Reaction: White and Golston Suspended

ATHENS – After a team meeting that lasted more than an hour on Wednesday evening, Georgia football coach Mark Richt announced that starting linebacker Derrick White will miss the first two games and starting defensive tackle Kedric Golston will miss the first game of the 2005 season due to their recent arrests.

Kedric Golston and Derrick White both were arrested after an April 10 bar fight. Although Golston's charges (simple battery on a police officer, obstruction and disorderly conduct) were much more severe than White's (disorderly conduct), a police report indicated that White was more involved in the incident. White's punishment was more severe because it was also related to other internal team issues, Richt indicated in a statement released by the school.

"Discipline is something that is essential to team success," Richt said in the statement. "Student-athletes, like any citizen, are expected to adhere to appropriate behavior and in the recent situation downtown be responsive to law enforcement officials. These players will pay a price for their poor judgment and hopefully they will learn from it.

"While these type things are always difficult, it's important now to put this behind us and move on as a football team. Our concentration now needs to be on preparation for the upcoming season."

White will miss the Sept. 3 Boise State game and the Sept. 10 South Carolina game. Golston will miss only the Boise State game. Both players also will receive internal discipline and community service assignments.

White and Golston declined comment when they left Wednesday's meeting at the team's Butts-Mehre practice facility. The meeting did not introduce any new rules for the football team, according to one participant. It did include a video presentation of the story of a college student who was paralyzed in an alcohol-related car accident, defensive tackle Darrius Swain said. Georgia has had 11 players arrested in the last 13 months, many on alcohol-related charges or in bars.

"Stay out of trouble, that's all it was," Swain said. "We've got a lot of free time this time of year, so it was just, ‘Stay out of trouble.'"

Swain is the player who figures to benefit the most from the suspensions. He probably will take Golston's place for the Boise State game. White already was in danger of losing his starting job on the strong side to Brandon Miller.

"I'm always ready," he said. "It's just a matter of getting the playing time. I'm always ready, willing and able."

Despite the benefit to him, Swain was unsure if Golston deserved any penalty.

"He really didn't do anything," Swain said. "Everybody thinks he did, but he didn't."

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