Admittedly not knowing all the facts in the case, a few things immediately come to mind concerning A.J. Green’s four-game suspension:
First of all, if all he did was sell one of his jerseys to an agent, how does Green get four games when Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus got two games for flying to Miami on an agent’s dime? Maybe there’s more than meets the eye. For instance, was Green completely forthcoming with the NCAA? Also, keep in mind that the NCAA said in its ruling on Dareus that the initial suspension was for four games, but cut it back to two games because of mitigating circumstances. In short, a four-game suspension for selling a jersey seems a bit steep.
Secondly, as we saw with the Jeremiah Masoli case at Ole Miss, there’s always that chance the school wins its appeal. He went from not playing at all this season to playing in the first game. Whatever happens with Georgia’s appeal, it’s pretty well locked in that Green won’t be on the field this Saturday at South Carolina.
Lastly, is it just me, or is there something inherently wrong with the system when a player is punished so severely for selling one of his jerseys and the school he’s playing for is raking in the money left and right by selling replicas of his jersey? Green profits zero from those sales, and right now, Georgia is offering six different versions of Green’s jersey for sale on its official site for team merchandise. Having been on Georgia’s campus a couple of different times last year, I can say with confidence that Green’s jerseys are easily the school’s top seller. Yes, athletes are told over and over again that they can’t profit from the sell of any memorabilia, and Green let down his teammates by deciding to do so. Still, something doesn’t seem right about the whole setup. It’s akin to coaches being able to come and go as they please, jumping from this job to the next, but athletes being at the mercy of the schools if they want to transfer elsewhere and not have to pay their own way the year they sit out. They're already losing a year of eligibility.