- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Never shy about unloading on Stephen Garcia publicly over the years, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that Garcia's dismissal was an unfortunate situation.
Garcia, who had made it through five suspensions, was booted from the team Tuesday after failing a drug test.
"I don’t like it, don’t like it," Spurrier repeated when asked what his emotions were concerning Garcia's dismissal. "I wished he'd stayed and wished he could have finished his career here as a Gamecock, one way or another."
Before Spurrier found out about the positive drug test late Monday night, he'd had a conversation with Garcia earlier in the day and reminded him that he was just one injury away from being the Gamecocks' starter again.
Asked about the perception that maybe he was too hard on Garcia publicly and didn't praise him enough, Spurrier said, "I praise all players according to how they perform. It’s unfortunate what happened with Stephen. It’s all over now. We don’t need to rehash it. It’s an unfortunate situation."
Spurrier said pointedly that his rant at his weekly news conference Tuesday and refusal to talk if columnist Ron Morris of The State newspaper were in the room was not an attempt to deflect attention away from the Garcia news. Spurrier has been angry at Morris since the spring over a column Morris wrote concerning Bruce Ellington. Morris wrote that Spurrier "poached" Ellington from the basketball team.
"I was not [deflecting attention] and did not like doing that," Spurrier said. "I said what I needed to say yesterday and am not getting into that discussion anymore, and hopefully, that discussion is over."
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