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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."

- He 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."


CSA said...

I really do like the kid, I think he's as straight-up as they come. It sounds like he has learned something from it, however, I don't think it'll matter cause he's done with the NCAA being in his business, and I don't blame him. I don't think there's any chance he comes back for his senior year.

Anyway, I wish him the best of luck with the remaining games, I hope he really challenges this team to step it up and play out the rest of the season for pride and glory.

Chris said...

Wow, they went through his bank statements? Are they the mob?

Anonymous said...

So the NCAA does an investigation based on a rumor perpetuated by TMZ??? ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING???

I didn't know the NCAA had the power to access one's private bank statements. I am not a lawyer but this just doesn't seem right. AJ should have lawyered up immediately.

DieHardDawg said...

Now the out-of-left-field nature of the stated offense after all the attention on the party makes a little more sense. As far as the bank statements go, that seems like a little bit of a breach of privacy. Did the NCAA ask to see them and he acquiesced? Do the players sign something when they enroll that allows that sort of thing? Is the right of the NCAA to do that sort of thing without express written consent implied in acceptance of the scholarship? I honestly have no idea on those questions...anyone know?

Thanks as always for the info/insight Seth.

Willb said...

So the ncca goes to Athens to interview aj green based on a hot tip from tmz!! They found out the ever truthful tmz was wrong and decide there going to find something on aj! They find out about the jersey after going through his personal bank account! Aj was more truthful than I know I would of been or most any other player in the nation and he still gets four games!
I think any player in the country sees this and they realize that telling the truth to the NCAA doesn't make any difference! I think the NCAA should of shown that if your straight up like aj and don't lie there suspensions will not be as harsh! Maybe give him two games! He was as straight up as anyone could of or would of ever been!

TMZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm gonna send some rumors to tmz about John Brantley and cam newton now! I'm sure if the NCAA digs far enough they will find something on everyone!!!

Burritoman said...

I am praying for a lockout in the NFL. That is the only way we get to see AJ on Saturdays in Athens past this year. I won't blame him at all for heading out early after going through all this.

Doug said...

Note to other college football players:

Don't deposit the money in your bank account.

Todd said...

AJ Green should sue the NCAA after he graduates.

PTC DAWG said...

There is a reason some things need to be handled with CASH.


Anonymous said...

it's pretty disturbing the ncaa would have access to students' BANK ACCOUNTS. that's just downright creepy...

Greight said...

I'd really like to see a comparison between AJ and the guy from Alabama.

Justin said...

You know, the idea of feeding the likes of TMZ false allegations about other teams' key players actually sounds like a great idea in light of this nonsense.

I cannot believe the way the NCAA apparently decided to perpetrate a witch hunt against a kid universally regarded as one of the nicest, least troublemaking kids on our team -- just because he happens to be our best player.

I think A.J. must have been pretty naive (at best) to have been duped into thinking it was okay to sell his jersey, but the fact that the NCAA rewarded his honesty by dropping the hammer on him is infuriating. Equally shameful is the way the NCAA has selectively policed certain programs (and certain players) in recent months after years of inactivity.

In my view, this confirms the long-held public perception that the NCAA is a power-hungry, capricious "governing body" whose insulated existence renders them almost completely oblivious to the real world of college athletics. These guys preach ethics, morality, and example-setting, yet they demonstrate nothing but ignorance and inconsistency in their own dealings.

While I don't think the college sports world should abandon all its principles, it's clear that the NCAA is a flawed police force, at best. They have no credibility, as far as I'm concerned. There's got to be a better system than this.

Michael said...

Seth, can you try to find out who would have the right to auction off one of AJ Green's game worn jersies? (the horse auction you mentioend).

devildawg said...

Seth, thanks for following up with the NCAA. I'd love to hear how that went. My imaginary version of it:

Seth: "Hi, so.... is it true that you initiated an investigation of AJ Green based solely on the mention of his name in a posting on TMZ?"
NCAA: "We aren't going to make further comment (ie, yes)"
Seth: "Oh, but, when that TMZ rumor turned out false, only then did you decide to continue going through his personal info, just in case you found any other incongruities?"
NCAA:"*click* (ie, yes, it took us over a month to find any)"