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UGA Football Coach Kirby Smart, Refutes AJC Article - Calls It "Inaccurate"

July 11, 2023

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ATHENS - UGA football coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday that a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is “inaccurate.”

“I am a firm believer that our program is a good program, and we have good players in it,” Kirby said Tuesday. “Roughly ten days ago an article came out that was inaccurate. I was actually stunned by the article. We wanted to gather the information so that we could make a sound response, which is what you are seeing today. It is very important that we respond to these very serious allegations the right way - not the fastest way.”

AJC Investigative reporter Alan Judd wrote a story with the headline “UGA football program rallies when players accused of abusing women” on June 27, 2023. Judd attended the media briefing with selected writers and reporters. Judd asked several questions as did other reporters.

Kirby, UGA AD Josh Brooks, UGA Equal Opportunity Office Director Qiana Wilson and UGA senior deputy director of athletics Darrice Griffin all spoke and answered questions Tuesday during the nearly hour-long session.

Judd asked about Jamaal Jarrett‍, who he reported on in his June article. Jarrett was on a recruiting visit to UGA. Jarrett has since signed with Kirby and UGA.   

“In addition to being accused of a sexual assault, he was out, by his own acknowledgement, until roughly 3 AM with players in bars in downtown Athens drinking alcohol at 16 years old. Was there any consideration based on all of that of pulling back the scholarship offer?”

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“There was consideration initially based on the accusation and charges that were ultimately dropped,” Kirby responded. “He committed and eventually signed under the stipulation that if he had those charges or issues he would not be able to. Unfortunately, I know that you continue to report about the breaking of the curfew. He came in for the curfew, and then broke the curfew (when he) left. That’s something at the time we did not know. We were unaware of that until a later date. We could’t disciple him because he wasn’t our student-athlete at the time.”

Judd then asked: “On the Adam Anderson case, do you feel it was appropriate for Bryant Gantt to first sit in on witness interviews with the police; secondly to appear in court as a character witness that involved a alleged victim that was also a student and was also an employee of the football program at the time. Do you feel like that was a signal that the football program or the University is taking sides in a sexual assault case?”

Anderson was indefinitly suspensed on November 4, 2021 and eventually dismissed from UGA’s football program. 

“I am not an expert at making that decision,” Kirby said, responding to Judd’s question. “That’s not my decision wether or not he sits in that. Athens Clarke-County PD, obviously, had no issue with that and have had no issue with that. That’s their decision. That’s not my call. I do know that in the case you are referring to the most important thing when we found out about (Adam Anderson’s case) was to be neutral. We were advised, by legal, to neither push anyone to go to a bond hearing to testify, nor stop anyone because they have a legal right to do that. As I understand it, that pertains to Bryant Gantt as well.”

“They were operating within their personal capacity,” Griffin said after Kirby. “It was not our place to encourage or discourage, so we maintained a neutral position with our student-athletes and with our staff members - giving them the autonomy that they have to operate in their own capacity.”

Judd interjected: “They were operating in their capacity while identifying themselves by their UGA football program affiliation. Does that not give the impression that they were operating on behalf of the program or the University?”

“I don’t see it as so,” Kirby said. 

Michael Raeber, UGA Chief Legal Counsel added this context to the question: “Those players and staff that appeared were under oath. They were asked by the defense council to identify themselves - including to identify themselves by position. So unless the suggestion was that they should have declined to answer the question under oath. Then I fail to see how that could possibly be construed as them or the program taking sides in that matter."

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