It’s about to become the most widely-reported bench warrant in the nation. Caleb King was arrested this morning for failure to appear in court about an unpaid speeding ticket over the summer. Because this is Georgia’s 11th arrest of the year, prepare for this story to develop into full-blown shrieking about a program spinning out of control. The ins and outs of this messy story are being updated throughout the day by the beat writers. It’s not smart of King to have let this ticket slide, and Mark Richt has to be banging his head against a wall over the thoughtlessness. But only at Georgia could the issue of an unpaid speeding ticket prompt talk about kicking a guy off the team.
There’s been message board chatter this morning about Mark Richt’s “new zero-tolerance policy” ever since freshman linebacker Demetre Baker was dismissed following Baker’s first arrest last month. Even the AJC’s Jeff Schultz is parroting the “zero-tolerance policy” line.
Let’s see what Richt actually said:
Richt said Baker “was fully aware of the possible consequences that could result from this type of poor judgment” and is “now paying a severe penalty.”
Richt also had expressed exasperation recently with player arrests, telling a caller on his radio show Sept. 13: “My patience is worn about as thin as it can wear…I can promise you [the players] know that the next guy has got himself some serious issues and anybody after that, too…We’ve all grown very tired of it.”
Asked Sunday evening if Baker’s quick dismissal indicates a new zero tolerance for arrests, Richt paused before saying: “I think all of our guys understand that they need to behave. I’ll put it that way.”
Unless someone can find quotes indicating otherwise, Richt pretty clearly doesn’t have such a policy in place. It’s clear that there’s a short leash, but there’s also plenty of room for sanity. No coach would be stupid enough to create a situation that puts him in the position of having to treat an underage DUI the same as something related to a moving violation. King will face internal discipline and could well be suspended for the Vanderbilt game, but it’s a stretch to think that his future at Georgia is in jeopardy.