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Boys don't need to be boys - Jeffery Armstrong

While I was putting together the sports section the other day I read a story from the Associated Press about how 11 University of Tennessee football players have been either arrested or cited for crimes ranging from aggravated assault to underage drinking since February 2004.

And that story followed a story about two University of Georgia football players were arrested in a bar fight in downtown Athens, one of which was Kedric Golston, a player I've known since his days at Sandy Creek High in Tyrone. I was really disappointed to see that Kedric was charged with simple battery of a police officer, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct. Kedric and his teammate may be suspended for that and that would be a shame.

When I was working at another paper doing high school sports, Kedric was one of my favorite players to cover. A nose guard on the Sandy Creek football team, he was a man among boys. I saw him play against Creekside High and came away impressed. Even though he was the man in high school, he was really cool to interview. He was respectful and pretty humble for all his talent and popularity in school. He even told me during his junior year that instead of playing basketball (he was a two-year starter on the team), he would instead try his hand at wrestling for the first time.

And wrestling at 275 pounds, all Kedric did was win every match except one, the state finals match against one of the best heavyweights in the state. That's how talented this guy really is, for sure. I was so impressed with him that when he got into a wreck in his truck and broke his leg during the middle of his senior football season, I truly wanted to go to the hospital to see him. I called the hospital, but he wasn't able to have visitors at the time. I was so glad he was still able to attend Georgia and beamed with pride as he became the starting defensive tackle for UGA.

Kedric has really changed since he's been at Georgia. He was part of those players who sold their SEC championship rings a few years ago and now this. I hate to see a good kid act up like this. But he's not alone. What's with these football players today? Aggravated assault? Underage drinking? Shoplifting? That's crazy. Now I know that if these guys go out, there may be a few jealous knuckleheads out there that may want to provoke them. But those yahoos have nothing going on for them – the football players stand to make millions on the pro level and they must realize this and learn to walk away, even if they're besmirched by regular students or fans. They can't jeopardize their tremendous futures. Then again, these athletes may be starting feuds and that's not good, either.

I miss the good ol' days, when I was in school. The most the football players would do at my school would be skipping people in the lunch line because they were bigger than most everyone else. I didn't get too upset with them because I skipped line myself (especially as I became an upperclassman – hey, I wasn't perfect). Sure, there were a few football player-fraternity fights on campus, but that was a very rare thing. My friends and I used to do crazier things than the football players back in the 80's. I'll never forget my friend Larry Owens running through the girls dorm at night banging on doors and asking girls in his best Asian voice (Larry was black) if they wanted to buy pickles for 25 cents. When they'd come to the door groggy and tired, he would say he ran out of pickles. It was the funniest thing I've witnessed in my life. Stuff like that was our disorderly conduct.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com .