take a loss – we have taken 3 and counting…

Welcome Back

September 28th, 2010
3:14 pm

Great kid. The world is murky for kids with great talent – beware. AJ has never been a show boat. Welcome Back…

gdawginkalamazoo

September 28th, 2010
3:14 pm

Time to make some new highlight reels!

PDawg

September 28th, 2010
3:14 pm

It wasn’t a “mistake”. He clearly knew that when he sold his jersey he was violating rules. It was “bad judgement”. It was a mistake to think he would get away with the violation.

Why does a kid need $1000 for spring break? Hell I was happy to have an extra $20 on spring break.

dawggone fire richt already

September 28th, 2010
3:15 pm

aj will not save this season. If richt would have spent more time getting this team ready uga wouldn’t be in this spot in the first place. Aj might get the dawgs 1 or 2 wins that they were not supposed to win the season is already over. No sec champs no sec east champs, just trying to stay out of last place way to go coach richt.

dentaldawg

September 28th, 2010
3:15 pm

penalty outweighed the offense…no doubt about it…I hope AJ’s return is a rallying point for this team. GO DAWGS GATA.

dentaldawg

September 28th, 2010
3:16 pm

FIRE RUSS! It’s his fault.

WDawg

September 28th, 2010
3:17 pm

12th <- these kinds of posts are so stupid!!!!!

Tech82

September 28th, 2010
3:17 pm

Part of Green’s punishment from the NCAA was to donate the $1,000 to a charity of his choosing. If he needed “extra cash” for spring break, presumably, he spent it. That being the case, where did he suddenly come up with the “extra cash” to give $1,000 to charity? I’m not suggesting anything – just asking…

NORRIS

September 28th, 2010
3:17 pm

DDPO let it go. Its in the past. He made a mistake.
Lets just get him on the field and win a game.

joe

September 28th, 2010
3:18 pm

I guess it would be fair to say the “thin” part of his comment has come home to roost.

Inthecellar

September 28th, 2010
3:18 pm

To the tune of “in the navy”!

In the cellar
where the dawgs are gonna stay
in the cellar
because of the jersey sold by AJ
in the cellar
its time for bobo to write his resume
in the cellar
where all the losers play
in the cellar….

observer

September 28th, 2010
3:18 pm

Eh, who cares. Too little too late now.

Daniel's Dawgs

September 28th, 2010
3:18 pm

I can’t believe the NCAA goes through the players checking accounts!!!!!!!!

Dont Blame AJ

September 28th, 2010
3:19 pm

You cant blame AJ for the season. He does not play defense (we cant tackle) or is not involved in the I-formation run play up the middle (accounts for more than half of our offensive plays).

kaput

September 28th, 2010
3:20 pm

He didn’t think it would be anything major? But that means that he knew it was wrong!

He deserved his punishment.

Old Dawg

September 28th, 2010
3:20 pm

Sure, he broke a rule but the NCAA blew it out of proportion. Especially in an age where the NCAA, coaches and universities make millions off the games.

I don’t know if his return will help the team that much but it can’t hurt.

Just want the Dawgs to win. Glad McGarity is brining sanity back to the football schedule.

Inthecellar

September 28th, 2010
3:21 pm

Dont Blame AJ

September 28th, 2010
3:19 pm
You are right it is a team effort. The chain breaks at its weakest link.

in the cellar
the dawgs are gonna stay
in the cellar

joe

September 28th, 2010
3:21 pm

$1000 for spring break…where did he go…fly to Bahamas? I once had a frat brother who went to key west on $7…slept on someones balcony and would drink leftovers that had a little left in the bottom of the cup at the bars.

RTD

September 28th, 2010
3:21 pm

DDPO…I think you are reading into something a bit too much. The bulldogs would still have had a season without him. He did indeed jeopardized “his” whole season. Four games for youthful mistake is a bit harsh.

MURPHY

September 28th, 2010
3:21 pm

Stranger things have happened.Who knows maybe it will be a shot in the arm for this team with AJ back. I guess it will prove what type of leadership qualities AJ might have. Does it change the mindset of this team?

mike

September 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

I’m with Daniel. Who the hell does the NCAA think they are asking kids for copies of their bank statements? That’s WAY over the top!!!!!!!!!

