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Warrant Issued for Arrest of Alec Ogletree; Mark Richt Must Set an Example

Although vineyarddawg has beaten me to the punch, this story warranted (no pun intended) front-page attention. I'll let Seth Emerson provide the details:

A warrant was issued by UGA Police for freshman safety Alec Ogletree on a charge of "theft by taking."

According to the police log, a male student reported a $35 helmet stolen on June 15, between 4 and 10:45 p.m. at the Rankin Smith Athletic Building.

Obviously, Ogletree is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen, but the fact that the helmet was stolen on June 15 and the warrant was issued yesterday indicates that there has been an investigation which turned up at least some evidence to support the issuance of a warrant. Ogletree could still be cleared, and I hope he will be, but another arrest was the last thing we needed.

If it turns out that there is something to this, I am baffled by this. What type of helmet was taken? Are we talking about a bicycle helmet or a football helmet? Why would a football player swipe a football helmet?

Earlier today, before I heard this troubling news, I received an e-mail promoting a new book about college football, Ken Armstrong's and Nick Perry's Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity, which tells the story of the Washington Huskies' last Rose Bowl run and the ways in which police, prosecutors, and judges looked the other way while a winning football team went on a crime spree. While, obviously, no authority figures are cutting Georgia football players any slack, and while any Bulldogs who even approached the level of wrongdoing of which some Huskies were accused have been booted off the team by Mark Richt, there comes a point at which a lot of little things add up to a big thing.

No, I don't think we're in danger of becoming a rogue program, but this isn't some rinky-dink ministerial matter about a suspended license. Theft by taking is no legal technicality; it is a criminal act and a moral wrong. It is a violation of the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated, and the Eighth Commandment. I have no idea whether Ogletree is guilty, but our football players know they must adhere to a higher standard, and there needs to be an unmistakable indication that the Bulldogs must behave or be gone.

Leaving aside the stuff even Florida fans acknowledge as merely dumb and not insidious, we have seen Zach Mettenberger kicked off the team, Montez Robinson kicked off the team, Dontavius Jackson suspended for half a season (prompting a transfer), and Damon Evans forced to resign for being accused of meaningful criminal wrongdoing. If Alec Ogletree is found to be guilty of the crime for which a warrant was issued against him---a very big "if," which has not yet been proven---he needs to follow them out the door.

Perhaps that is a harsh sanction for a $35 helmet, but it is time to set an example. There is, after all, an old saying that horse thieves are not hanged for stealing horses; they are hanged so that horses will not be stolen.

Go 'Dawgs!