Here is how it usually goes down… I get a text; see a message board post; or get a phone call about how so-and-so has either been arrested, or will be in trouble soon enough.
Then comes the tricky part: Calling Georgia's sports information staff (who may or may not be available, and probably does not yet know about the problem). Then calling either calling the player himself or someone close to him – or the jail itself – to confirm. The jail, for obvious reasons, is always open, but provides little detail. The player is usually not going to answer, and the person close to the player might not already know.
At all times this is a miserable phone call to make.
Sometimes you are breaking the news that a player got in trouble with the law to a coach… again – not an ideal situation.
To compound that for someone like me, who has covered many of the players on the team since they were juniors in high school, is that you know some of the players pretty well. That means you are writing a story about a player who you, probably, like and pull for.
It is never fun to be the bearer of bad news – even if it is a part of your job's responsibilities. The Bulldogs did a pretty good job of staying out of trouble during the off-season of 2009, and I hope they stay out of trouble after G-Day.
I want to add this: People can talk all they want about Mark Richt's responsibility one way or another as it relates to off-season problems at Georgia. Mark Richt is not to blame for a player at Georgia getting into trouble – the player is. This happens at every school. It's not a good thing, and should not be celebrated. But the blame is to one person and one person alone – the player.