Thursday, October 17, 2013
Greg Little tries to avoid UNC, scandal
By Pat McManamon
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little today addressed his involvement with a sport agents when he was at North Carolina.
The agent’s actions, giving cash and other benefits to Little and others at UNC, led to the agent being charged with a felony.
“I don’t really know about it unless our PR staff tells me,” Little said. “I can honestly laugh about it this time because I’ve probably been back to North Carolina less times than I can count on one hand in the past eight months to a year. And I’ve been on campus probably two times in the past two years. That is what it is.”
Little was in the middle of a large and troubling scandal at a school that had prided itself on avoiding those issues.
Little previously had admitted to agents from the North Carolina secretary of state’s office that he took more than $20,000 from Georgia-based agent Terry Watson in 2010, according to the state’s affidavit.
Little lost his senior season for the violations after he was declared permanently ineligible.
Watson was charged with 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement and one count of obstruction of justice on Oct. 10. The inducement charges are felonies. The charges stated he sent Little $20,457.24 in benefits from May to October of 2010. A UNC tutor also was charged with inducement for trying to get Little to sign with Watson.
The case is significant because it is the first time an agent -- or would-be agent -- has faced such serious charges for funneling money to players.
Little said he didn’t know who was indicted and for what charge.
“It was things in the past ...” he said. “I don’t know if they’ve gotten it all figured out down there or what.”
He continually said since he stays away, he doesn’t follow the process and doesn’t know the story. He said he avoids going back to Chapel Hill because he does not want “to be a distraction.”
“It’s just always something,” he said. “I remember having a camp (in his hometown of Durham, N.C.) and a radio station asking me about the North Carolina thing. It’s just always still muddy water there.”
Little has had quite an eventful few years. He was implicated in the UNC problems and at first lied about it. He was given 93 parking tickets at UNC. He was suspended for his senior season, then drafted in the second round by the Browns. He struggled catching the ball, but in his second season after a loss in Cincinnati he tweeted photos of himself celebrating a first down with Usain Bolt’s pose -- except Little called it “Usain Blot.” He then said he didn’t care what fans thought.
He seemed to come around after a midseason meeting with Alonzo Mourning, but in April he was cited after crashing his Audi on a Cleveland freeway and telling police he was going 127 mph.
He admitted the mistake in court, and was fined $350. But on Sept. 16 he was stopped for stop sign and change of direction violations at 1 a.m., a few hours after the team returned from a loss in Baltimore. He also was charged with driving with a suspended license.
Oh ... Little also was briefly demoted from the starting lineup this season, for “performance reasons,” coach Rob Chudzinski said.
Was that a wake-up call?
Said Little: “My performance itself was a wake-up call.”