Brent

September 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

Hitler and Stalin would have loved the power that the NCAA has

gdawginkalamazoo

September 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

Welcome Back, you are correct. These kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure and get hit in a 100 different directions from all kinds of people.

ugadawg2005

September 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

The season isn’t over. South Carolina has already lost o Auburn. They will lose to Arky, Bama, and Florida. Florida will lose to Bama and LSU. All Georgia has to do is win out and they’ll still win the East via a tiebreaker over Florida. UGA is unstoppable with A.J. Green. You heard it hear first. Go A.J. Green! 2010 SEC Champs!!!

[end sarcasm here]

north

September 28th, 2010
3:23 pm

$1000.00 for a college kid is alot of coin. Get off his case. $1000.00 for an adult is alot of coin. I know many people who would do almost anything for that kind of money.

Billo

September 28th, 2010
3:23 pm

Can Green get us out of this funk? Cause the only sure win i see down the road is Idaho State…the rest are in question.

dawggone fire richt already

September 28th, 2010
3:24 pm

aj doesn’t coach the team. he is not the only 5 star recruit uga has. fire richt fire richt fire richt fire richt fire richt fire richt fire richt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dale

September 28th, 2010
3:24 pm

DDPO, I think you’re right on. With Green the team is 2-1 SEC at worst. Teammates still have hopes of a big year. But that’s not really important.

MH

September 28th, 2010
3:25 pm

AJ is crazy to play out the rest of the season. There is nothing for him to gain but the possibility of getting hurt. He should hire an agent and trainer to start working out for the pros.

Thanks for the 1.5 years of play!!!

I am DDPO and I Need a Life

September 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

I have nothing better to do except criticize kids who cause my team to lose.

[...] 9/28: Green announced in a news conference that he sold the jersey for some “extra cash” for spring break. He claims that he was unaware of the rule that forbids players from selling their [...]

MURPHY

September 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

Old Dawg,

I dont agree with McGarity changing the schedule and bringing in a lesser opponent. I do like the 7 game home schedule though. I can see the argument,it has faired well with Florida. Im one of those that say-To be the best you must beat the best. I sure was looking foward to going to Oregon though. Time will tell.Cant argue with the Gaytor’s success.

JB

September 28th, 2010
3:26 pm

Best of both worlds using each other. AJ will try to catch some passes and make sure he’s first rounder and Richt will use him to try and save his job. Perfect pair.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 28th, 2010
3:27 pm

joe,
“and would drink leftovers that had a little left in the bottom of the cup at the bars”.

Hilarious dude, nasty but hilarious.

pikedawg

September 28th, 2010
3:27 pm

He can’t make a grand but the university can make ten’s of thousands selling his jersey in the bookstore and online. What a bunch of crap

bwell

September 28th, 2010
3:27 pm

Hey AJ please stay another year to up ga rebound please

Dont Blame AJ

September 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

He should stay. The NFL will be in a lock out next year anyways.

pikedawg

September 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

hey dawggone fire richt already….
who you gonna get thats better??
I’ll hang up and listen

Steve

September 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

Someone PLEASE tell me why there are still dorks on every blog that type “First!” Nobody cares and all it shows is that you have no life.

JB

September 28th, 2010
3:29 pm

Fact: If our OL line blocks the rest of the year like the did Saturday night, we win one or two more. I watched them close. Not a lot of holes and MSU defense blowing by pretty easy.

dawggone fire richt already

September 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

Don’t compare what vick did to what aj did dumba$$

RxDawg

September 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

This whole thing is just lame. Sorry, but kids commiting assault, DUI’s, theft, etc serve less penalties than this received…. Whatever, water under the bridge now I guess. It’s a shame that AJ’s last year was marred like this. And it’s also a shame that if there was any little chance of AJ staying and finishing up school I’m sure that’s washed away.

NCAA is full of hypocrites

September 28th, 2010
3:31 pm

Couldn’t AJ Green just pay the NCAA the $1000 dollars he got with the royalty checks he’s getting for all the UGA #8 jerseys in the stands and in the stores?

Oh, wait…