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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A.J. Green speaks (updated ... again)

A.J. Green just spoke to the media for the first time since his suspension. He started off by talking about what the past month has been like.

“Painful. But everybody makes mistakes in life,” Green said. “This taught me a valuable lesson. It just gave me time to reflect and see who was really for me personally, and who was gonna stay in my corner through thick and thin. I really found out that. It made me a stronger person, and I’m moving on now.”

Green provided some answers on the investigation:

- He sold the jersey to Chris Hawkins spring break of his sophomore year.

“When I did it, I really didn’t think nothing of it," he said. "I just thought it was something minor. I really didn’t think it was gonna be anything serious when I did it. Like I said, I didn’t think it through. I just did it. It just came back. It was a big thing. I served my punishment and I’m ready to play now.”

Green said he’d been approached before about selling some of his apparel, but this was the first time he had done so.

“It was spring break. You know, so extra cash,” Green said. “So I didn’t really think about it, that it was a big deal. So I did it. ... It was a long time ago, so I really didn’t think nothing of it,” Green said. “When that came up, they asked me, so I told them, and just moved on.”

- The NCAA found out about it when it examined Green’s bank statements.

“They had every bank statement going back to February ’09," Green said. "So they looked and saw that, and said, ‘Hey where’d you get the money from.’ I told them. I’m not gonna lie to them or anything like that to even jeopardize my whole season. So I just told them.”

That conversation with the NCAA happened a week before the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Prior to that, Green thought the investigation was into the South beach agent party, which is why he wasn’t worried. He had not been on the trip, and said that the NCAA told him it had only heard his name connected to it through a report on TMZ.

“I didn’t go on that trip. I didn’t know anything about it,” Green said. “When the NCAA told me about it, they said they heard about it through TMZ. Nobody told them, it was a rumor. So they came down here and asked me.”

Added Green: “So I guess when they couldn’t find nothing on that trip, they went back and found this.”

UPDATE: I checked with the NCAA, asking if it could verify Green's account. Spokesman Stacey Osbourn replied: "The NCAA does not have any further comment or response to the student-athlete."

- Green never met Hawkins, and only talked to him on Facebook.

“I didn’t know him at all,” Green said. “I never talked to him on the phone.”

- Green said he wasn't surprised someone was willing to pay $1,000 for an Independence Bowl jersey, because he heard another one of his jerseys was auctioned off - at a horse race, Green heard - for $10,000.

- Finally, Green said he's ready to get back on the field.

“I’m gonna go get loose out there," he said. "All this that I worked so hard, and I had to miss four games. This offseasons was probably one of my best offseasons, I felt like. And just getting better and stronger and faster. And now’s the time to show that."

8 comments:

Keese said...

So how did the money-jersey transfer take place? By mail?

The NCAA is ridiculous. They follow a rumor and then dig up non-related issues and find a way to punish. It's like they are above the law. Not saying AJ should have sold the jersey, but we're talking about a 20 year old getting petty cash for spring break. Give me a break.

John From Texas said...

Any lawyers in the house? How can the NCAA get a players's bank statement without his permission?

"They had every bank statement going back to February ’09," AJ Green said. "So they looked and saw that, and said, ‘Hey where’d you get the money from.’ I told them. I’m not gonna lie to them or anything like that to even jeopardize my whole season. So I just told them.”

Anonymous said...

The NCAA is a complete joke. The Alabama DE gets a two game suspension for paid trips to Miami. AJ gets four for selling a jersey 2 years ago. They went after AJ on rumors. What a great precedent to set.

Rob said...

The real issue to me is how AJ was dumb enough to deposit the money in his bank account?! Come on, man! You got a grand from a guy for selling your jersey...you know it's against the rules...don't deposit it in your bank account!

Anonymous said...

Wait, why would they be looking back to bank records for 2009 if the Miami trips happened just recently? You would think that the UGA lawyers would have stopped them from looking back to a certain point. At what point does it become a violation of the law to have an open-ended investigation into personal information?

Keese said...

TMZ announced at 3:37pm on Wed. July 21 that "A source closely connected to Georgia's athletic department tells TMZ the wide receiver allegedly attended a party at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami on Memorial Day weekend."

Later that day the NCAA sent a letter of inquiry to UGA. Wow, NCAA moves fast following rumors but slow with everything else.

Someone threw AJ under the bus. It had to have been Hawkins or someone speculating off the Hawkins-AJ friend status on facebook. But why? If he refused to speak in depth to the NCAA about anything (according to him), then where is the link here to AJ and for what reason?

I guess the NCAA can force anyone to comply with their "inquiries" by threatening to take away a student-athlete's eligibility. This whole issue with the NCAA is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

So the original link to AJ-Hawkins-Miami party is false but uncover the link to the jersey by bank statements? Hawkins must have told the NCAA about that just to rat him out.

Sounds like the NCAA may have been playing dumb to entrap AJ and see if he'd tell the truth about the jersey.

Anonymous said...

"I just thought it was something minor. I really didn’t think it was gonna be anything serious when I did it."

Guess again. I hate the "me" attitute this portrays.

“So I guess when they couldn’t find nothing on that trip, they went back and found this.”

Is it their fault you broke the rules? Is it their fault you got mixed up with someone you didn't know who turned out to be a coke dealing agent? No...so quit your whining. You broke the rules.

People the difference between Marcel Dareus and AJ is that Dareus went to his coaches to tell them what happened so they could self report it. AJ just hoped nobody found his "nothing major" rules violation. Yeah...the difference is justified.