Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Two Bulldogs charged in one incident; third is suspect in beating
By Mark Schlabach ESPN.com
ATHENS, Ga. -- Two University of Georgia football players are facing misdemeanor battery charges, and a third has been named by police as a suspect in an unrelated incident in which a Georgia student was beaten and hospitalized.
Guard Justin Anderson and tackle Trinton Sturdivant were arrested by Athens-Clarke County Sheriff's deputies Monday night. Each player was released on $1,500 bond.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Anderson and Sturdivant were charged after an incident involving two women outside a dormitory. One of the players allegedly touched the stomach of one of the women, who is pregnant.
"It is a misdemeanor allegation and the boys deny that they have done anything wrong," said Ed Tolley, an Athens attorney representing Anderson and Sturdivant. "We'll have to let the courts sort it out."
In an unrelated incident, police have named sophomore defensive end Michael Lemon as a suspect in a weekend altercation at an Athens apartment complex, in which a Georgia student suffered an eye injury and head trauma.
According to an Athens Clarke-County police report, which was first obtained by The Red & Black student newspaper, "Lemon punched [the victim] five times ... and several witness advised that Mr. Lemon's friends 'huddled' around Mr. Lemon as he was punching [the victim]."
The report said the alleged victim was taken to an Athens hospital by ambulance. The report said the victim's "left eye was noticeably swollen and he also had a bump on his head from where Mr. Lemon hit him. [The victim] advised that his vision was blurry from his left eye. It appeared as though [the victim] also had a concussion from the altercation."
UGA associate athletics director Claude Felton said Tuesday morning that he didn't believe the arrests of Anderson and Sturdivant and the allegations against Lemon were connected. Felton said Georgia football coach Mark Richt was out of town and unavailable for comment.
Under Georgia Athletic Association policy, Richt will decide whether to punish Anderson and Sturdivant because they are each charged with misdemeanors. An Athens-Clarke County Sheriff's official said Lemon was not in custody.
"Under Athletic Association policy, a misdemeanor offense will fall to a coach's discretion in terms of disciplinary action," Felton said. "I'm sure Coach Richt will gather all the facts and make a decision at some point."
The Bulldogs, who finished 11-2 and ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press top 25 poll last season, might be short-handed once they kick off the 2008 season. In May, sophomore Clint Boling, a projected starter at right guard, was charged with DUI in his hometown of Alpharetta, Ga.
In early June, senior Jeremy Lomax, a projected starter at defensive end, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and speeding.
Richt already has suspended backup fullback Fred Munzenmaier and defensive back Donavon Baldwin after each was arrested on alcohol-related charges.
Munzenmaier was suspended two games after he was arrested for underage consumption of alcohol, and Baldwin will miss one game after he was charged with DUI and improper driving.
Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.