Things just keep getting weirder as the details emerge surrounding Tray Matthews' controversial dismissal from the University of Georgia football team on Tuesday.
Matthews was already facing legal trouble after him and three of his teammates were charged by local police with theft by deception, allegedly for trying to submit school-issued scholarship checks twice in order to receive double the pay. The safety went to court for that issue on Thursday, two days after his dismissal.
But it turns out that the decision to kick him off the team had more to do with an in-class incident this past week then his legal woes, according to an exclusive report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tanya Sichynsky.
The narrative that emerged was that Matthews was involved in a dispute with his teacher during one of his summer classes, which led to concerns from the football staff about his continued disciplinary problems.
"We were just going back and forth on something and then the teacher just basically said, 'Y'all be quiet, y'all are always talking.' And that's the only thing that happened," Matthews said to the AJC.
"And the teacher was just like, 'Get out,' and I was like, 'Sorry, he just keeps talking to me. I wasn't disrespectful to the teacher at all.'"
While the dispute wasn't the sole cause of his dismissal, it may have been the proverbial straw to break his career as a Bulldog. The dispute occurred around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday and, at 5:25 p.m., Matthews tweeted that he was no longer part of the team.
"I'm sorry UGA family. I swear to God I love yal.I'm crying right now but I won't forget. Love the dawgs. Auburn or Louisville will be my home."
The professor of the children's literature course, Dr. Ronald Bogue, reportedly wasn't able to be reached for comment because he was set to retire after the course.
The dismissal continued a disturbing trend for the Georgia secondary. The defense has lost three potential starters this offseason, with fellow safety Josh Harvey-Clemons being dismissed and then transferring to Louisville. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins made the same transfer.
Louisville has been an appealing landing spot for Georgia’s malcontents on defense, since former Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is now holding the same title for the Cardinals.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt released a strong statement when announcing Matthews’ release.
“We are trying to make room for guys who are trying to do things right,” he said in a release.
That’s all well and good, especially for a program that prides itself on doing things by the book.
But it has to be frustrating for Georgia fans to see top-ranked recruits repeatedly leave after what might be seen as minor incidents. There’s a reason why these suspensions happen at Georgia more than at other schools, and it is not because Bulldog players are more unruly than others. These same problems surely happen at Alabama, Florida and the other titans of the Southeastern Conference.
The difference though is that Georgia’s players get punished, while other teams allow their players to get away with as much as possible before dismissing them.
That allows Georgia to keep its integrity. But it also might be the reason why the Bulldogs can’t win a championship in a league that is supremely talented.
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