Georgia coach Mark Richt tonight addressed the arrests of four Georgia football players on Monday night. He answered several related questions on the subject.
Here’s what he said:
Q: How important was it to get off to a good start like you said earlier after the incident last night?
Well, we definitely wanted to focus on the excitement of the first day of spring ball. Obviously we had some guys do some things that were foolish and they’ll be consequences for that. I’m not ready to talk about that at this moment, but we’ve got a lot of guys that have been doing extremely well and we didn’t want to take away from the excitement of Day One. It’s football again.
Q: You are the head coach. When the phone rings and you get the call that your guys did something like they did. What’s that like for you? What do you think when you get that call?
You’re disappointed, obviously. You’re disappointed. You have to decide, start deciding what you’re going to do about it. At Georgia, we’ve never tried to hide things. If somebody makes a mistake, we clean it up. We don’t hide it. In due time, everyone’s going to know what’s going to happen because of it. Some things when it comes to discipline are very public and some things aren’t. I’m not sure exactly where this is going to fall. If there’s something that we need to let everybody know, we’ll let y’all know.
Q: The fact that all four were out there practicing, is that an indication they are not going to be subject to dismissal?
A: I would just say there’s always a process that I go through before I make a decision. Sometimes it happens rapidly and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not going to say anything other than if there’s something I need to report to everybody, I will.
Q: Do you ever get tired of having to defend your program? Invariably when something happens there’s criticism from the outside.
A: Everybody wants to do that. I think that if you took 125 students at Georgia or anywhere else in the country and you just said, ‘I’m going to follow these 125 people and I’m going to see what they do. I think you’d probably find a little bit of this and a little bit of that along the way. But because our guys are so ….and our sport is so high profile, the SEC is high profile, Georgia is high profile, every time something happens everybody knows about it. So we deal with it.
These guys are not going to be perfect. I know that. If they do something that needs discipline, we’re going to give it. We’re going to do that. If it causes a guy not to be at Georgia, then that’s what will happen. If it causes a guy to lose playing time, we’ll do it. If it causes a guy to have there’s some other form of discipline internally, then we’ll do that. We’re always trying to … There’s going to be a form of punishment, some form of education and then … we’re going to love them. We’re going to love them even if they leave Georgia. I’m not saying that’s going to happen in this case. But when it comes to discipline in general is what I’m talking about. So we’re going to do what we think is the most appropriate thing to do and go from there.
Q: Is disappointment from bringing guys into the program and a feeling have I let these guys down at all?
A: No, it’s just like anybody who’s a parent, if one of your children do something they’re not supposed to do. You know you told them not to do it but they do it anyway. Some of them learn by watching; some of them learn by doing. But if one of your children makes a mistake, it hurts. It hurts. But then you’ve got to be a responsible parent and you’ve got to discipline them. You’ve punish them in some way. You punish, you educate and you love them. That’s what we do.
A lot of our policies are stiffer than most people’s. If you’re going aggressively go after certain things, sometimes your business becomes a little more public than you want it to be. But in the meantime you don’t want to act like it didn’t happen. We’re going to address everything head on and handle it appropriately and move on from there. That’s just part of the learning process.
It’s a distraction. I imagine there’s more people here today because of that. I don’t know. Maybe ya’ll wanted to hear about football. But that’s about all I’m going to say on that. But if we want to talk about football again, I’ll keep talking.”
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