Florida has suspended starting quarterback Will Grier for the season for the use of a banned substance in an over-the-counter supplement. The player claims he didn’t realize what he took qualified as a performance enhancing drug.
I have two immediate thoughts:
• So I guess Kentucky is going to win the SEC East.
• My default position in any situation when a positive drug test is followed by the words, “Sorry, I didn’t know,” is that somebody’s lying.
First, about the ramifications in the SEC East:
The Gators are a surprising 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference going into their biggest game of the season this week at LSU. The team’s success stems mostly from its defense. But Grier, a redshirt freshman, had his best game in Florida’s biggest win of the season, an upset of then No. 3 Ole Miss, when he completed 24 of 29 passes for four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s the first Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2009 to throw for 200-plus yards in three straight games. So any suggestion that this won’t hurt Florida at all is just silly. He was the starting quarterback for a reason.
This may or may not affect Florida in the Georgia game in three weeks because the Gators rushed for 418 yards in last year’s meeting and won with Treon Harris starting. And, also, Georgia is kind of mediocre right now. (By the way, I was just kidding about Kentucky winning the East. I think.)
Now, about Grier. I understand that he came across as a sincere, deeply remorseful young man in a news conference Monday. (See video below.) And I’m not suggesting here that he doesn’t feel awful about what happened and that his lapse in judgement may cost himself and his team a shot at a division or conference title. He feels bad and he should feel bad. That’s what teaching moments are all about.
But I’ve seen, read and written too many stories about athletes and performance enhancing drugs over the last 25 years. That tends to make one cynical when somebody claims that either his/her positive drug test must be inaccurate or that he/she had no idea what he was taking was illegal.
Every athlete at the professional and major college level is constantly educated about substances that they are and are not allowed to take. Every athlete is told probably 10,000 times, “If you’re not sure, don’t take anything until you check with us.”
So this leaves only three possibilities when an athlete tests positive for a banned substance and claims some form of innocence: 1) They’re lying; 2) They’re unbelievably stupid; 3) Both 1 and 2.
Grier reportedly gained 24 pounds since the start of last season to reach his current weight of 215. He reportedly added 14 pounds since just the spring. Did that really not seem just a little abnormal to him, or to his coaches?
Sorry if I’m not just falling in line with others and buying the complete innocence act.
Recent ramblings • Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season • Short takes: After loss, Georgia is trailing even Kentucky in SEC East • It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’ • Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think) • Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in • Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason • Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt • Falcons 4-0, Freeman 7 TDs — who didn’t see that coming? • Short takes: An easy Falcons win, and this is a team to take seriously • Richt and Georgia fall off stage again when it matters most • Short takes: Georgia’s reality check — there’s a problem at quarterback • Georgia needs win over Alabama to alter perceptions • Weekend Predictions: Nothing sinister here – Dogs over Bama • Georgia hired Jeremy Pruitt for games like this • Nationals are a more attractive mess than the Braves • Overreaction Monday: Georgia may be 4-0 but season starts now • Georgia now can prepare for opponent that matters most: Alabama • Short takes on Georgia’s win over Southern • Weekend Predictions: Lilly takes the lead and likes Falcons • Falcons’ fourth-quarter fizzles absent so far under Dan Quinn • Braves have been more adept at building off field than on it • Overreaction Monday: Are things as they seem with Falcons, Dogs, Jackets? • Georgia chases away Spurrier demons with dominating performance • Short takes: Lambert says, ‘I just had to go through a rough patch’ • Georgia can’t blow game, Tech can’t blow chance • Tech over Irish, Georgia over South Carolina (but not by 17) • Tech has something Georgia would like — comfort at quarterback position • An impressive opening by Dan Quinn’s new Falcons • Short takes: Gruden praises Falcons’ defense after win • Georgia looks like a shaky 2-0 with its passing game • Short takes: Another Georgia win but QB issues continue • Weekend Predictions: I can’t block this Falcons’ upset from my brain
— Jenna Ladd (@jenna_ladd) October 12, 2015