What was meant as a protest of the NCAA by several Georgia offensive lineman in Saturday’s game didn’t exactly create a stir on the team.
Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch (88) runs for a touchdown as Georgia takes on North Texas at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Athens, Ga.
Quarterback Aaron Murray, tight end Arthur Lynch and receiver Chris Conley said Tuesday they didn’t know about it beforehand. Lynch said he didn’t know what APU — All Players United — meant.
“If you want change that way, it’s not going to come by disorganized hashtags on your wrist,” Lynch said.
Offensive lineman Kolton Houston and several other linemen wrote APU to wear on wrist bands. They were joined by players at Georgia Tech and Northwestern in the protest that was organized by an advocacy group seeking NCAA reform.
“If you want action, you’re going to have to collectively get [together] as a group,” Lynch said. “If you want something done, legitimize yourself, present yourself as a common cause and really try to bring some legitimacy to the issue. Don’t, in my opinion, write it on your wristband. That just doesn’t get much done.”
Lynch did say that he thinks players need to be advised better before signing a letter of intent.
“I’m signing away the same right I basically have when I sign with an agent at the end of the season,” he said.
Offensive line coach Will Friend didn’t know about the protest.
“They’re their own people,” he said.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he was like many who saw about the protest “on the ticker after the game. I just have to educate myself a little better with what it’s all about. We have freedom of speech in our country, but the question is what’s the most appropriate way of doing it, so that’s the only thing.”
Richt said their concerns — including better health care for athletes and more scholarship money — seemed “pretty legitimate. … Whatever they are trying to accomplish is being done in a respectful way, so that’s all I really know.”
Georgia’s offensive lineman haven’t been available for interviews this week and last. Friend said players made that decision because “they want to be a quiet group right now.”
Conley, who serves on an NCAA student-athlete committee, said he wanted to speak to others committee members about the issue before voicing an opinion.
“The way that the system is set up, it could have an impact,” Conley said. “It also might not. We’ll have to see how some of these things play out over time. We will definitely be watching and it’s definitely going to be something that’s going to be talked about.”