ATHENS — Georgia basketball player Donte Williams told media gathered at Stegeman Coliseum on Monday that the marijuana charges leveled against him in May have been dismissed and vehemently proclaimed he does not do drugs.
Reporters came for a press conference to advance the Bulldogs’ upcoming 10-day trip to Italy for three exhibition games. But before that event got underway, Williams took a seat next head coach Mark Fox at a table on a podium in the Stegeman interview room and asked to make a statement. Following is what Williams’ said:
“I know everybody here is aware of the incident that took place on May 25th. First I want to apologize for bringing negative attention to the University and towards me team and towards my family. But I want the truth to be known that I don’t do drugs. Soon after the incident I took a drug test; passed my drug test. I came up here and passed my drug test and took another drug test for the court and passed that drug test. The case has been dismissed. Since then I have moved on and focused on basketball, focused on school and I’m getting ready for the season now. That’s it.”
Georgia did not let allow the 6-foot-9 junior forward to entertain any questions and he was dismissed from the room by Fox.
Williams was arrested in the parking lot of Lenox Square Mall on Friday night, May 25th, and taken to Atlanta City Jail on charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Claude Reid, 20, who was driving Williams’ car, was also arrested on the same charges after 3.3 grams of pot was found in the car.
Fox took questions on Williams’ behalf.
“In this country you’re innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “But oftentimes as an athlete you’re guilty until you prove your innocence. I think Donte has learned a valuable lesson in who his friends should be. He was able to share some things with you that I would not be able to. But I think he’s learned a valuable lesson and I’m happy that he’s able to show his innocence in certain areas.
Fox said he has not yet decided if Williams will be subjected to any punishment. Fellow players said Williams already has been in terms of community service work and internal team discipline.
“He put himself in a bad position; wrong place, wrong time, wrong people,” Fox said. “I’ll deal with all that, but I won’t deal with any of that until later. . . . The important thing for now is when he’s 30 years old and trying to get a job and people Google his name, I want the truth to be known.”
Meanwhile, Williams will be with his teammates when they depart for Milan on Friday. He’s a valuable member of the ball club. The junior from Ellenwood started all 32 games at forward, averaging 7.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Williams and fellow returning starters Marcus Thornton and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be joined by four newcomers as they play three European teams over 10 days across Italy.
“I think it’s a trip that will be a great benefit to our team and an experience these guys will learn a great deal about another culture and be exposed to another part of the world,” Fox said. “I see it as a business trip and an educational trip. It’s a trip to really improve for us.”
Among the sites the team will visit are the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Venice, the statue of David in Florence and the Vatican in Rome.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to see the Pope but it’ll be a great trip,” Fox quipped. “I think it will be a fun experience for them.”