UGA not only football program dealing with domestic violence issues

ATHENS – I was traveling yesterday when UGA announced it had decided on a two-game suspension for starting cornerback Sanders Commings at the start of next season.

Even though Georgia coach Mark Richt has avoided commenting on the subject so far, a spokesman told me Richt decided on the two games Wednesday after a series of meetings with Commings and conducting his own investigation into the matter. Commings, 21, was arrested by UGA police on Jan. 21 and charged with domestic violence/simple battery for allegedly hitting his former girlfriend.

Commings is scheduled for a March 22 arraignment before an Athens-Clarke County judge, so his legal case remains unresolved. Meanwhile, the incident is also being investigated by UGA as a possible violation of student conduct code. That review is ongoing, though I’ve reported on some of the interviews that were already available through the Freedom of Information Act. Those documents lead one to believe it the case might not be as cut-and-dried a case as the original police reports indicated.

Meanwhile, Georgia is not the only SEC team having to deal with a domestic violence issue. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel today, Gators freshman tight end A.C. Leonard was arrested Wednesday night on domestic violence charges. Leonard was due to be released on his own recognizance Thursday and Florida coach Willi Muschamp has yet to comment on the situation.

Said spokesman Steve McClain: “Coach Muschamp is currently traveling and unavailable, but he will address the matter later today.”

There have been some other recent precedents as well:

On Feb. 3, Clemson dismissed wide receiver Joe Craig due to a domestic violence incident. However, apparently that was Craig’s second such charge. He was indefinitely suspended and ultimately missed three games last season due to the previous incident.

Conversely, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw did not miss any playing time after he and his girlfriend were both arrested on domestic violence charges in 2009.

Which brings us to where we are today. Commings has already been issued a two-game suspension while his legal issues remain unresolved. So how do you guys feel about that? Should the Bulldogs have waited until his matter had run its course through the university and local legal systems? Do you trust Coach Richt’s judgment and/or did he get it about right? Is Georgia going too easy on Commings?

Intelligent, thoughtful comments only, please.

547 comments Add your comment

FL Jacket

February 16th, 2012
4:05 pm

This is unfortunate…and hopefully not representative of the student athletes – or student body – as a whole. Because honestly, it doesn’t make you much of a man to put your hands on a woman.

MoDawg

February 16th, 2012
4:14 pm

Is anyone really surprised that an Alabama player gets off “scott free” with an infraction? I mean, they have championships to win (at all costs). They can’t be bothered by common decency.

dURp

February 16th, 2012
4:15 pm

Shocking Ol Nicky Saban didn’t suspend his star athlete. What a joke!

Eli

February 16th, 2012
4:15 pm

Many of these young men have not been taught anything about self restraint before college. I give coach Richt much credit for helping these young men grow up.

LHarding Dawg

February 16th, 2012
4:16 pm

I think its a whole lot of nothing. Boyfriend/Girlfriend have a fight, nothing happens, get suspended for two games. From the reports I’ve read, he tried to ignore her, she started pushing him, and he moved her out of the way. No hitting, no bruses, not anything physical was wrong with her except her feelings were hurt. If these reports are correct then he is guilty until proven innocent.

On the other hand, if a man hits a women or does anything to harm a woman. Kick them off the team. If Commings had not been a football player, it would have just been a boyfriend/girlfriend argument with no AJC writing about it every day.

I can see a one game suspension just for the negative bull the team has to endure.

Eurt Rellab

February 16th, 2012
4:19 pm

It doesn’t make you much of a man to put your hands on a man, either. Or does it….

DawginLex

February 16th, 2012
4:20 pm

1 game suspension versus a cupcake would have been laughable. He now misses the Mizzou game, it is his senior year. That hurts. He has let his team down too.

OkieDawg

February 16th, 2012
4:23 pm

Commings should be on a very short leash. CMR should make it clear that another incident of violence against a women will result in an immediate dismissal. UGA football does not depend on any individual, especially a man who would hit, push or itimidate a female in any manner. Such actions from any man are reprehensible. I love UGA football but it takes a back seat to civility. CMR made his decision…if I had made the decision Commings would be on the phone with JSU or North Alabama seeking a roster position.

Hugh Jass

February 16th, 2012
4:29 pm

To be honest, we will never know if his punishment fit the crime, because we don’t know all the facts. about the alleged crime, or exactly how contrite SC is with the situation. But knowing CMRs track record with such offenses(Mettenburger), I would error on the side of he knows what he is doing.

Go dawgs!

Thomas

February 16th, 2012
4:31 pm

Upshaw wasn’t the star in 2009

7576DAWG

February 16th, 2012
4:31 pm

The drug bust at TCU was quick and nobody was excluded , which is why so many got caught including the football team. The sad thing about it is most schools would have the same result’s if they checked without warning . I hope TCU will go light on the student’s and player’s at least on first offense because I would hate to know how many student’s at UGA and the UGA football team would test positive.

UGA Insider

February 16th, 2012
4:32 pm

Word with the team is that the girlfriend went nuts and attached Sanders that night.

