As SkiDawg1985 brought to our attention, two Bulldogs were arrested in separate alcohol-related incidents within 34 minutes of one another last night. (Insert your frustrated expletives here.)
19-year-old fullback Fred Munzenmaier, whose most memorable play in 2007 was a trash touchdown against Ole Miss, was booked for the underage possession of alcohol and being a pedestrian walking in the roadway. Anyone who, in his much younger and more foolish days, ever had occasion to stagger across Broad Street on the way back to campus knows full well just how eye-rollingly bogus the latter jaywalking charge likely is, and any law that says a legal adult who is able to vote, get married, and be drafted cannot drink is a stupid law that treats grown men as children. Nevertheless, as Mark Richt said afterwards, Munzenmaier knew better.
The less sympathetic arrestee, at least based upon the allegations against him, is cornerback Donavon Baldwin, who is 21 years old but who was booked for improper driving and for driving under the influence. Baldwin was arrested shortly after 3:00 this morning. These charges, if true, are extremely serious.
Both Bulldogs were released on bond and both have been suspended by Coach Richt for at least the first game of the 2008 season. Once again, Coach Richt has handed down a punishment within 48 hours of learning of a player arrest.
In the afterglow of the Sugar Bowl, it was clear that only one thing could dampen Bulldog Nation's enthusiasm for the coming campaign . . . and this kind of nonsense is it. Obviously, at this point, the players have just been arrested and booked, but the charges against them have not been proven and their guilt of any wrongdoing cannot safely be assumed.
Should all or any portion of these allegations turn out to be true, though, these young men will have become the latest in an annoyingly long line of Bulldogs to have made bad decisions ranging from the irresponsibly foolhardy to the dangerously stupid. Many a University of Georgia undergraduate has been guilty of similar misjudgments, but football players have to know that they are headlines waiting to happen any time they make dumb choices.
Short of taking away every scholarship athlete's car keys as soon as the bowl game is over, I don't know what more Coach Richt could do, but this kind of silly crap is maddening. Athens abounds with temptations even for young men who lack the natural talent and good fortune to earn varsity letters in Division I-A football, but, sooner or later, football players have to learn better than to keep making the same mistakes every winter.
In October 1930, Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote in a letter to Arthur Davison Ficke, "It's not true that life is one damn thing after another - it's one damn thing over and over." If the Georgia faithful once again have occasion to sigh, shake their heads, and recall that quotation, surely it must be the offseason and many long months must lie ahead between us and autumn.