The father of current Georgia defensive lineman Sterling Bailey is tired of former Georgia players who either transferred or were dismissed blaming it on the football system and not themselves.
The Bulldogs have seen three defensive backs leave the program this offseason. Former touted safety Josh Harvey-Clemons was dismissed and transferred to Louisville. Former cornerback Shaq Wiggins transferred to Louisville on his own accord, and former dismissed safety Tray Matthews made it known this weekend his intentions to transfer to Auburn.
Bailey’s father, Kevin Bailey, vented to the AJC’s Chip Towers about players blaming it on the school, saying the players shouldn’t point the finger at anyone else but themselves:
“When I read some of the things said, it just made me sick to my stomach,” Bailey said. “That young man (Matthews) needs to realize who opened doors for him first. I’m speaking as a member of the Georgia Bulldog family, of the Bulldog Nation, because my son goes to school down there, too. I love Tray. I love his mom and dad, too. We’re good friends. But the comments I read made me feel like they were putting down the University of Georgia, the system and the coaches. Not one time did I see it mentioned what Coach Richt or the other coaches have done for him. That’s what made me mad.
“Coach Richt and the coaching staff opened their arms to this kid. They welcomed him into the Bulldog Nation and they stood behind him. For him to come out like that and make it seem like the University of Georgia had done him wrong, that’s what makes me so mad. Same with Shaq Wiggins and the other kids who had the opportunity to play at the University of Georgia. They leave and transfer and get dismissed from the team and they blame it on the school system. It’s not the system; it’s the kids. If you come and do what you’re supposed to do and do it right, you wouldn’t get in trouble and things like this wouldn’t come about.”
Bailey’s last statement is certainly true.
I do think Mark Richt gets unfairly blamed for players being arrested and dismissed, and I also think the ‘system’ lends a hand to the blame. Richt is the longest tenured SEC coach, and that’s added to the negativity. He’s a victim of his own stability in a way. Georgia’s discipline policies are also stricter than others schools, and that has added to the criticism. With that being said, should the players do what they’re supposed to do, it wouldn’t matter.
Can you blame Richt for signing troubled players? It’s not entirely fair. Coaches have limited time to get to know prospects, and assuming he has no major red flags, coaches identify whether he’ll fit in, whether they think he’ll develop into a great player and whether or not he can make the grades. Those are likely the main components to signing a prospect. You simply never know how a player will react away from his parents with so much free time and distractions.
Bailey also talked about how his son made a mistake, caused trouble and paid a price. He continued his venting to Towers about the lack of respect for the program.
“Not one time have I heard any of these kids say how they appreciate the University of Georgia and their coaches,” Mr. Bailey said. “When they leave the University of Georgia, they go to their arch rival or somewhere else and tear down the university system, like Georgia did something bad to them. It wasn’t like Georgia did something bad to them, it was what they did back to the University of Georgia. And that’s what hurts me so bad.”
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