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Georgia Football

UGA Responds to Allegation of Racism from Former Player Otis Reese

September 23, 2020

ATHENS - Georgia’s athletic association responded to former Bulldog player Otis Reese’s allegation on social media.

Reese, who has not been cleared to play for Ole Miss since transferring to Oxford, said his time at UGA “took a devastating mental toll on me.”

“From my first moments I stepped on campus, it was not what I expected , The Racist events that I kept experiencing weighed on me heavily and seemed never ending,” Reese posted. 

Reese said that he was twice pulled over “and harassed” by Athens-Clarke County police while at UGA. He also added: “one of my closest friends and teammates was called a n***** by a white student-athlete. Another group of white classmates mocked slavery and pretended to whip each other.”

Reese appears to be referencing an incident that happened in 2018 when former UGA baseball player Adam Sasser yelled racist language to describe former UGA QB Justin Fields during a football game. Sasser was dismissed from UGA’s baseball team days later. 

“If what I read and heard is true, it’s really unacceptable behavior that’s not who we are at Georgia,” Smart said shortly after the game. “It’s sad that something like this would happen. I’m disappointed. But it doesn’t affect our family, our unit here and our kids have been great. It’s not something I’ve had to address with them. I’ve addressed it with Justin. That’s the most important thing.”

UGA said Wednesday in a statement that it was willing to release Reese’s waiver request if the Ole Miss linebacker would permit it. 

“We cannot comment on student-athlete eligibility matters due to federal privacy laws, but we would be happy to share our full response to Otis Reese’s waiver request, if he provides a signed release allowing us to do so. UGA disputes any suggestion that it maintains an unsafe, unsupportive, or racially insensitive environment.”

Earlier this month Smart donated $1 million to Georgia “to support the UGA Athletic Association’s new social justice program, create scholarships for senior student-athletes whose final seasons were impacted by COVID-19, and contribute to the expansion of the UGA football program.”

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