Not that they care, but this Jalen Carter thing isn’t a good look for officials at the University of Georgia or around the NFL.
What’s the right word?
The same goes for ridiculous, hypocritical, dangerous, insane, disgusting, sick, outrageous or maybe just typical.
Actually, they all describe the Georgia football program spending last season ignoring an epidemic of traffic problems (and other character issues as reported by ESPN’s Todd McShay) involving Carter.
He’s a 6-foot-3 defensive lineman of 300 pounds with the agility of a skill-position player, and Georgia officials didn’t wish to lose that by choice for even a millisecond in pursuit of a second consecutive national championship.
Mission accomplished, especially since Carter crushed offensive linemen, running backs and quarterbacks along the way to Georgia’s 65-7 slaughter of TCU in January during the finale of the College Football Playoff.
Meanwhile, cops around Georgia’s campus in Athens watched Carter go nuts with the gas pedal of his 2021 black Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk.
The vehicle retails among used models for around $100,000, and when Carter wasn’t speeding around campus — you know, literally, he was showcasing it while advertising for an Ohio luxury car dealer through his NCAA-approved NIL (name, image and likeness) contract.
In the video, Carter bolts away courtesy of the 707-horsepower engine that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in three seconds. The top speed is 180 mph, and Carter did nearly half of that in late September when he was ticketed in Athens for doing 89 in a 45 mph zone. That fine was $1,013, and he had to pay an additional $151 for each of the several tinting violations on the vehicle.
The Athens police also released a bodycam video of the officer pleading with Carter to tell his teammates to stop their reckless driving.
Carter kept playing for the Bulldogs.
Earlier that month, Carter was fined $185 for failing to obey a traffic control device near campus. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that fine — along with others — was paid by Bryant Gantt, Georgia football’s director of player support, but here’s another name for his role: He’s the “fix it” dude for whenever one of the Bulldogs gets in trouble with the law.
Gantt also paid the $288 fine incurred by Carter in late August in Athens when he parked in a handicapped zone around Georgia’s athletic complex.
Carter kept playing for the Bulldogs.
Why not, by the way? Georgia football is trending in the direction of Miami’s bad boys of the 1980s under Jimmy Johnson and Bobby Bowden’s out-of-control Florida State bunch around the turn of the 21st century.
When Bowden was asked before the 2000 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans if placekicker Sebastian Janikowski would start despite his growing list of legal issues, Bowden said, “If we kick off, he will kick unless he has a heart attack, or I have one. I do have a Warsaw rule (Janikowski is from Poland). If he is breathing and alive, he will kick off.”
Hilarious, but hideous.
Stetson Bennett wasn’t in Sebastian territory when it came to functioning as a serial knucklehead, but Georgia’s starting quarterback for its back-to-back national titles had his demons.
Bennett was arrested by police at 6:15 a.m. in late January around a gated community near downtown Dallas after they received word of somebody banging on doors at random. They found Bennett hiding behind a brick wall, and he was hauled away in handcffs for public intoxication.
Gantt wasn’t in Dallas to save Bennett. Even so, soon after 2:45 a.m. in Athens on January 15, when the Bulldog Nation spent the previous day celebratng another national championship, Gantt did what much of his $209,000 yearly salary commanded him to do. He rushed to the horrific scene after a speeding SUV rented by the university slammed into trees, utility poles and an apartment building.
The vehicle carried four members of the Georiga athletics department.
While two of the passengers — offensive lineman Warren McClendon, 21, and recruiting staff member Tory Bowles, 26 — continue to recover from injuries, 24-year-old driver Chandler LeCroy died from the crash, and so did 20-year-old offensive lineman Devin Willcock.
LeCroy was a Georgia recruiting specialist, and according to the Athens police this week, she had a blood-alcohol level (.197) nearly 2 1/2 times the legal limit. The police also said she was driving more than 100 mph during a street race with Carter in his Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk before losing control of her vehicle.
Carter told cops a series of different stories in January about his relationship to the crash, and they obtained a warrant for his arrest Wednesday. They booked him in Athens for racing and reckless driving. After he posted a $4,000 bail, he was released, and an arraignment hearing was set for April 18.
Then Carter was off to the NFL combine in Indianapolis as a 21-year-old physical freak projected as the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft. And, yeah, the conventional wisdom is correct. Given his off-the-field flaws that sprinted this week from the shadows to the spotlight, he might drop a little in the first round.
Only a little.
Just win, baby.