EDITORIAL: Lessons for all in Harvey-Clemons dismissal from Georgia

February 26, 2014 

There should be instructive lessons for every athlete from midget football to high school in the dismissal of Josh Harvey-Clemons from the Georgia football program.

Highly recruited out of Valdosta with a world of talent, he may still land in the professional ranks, but not without baggage, if baggage really matters anymore. Georgia coaches finally decided they had had enough after his third violation. Their investment in time and energy had not paid off and they cut their losses. Such a shame.

Harvey-Clemons is but the latest Georgia player to be shown the door. He joins tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, tailback Isaiah Crowell, cornerback Nick Marshall, wide receiver Sanford Seay, Safety Chris Sanders, running back Washaun Ealey, linebacker Marcus Dowtin, linebacker Demetre Baker, quarterback Zach Mettenberger and defensive end Montez Robinson.

Some players may look and say that some of the dismissed players turned out OK after being dismissed by Georgia. That’s true. Marshall made it to the National Championship game with Auburn; Dowtin made it to the pros after his senior year at North Alabama.

But each would have to admit that being dismissed from Georgia was the low point of their lives and that of their families. Each would recognize that it would not have happened if they had just done as they were told. Each would tell a young player that their road to success was much harder because their hardheadedness. And that trait developed long before they slipped on the red and black jersey at Georgia.

Star athletes are, too often, given a pass or a wink-wink, nod-nod, when found doing something inappropriate. Why? Because their coaches and fans who watch them only care about winning -- and that’s part of the reason all on the list above, save one, Montez Robinson, was picked up by another college team.

As Harvey-Clemons’ former teammate and defender, Arthur Lynch tweeted after hearing the news, “Just to be clear, those who decide not to do it the RIGHT way do not deserve to don the Red & Black ... It is a privilege, not a right.”

More athletes need to understand that message and coaches need to carry that message on each recruiting trip.

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