Lemon arrested and suspended from team

ATHENS – Macon's Michael Lemon, a sophomore defensive end at Georgia, was arrested Thursday on a felony charge stemming from an incident that allegedly left another man with a fracture below his left eye.

Lemon, 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, was charged with felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery stemming from an incident that took place Saturday during a community pool event at The Exchange apartments in Athens.

Lemon turned himself into the Athens-Clarke County police at 9 a.m. and was then placed under arrest, Athens attorney Ed Tolley said. Lemon was released at 11:02 a.m. on $6,500 bond, Tolley said.

Georgia's athletic department policy calls for any athlete charged with a felony to be placed on immediate suspension at least until the charges are investigated.

Lemon's arrest is the third of a Georgia football player in the last week. Offensive linemen Justin Anderson and Trinton Sturdivant were arrested Monday on charges of simple battery after a woman claimed they touched her without her permission.

"I'm certainly disappointed in a few of our players who have made poor decisions during the offseason," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by the school Thursday. "It is of great concern, and we take it very seriously. They will be dealt with accordingly and will pay a price. Each one will be disciplined based on the severity of their actions."

Richt went on to defend his team.

"I'm extremely excited about what the vast majority of our team has been doing on a daily basis this summer," Richt said. "They're working hard in the classroom, and there's certainly a buzz from our veteran players as to the work ethic and effort they've seen in their weightlifting, running and position workouts. Virtually every one of our players is giving back to the community this summer."

Georgia players have made a mission trip to Honduras, worked with Habitat for Humanity, Camp Sunshine, Camp Kudzu and Camp Independence this summer, Richt said.

A warrant was issued for Lemon's arrest Wednesday.

Demarius Jackson, the alleged victim in the case, and his family were concerned the incident would be swept under the rug because Lemon is a football player, Jackson said Thursday.

"They kept pressuring the (district attorney) and the police to do something about it," he said. "My parents were aggravated that it took so long to arrest him, but I think they are happy that something is being done finally and that it will continue to be done and not be let up on."

Jackson remains mystified five days after the incident about why it happened, he said. Lemon, who he had not met before Saturday, accused Jackson of talking to his girlfriend, Jackson said.

"I know her, but not like that, I told him he didn't know what he was talking about," he said. "He seemed like he was about to turn to leave, and that's when he blindsided me. That's all I remember."

Jackson was seated at the time of the incident, he said. After Lemon's second punch, Jackson blacked out, he said. Jackson still is spitting blood and has yet to learn if he'll need surgery to repair the damage, he said.

Lemon is expected in Macon in two weeks to testify in the trial of the man accused of killing his mother, 39-year-old Phaba Lemon, last February in Lizella.

Richt announced that starting guard Clint Boling, a sophomore, has been suspended for the first two games of the 2008 season after Boling's DUI arrest in May. Boling will miss games against Georgia Southern and Central Michigan.

Senior defensive end Jeremy Lomax, who was arrested in June after being found carrying an unloaded and concealed gun in his vehicle, has been cleared of all charges, according to the school.

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