UGA Insider

February 16th, 2012
4:33 pm

attacked…

sorry

George Stein

February 16th, 2012
4:33 pm

He made a mistake and he’ll pay the price. Let’s move on now.

Will

February 16th, 2012
4:34 pm

Let’s not pass judgment about the Bama situation. It might be that something similar happened. If the reports I’ve read, which echo the one above about him simply brushing her away after she was basically attacking him, are true, then I don’t see where even a suspension was warranted. The fact that Richt suspended him prior to his hearing with the police AND Student Judiciary is very telling. He obviously believes something similar to the above described event. Under those circumstance, I see the suspension as a PR move on the part of Richt. Fair to the player? Hard to say. We don’t know all of the details. Fair to the “victim”? Who knows, but let’s hope Richt doesn’t have to pull a Jim Boeheim on this one.

Steve

February 16th, 2012
4:35 pm

Where are the Tech nerds and their comments?

Bright Idea

February 16th, 2012
4:36 pm

Notice that Richt and Sanders discussed this issue. Why wait on the slow judicial process while the AJC speculates every day what will happen to him? He will get buried in the court of public opinion regardless of how the case is resolved.

BigTimeTechFan

February 16th, 2012
4:36 pm

I say UGA should have waited till all the facts came out and the courts/school ruled.

Same thing happened with Tech player Robert Hall a few years ago and it turned out he actually was trying to avoid a confrontation with his GF, while leaving she tried to block a door he slamed while leaving and got hurt. he missed a lot of games because they had to wait till charges were dismissed.

Why two game now, season is far away to worry about suspensions unless it’s done just as a media front to say we care.

William Smith

February 16th, 2012
4:37 pm

Football is a violent sport what do you expect these guys to be cheered for knocking some guy into the next county on Saturday. Then he leaves the field and becomes mild mannered Underdog. If any crime that injured someone meant a loss of scholarship I bet this wouldn’t go on. Also, the punishment is not determined by the coach or university. It is a set rule that must be enforced. Any coach trying to get around the punishment by a cover up is also suspended for one season with no pay. This would clean it up and fast.

UGA Insider

February 16th, 2012
4:40 pm

Oh no Chip, you mentioned Alabama negatively… now watch the fanbase start making excuses and bragging about how great they are in 1…2….3….

Dawg Whisperer

February 16th, 2012
4:40 pm

Since you asked for intelligent, thoughtful comments only, I would say that based on past experiences, you won’t get very many hits on this blog. AJC sports blogs have devolved into one of the lowest denominators of social interaction. This is no reflection on the AJC or its writers. Instead, it is an indictment of the social network whether it uses a blog, twitter, or other form. I generally refrain from comment because the blog has become a magnet for mean-spirited poop that does nothing to add value to my day.

Now that I’m off my soap box, I trust coach Richt on these matters because he has the best interests of the student-athlete involved as well as UGA. Since I rasied a compliment to coach Richt, this will now attract more hate-filled nonsense and prove my point. I hope I’m wrong.

Joey

February 16th, 2012
4:43 pm

And who can forget the “time to die, bi+ch” text down in Gainesville?

Don'tsufferfools

February 16th, 2012
4:43 pm

If you are a guy, when a female comes after you it is best to just let her beat the crap out of you. If you defend yourself in any way you will be called a woman beater. The second this gal went after Commings he became guilty.

A Father

February 16th, 2012
4:44 pm

As I father I would kill any man that physically struck my daughter with his fist or open hand such as Sanders Commings has on more than one occasion, Mark Richt and the University should have expelled Sanders Commings immediately. As an alumni, the Ga football program has continued to cause harm to the school for many years now. Mark Richt approves of men who hit women, no other way to look at it especially when it is not Sanders Commings first time doing so.

Delbert D.

February 16th, 2012
4:48 pm

You want Georgia Tech comments? Okay, starting defensive end Robert Hall was suspended indefinitely for the 2010 season when he was arrested for battery for fighting with his girlfriend, a Georgia Tech basketball player, over withdrawals from their joint account. Later in the year, the charges were dropped.

Richt did the right thing with Commings. It remains to be seen if he is reinstated for the 2 games, pending further legal actions.

Hall graduated in the spring of 2010 with a BS in Management, after the altercation occurred. He played the 2010 season as a graduate student.

LHarding Dawg

February 16th, 2012
4:48 pm

Here they come, the idiots (A Father)!

1eyedJack

February 16th, 2012
4:49 pm

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

Obviously CMR can only go on what Sanders has told him. If the case is dismissed the suspension can always be reduced or eliminated.

A Father

February 16th, 2012
4:51 pm

As WITNESSED, Sanders Commings reached around a couple of kids and hit the girl as hard as he could. The Witnesses the call for the police. This is what happened. The girl in no way moved toward Sanders Commings. Sanders Commings attacked the girl through several students trying to protect her. No Way To Spin The Facts: S. Comming should be out of Georgia forever.

LHarding Dawg

February 16th, 2012
4:51 pm

Wet Willie was a great Georgia band from Macon. The singer and lead man was Jimmy Hall. They, think God, has nothing to do with anything about Alamama or their football team. The singer, Micky Thomas, that sang keep on smiling was from Cairo Georgia. Still no connection with Alabama.

