The Georgia Bulldogs football team is among the nation’s elite programs following a berth in the College Football Playoff national championship game last season. To this point in 2018, the team is ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll and are as talented as any team in the country to make another run at the program’s first national title 1980.
One of the program’s rising stars is freshman quarterback Justin Fields. During last weekend’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers, the young QB saw his first substantial action scoring two rushing touchdowns in the win. During the game, one of the university’s star baseball players was allegedly heard shouting racial slurs directed at the Georgia football player and coaching staff that have led to the baseball player’s dismissal from the team.
Senior first baseman Adam Sasser led the Bulldogs to a 39-21 record last year, a second place finish in the SEC East and the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011. Along the way, Sasser posted career-best numbers across the board, hitting .317 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs on his way to a second team All-SEC selection.
The Evans, Georgia native led his Greenbriar High School baseball team to three appearances in the state title appearances during his four high school seasons.
On Saturday, Georgia student Klarissa Gulebian was taking in the game with her friends when she heard Sasser shouting racist comments towards the Georgia sideline. According to a Facebook post published to “Overheard at UGA”, when politely asked to stop, he continued on anyways.
After the allegations came to light and a full investigation was launched, the following press release came out from the university:
No explanation. No findings. Just punishment.
When a statement like this is put out there, it’s hard to not read between the lines and realize that whatever Sasser is alleged to have said must be somewhat true.
On Wednesday night, Sasser released the following statement to his personal Twitter account:
“First and foremost, I want to apologize for my actions at the football game on Saturday. I totally understand why my actions were offensive and I am deeply sorry for any pain or distress this has caused anyone.
“Secondly, I would like to apologize to the University of Georgia, my teammates and my coaches for the past 3 plus years and say that I am extremely sorry I have put you all in this position and wish nothing but the best for everyone.
“Lastly, I would like to thank my parents, extended family and too many friends to count for your love and constant support my whole life but especially during these past few days. I deeply regret disappointing each of you and will do everything in my power to never disappoint any of you again.”
Sasser added in a later tweet, “I spoke with Justin [Fields] last night and we are on good terms!”
?I did not expect this outcome, but I?m happy something was done,? said Africa Buggs, a junior at Georgia who was with Gulebian that day and also filed a complaint with the university’s Equal Opportunity Office. ?I just hope this serves as a warning to other people that your actions have consequences no matter who you are.?
While specifics about what Sasser said may never come to light, it’s obvious the university found reason to nip this behavior immediately, and Sasser’s dismissal proved a huge point — It doesn’t matter that you’re the star player on a sports team. If you engage in this kind of unacceptable behavior, there’s no place for you on a high-profile collegiate program.