(Updated 9:10 p.m.)
Two days after Georgia’s football team won its first game in more than a month, the bad news resumed for the Bulldogs: The team had its 11th player arrested this year.
Tailback Caleb King spent about six hours Monday in the Clarke County Jail on a bench warrant issued after he failed to appear in court in Walton County to address a speeding ticket.
By late morning, King was released on $380 bond, which officials said would be used to satisfy the speeding fine. But how the issue will affect his status on the Georgia team remains unclear.
Coach Mark Richt did not make an announcement or meet with reporters Monday. He discussed the issue on his weekly radio show Monday night but did not say what action he will take.
“Getting a speeding ticket, not paying it and not showing up for a court date is certainly not a very responsible thing, but I can’t say it’s some kind of awful act that we all should just be ashamed of,” Richt said. “But certainly … all of these young men have to understand they have a responsibility to take care of whatever issue they have.
“If they have a ticket, they need to pay it. If they don’t [pay it], they need to show up for the court date. Those things are certainly obvious, and we have to get better at those kinds of things.”
Later, Richt referred to the King situation when asked if freshman running back Ken Malcome might play for the first time.
“There’s a good chance that happens,” Richt said. “We’re not saying for 100 percent certain he will, but the situation that Caleb has gotten himself into and the fact that [tailback] Carlton Thomas’ hamstring may or may not be ready by the end of the week, it may be that Ken has to play.”
To another caller who said he hopes King is not kicked off the team, Richt replied: “We’re just going to do what we feel like is the right thing to do. Bottom line is, we’ve got to make sure everybody takes care of business.”
Of the 10 players previously arrested this year, Richt dismissed four from the team and, in most of the other cases, issued suspensions of at least one game. King’s is the first case involving failure to appear in court for a speeding ticket.
King was arrested by Athens-Clarke County Police after his brother, Brandon King, was pulled over in east Athens around 4 a.m. Monday for driving without a working tag light, according to police spokeswoman Hilda Sorrow. The stop of Brandon King triggered a series of events that led to the discovery of the outstanding warrant for his brother.
First, Brandon King, 23, was placed under arrest when it was determined he was driving with a suspended license, police said. Then, officers asked Brandon King to call the owner of the vehicle he was driving, a 1996 Ford Explorer, and have it picked up.
The vehicle’s owner, Georgia football player Brandon Wood, arrived at the scene five minutes later and was accompanied by Caleb King, according to police. Officers checked the two players’ licenses and discovered the outstanding warrant from nearby Walton County for Caleb King’s arrest. He was booked into the Clarke County Jail shortly after 5 a.m.
Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said the warrant had been issued by a judge after King, 22, failed to pay a fine or appear in court in connection with a speeding ticket this past summer.
King received a citation June 20 for driving 76 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone on Highway 78, Chapman said. The warrant was issued by a judge after King failed to appear for an Aug. 6 court date.
King was released on bond from the Clarke County Jail at 10:45 a.m. Monday. His $380 bond will be used to pay the speeding ticket, an official with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department said.
Two players said King participated in Georgia’s practice Monday evening.
King’s arrest was the second of a football player since UGA President Michael Adams last month called on the athletics department to deal with the proliferation of arrests.
“We have had too much in the football team,” Adams said in a Sept. 18 interview. “And so we expect the coaches and the AD’s to provide role models and leadership for their players, and I told the whole Athletic Association that” in an early-September staff meeting.
King’s arrest was his second since joining the Georgia program. In 2007, he was arrested by UGA Police for driving a motor-scooter with a suspended license and going the wrong way on a one-way street.