Kirby Smart says Georgia is ‘far from’ having a culture problem after arrests, fatal car crash
It has been a tough few weeks for Georgia.
A Bulldogs player and staff member died in a car crash on Jan. 15, just days after Georgia won their second consecutive national title, and Jalen Carter, a potential top pick in the NFL draft this spring, was arrested Wednesday on charges of reckless driving and racing associated with an accident. Georgia linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson was arrested last month on the same charge in another incident.
So, is there a cultural problem in Georgia?
“Absolutely not. I would say that we are far from it,” head coach Kirby Smart. told ESPN on Friday. “When you talk to people outside of our program, they talk about what a wonderful culture we have – and we are doing an incredible job. these young people.
“Do we have ideal boys, girls and players? Not necessary. But I promise you this, this is the goal: that we grow these guys and make them better. And I feel very good about the culture of our program.”
Kirby Smart on ‘heartache’ after fatal crash
Hours after the Georgia parade to beat TCU in the national championship game, police said that early on January 15, Carter was in a race with for-hire analyst Chandler LeCroy on a street near campus.
Police said the Ford Expedition Lecroy was driving went off the road and crashed into two power poles and several trees. Lecroy was taken to the hospital, where she later died from her injuries. Forward Devin Willock, who was sitting behind Lecroy in the car, was thrown out of the car and died at the scene.
Another employee and a former Georgia player were also in the car, but survived. Police said the car was traveling at 104 mph at the time of the crash, and that Lecroy’s blood alcohol concentration was about 2.5 times the legal limit in Georgia.
Smart said his wife, Mary Beth, woke him up with the news after he missed several phone calls that morning.
“Heartache,” said Smart, ” via ESPN. “I got a call at about 3 am. Immediately went to the emergency room. It was probably one of the toughest moments I have ever experienced as a coach and leader, seeing the pain on the faces of the players who joined. morning at the emergency room. [Athletics director] Josh Brooks was there. You know, [I] I still remember the ER doctor breaking the news to me and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life.”
It didn’t get much easier in the following weeks either.
“There are 130 football players in our building who are suffering and struggling with pain. And we emotionally support the mental health of these guys,” Smart said. via ESPN. “We had a few players who struggled to come back after the parade, who really pulled through. It has been a tough time for our family, our inner family, for both staff and players.
Carter was arrested Wednesday for his alleged role in the crash. He left the NFL scouting center in Indianapolis, flew to Athens to turn himself in, then returned on Thursday.
Carter’s arrest comes a week after Dumas-Johnson was charged with reckless driving following a separate incident just days before the fatal accident. Police said they saw Dumas-Johnson’s car drive at high speed before fleeing the scene on January 10.
“I mean there [are] laws in place for things like this to prevent that for some reason,” Smart said. via ESPN. “And we want to educate our players in every way, in every part of our organization. We are constantly looking for the best way in everything including health and safety. I talked about drugs and alcohol, I talked about gambling, I talked about car racing and high speeds. You have to educate your players and you have to make sure they understand the risks and dangers of this and that’s what we were trying to do.”