Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day - appreciating Mr. Bailey

Can't think of a better way to celebrate.

Please don't get me wrong, I pumped my fists while reading Sterling Bailey's dad go off on how it's the kids and not the system at UGA. In many ways I felt it was Coach Richt saying what he really can't say.

Such as this:
“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.”
Preach. I mean, how many times have you heard yourself saying the same things in your head? How many times have you wished you could've heard Coach Richt be given the chance to set the record straight? Kudos to Mr. Bailey for standing up for his son's coach, his son's program. His own program.

But he wasn't done. What he said next I think is even more powerful. Because his own son Sterling has seen trouble while at UGA...
“Sterling, when he first got down there, he did something wrong,” he told me.
Mr. Bailey explained that, when his son was a freshman, he got a call from Ron Courson, UGA’s director of sports medicine. He learned that Sterling had failed one of the football program’s drug and alcohol screenings.
In this particular case, Sterling had violated the Bulldogs’ alcohol policy. Then underage, his blood-alcohol content at the time of the surprise morning test was enough to still be legally drunk, Mr. Bailey said.
Sterling was not suspended as a result of the failed test, but he was subjected to much discipline, Mr. Bailey said. Not only was his son subjected to a long period of early-morning extra conditioning runs but, more importantly in his eyes, Sterling was ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling. 
So there's the story we don't usually hear. The one where the kid's name isn't thrown into the headlines, but the coaches and the counselors (and the parents!) help the young man work through his transgressions. Most importantly the player decides that playing in Athens is where his heart truly is. What a great ending!

And Auburn loses yet another quarterback prospect.