Chris

February 16th, 2012
4:52 pm

Hopefully the court sees it as it was described above and that’s all it is. If he did in fact hur a woman, he would deserve more than two games suspension. If the court dismisses the case or finds him not guilty, the suspension can and should be lifted by Richt. Richt made the right move for now. That puts a placeholder on the media and the naysayers.

Bad Dawg

February 16th, 2012
4:52 pm

Wet Willie, Your comment was funny and true. Seriously though the Dawg’s need to stop worrying about Alabama. There are enough problems in Athens as it is. GO DAWGS!

Chris

February 16th, 2012
4:53 pm

A Father -

There are other witnesses that say quite the opposite of your story.

The Grinch

February 16th, 2012
4:54 pm

So Saban didn’t have his guy miss even on Mulligan U game.

We didn’t see that one coming, now did we?

Chris

February 16th, 2012
4:55 pm

A Father -

You’re also admitting that you would commit murder. Your opinions officially don’t matter.

LHarding Dawg

February 16th, 2012
4:56 pm

A Father – Troll trying to start crap on a Georgia blog.

The Grinch

February 16th, 2012
4:58 pm

A Father
February 16th, 2012
4:44 pm

“As I father I would kill any man that physically struck my daughter with his fist or open hand…”

Riiiiiight. And from that point on you would have much worse done to you on regular basis than that poor shmuck of an LSU fan had done to him by the Mulligan U fan in the Krystal.

Just Asking

February 16th, 2012
4:58 pm

What do you do when the girl is the one doing the attacking? That was what the UGA Student Conduct team discovered from eye witnesses.

A person SMART enough to know......

February 16th, 2012
4:58 pm

2 game suspension is DEALING with it?
No Domestic Violence classes?
No Anger Management classes?
No Disciplinary action from the Student Disciplinary Board?
Too early to know what really happened. More will come out in the next few weeks.

Until the Legal system is done Richt shouldn’t make a judgement on game suspensions.
The reports that have been submitted say he is innocent.
Like we would not expect that.
No guy wants to be hated for saying Commings did it and costing the team a player. The guy would not be able to stay at UGa for fear for his life.
There will have to be some of the afore mentioned classes if he is to stay in school.
He will likely put off those classes if he can during football season.
He would likely drop out of school after the season to go PRO. ie Ohio State players.

Delbert D.

February 16th, 2012
4:59 pm

“A Father” just blogged the phrase that puts him on the NSA’s watch list. Their automated system has already captured his IP address. The subsequent review by human analysts will determine whether or not he is a potential terrorist.

Chris

February 16th, 2012
5:00 pm

Women should be held accountable for violence too. If a woman lets her emotions make her scratch and throw punches, she might just be violent enough to find a gun or a knife. If she is in the wrong, she should be punished as harshly as any man would be.

Beast from the East

February 16th, 2012
5:00 pm

Surprised that Richt would take any action before the legal process plays out. I would wait to see what happens in the courts before doing anything. It’s only February, so there’s still plenty of time to make a decision.

George Stein

February 16th, 2012
5:01 pm

I think killing anyone for this is a bit extreme, but I do understand the anger.

We’re the ones saying Richt did the right thing by punishing the player but not kicking him off the team, Steve. Happy?

A Father

February 16th, 2012
5:01 pm

LHardingdawg: say what you want, the college student who I will not name had not reason to lie the day after it happened. Keep screaming how it is the girls fault etc. because with each post you prove how stupid you are.

1eyedJack

February 16th, 2012
5:03 pm

Sometimes, some women can be trifling.

dawgfan

February 16th, 2012
5:03 pm

I’m just glad that Commings, a starting SEC football player that is listed 6′2″ and 217 lbs., got out of this situation without serious injury. I can’t imagine the horror he must have experienced being “attacked” by what was surely a 5′5″, 110 lb. MONSTER. It took a lot of courage for Commings to defend himself. Where is Richt’s compassion?

Good grief.

Chris

February 16th, 2012
5:04 pm

A Father -

The actual witnesses already gave statements and named their names. Strange that your witness can’t be named. Shenanigans.

LHarding Dawg

February 16th, 2012
5:05 pm

I’m out of here. I don’t blog with idiots. You Georgia people and George have a good night.

LawDawg

February 16th, 2012
5:06 pm

If someone legitimately commits domestic violence, they need to be dealt with harshly.

With the Commings situation, though, this seems like BS and he should not have been suspended until everything plays out.

Old Dawg

February 16th, 2012
5:12 pm

This is an example of a coach letting his players know he not going to fool around with poor behavior.

UGA kicked 3 players off the team earlier this year, so CMR had to make a statement that every player would understand.

The legal system will run its course and a decision will be made. CMR had to let everyone know who’s boss!

Captain

February 16th, 2012
5:14 pm

The thing I find odd is how could this be “domestic violence”? It didn’t occur in a residence where they are co-habitating, they were not a couple at the time. What makes it domestic violence? Assault and battery, I could understand, but Domestic Violence…… case is going nowhere.