Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Don't you love freedom of speech

Looks like Georgia Tech will be now forever tied to Sebastian Telfair as the school that had someone claiming to represent them offer Telfair big bucks to play at GT. I'm not kidding. It's coming out in a new book on Telfair's life. I saw this the other day, and decided to wait posting it to see if I could find out more. Now it's making its way around the discussion boards.

Here's the excerpt from the book that discusses the GT allegations:

I inquired about the man who made the alleged offer. "He asked me what school I was going to," Telfair said. "I didn't even know the guy at all. I knew the school he was from.... He said what school he was from.

He was like, 'What school are you thinking about going to?' I was like, 'You know, I've got a couple of choices,' but I didn't say any names. He was like, 'If you come to this school, you'll get paid. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of dollars, $250,000.' And I was like, 'Oh yeah?'

"But it ain't worth it. If you do something stupid with a school and then after it happens, you get in trouble for it, you're like, 'Damn, I wish I didn't do that. It wasn't worth it. I didn't get enough out of it for me to get in trouble.' If you've got a chance to be a millionaire in a couple of months or in a year, why take a couple hundred thousand when it's only going to hurt you and your family?

"But then, what if you do get hurt? What if you don't make it? Then you're like, 'Damn, I could've had that.' It's a risky situation, and nothing's guaranteed."

Back to the man who made the alleged $250,000 offer. I asked Telfair for a description, and he said the man was white. I asked if the man was old, young, or middle-age. "Middle," he said. "I don't know the guy's name.... The person that it was, I was in the gym of that school he said he was with."

Telfair wouldn't name the school the man said he represented. A person close to Telfair said the man claimed to represent the interests of Georgia Tech, the school that had landed two previous point-guard greats from New York, Kenny Anderson and Stephon Marbury.

Paul Hewitt, the Georgia Tech head coach, dismissed the possibility that any alum or fan at a Georgia Tech home game could have approached Telfair with an improper offer. "There's no way Telfair came to a game on our campus and didn't come into our locker room," Hewitt said. "If that happened, one of my assistants would've been fired. If he came to one of our games, it was an Elvis-like appearance. If he was down here, I didn't know it. I think somebody's trying to sex up the story."

Hewitt confirmed that Georgia Tech briefly recruited Telfair during his junior year. His assistant, Willie Reese, tried to convince Hewitt to go to Lincoln to see the point guard. Hewitt had seen Telfair as a sophomore and figured right then and there he would go straight to the NBA. "But I had Willie call Stephon and ask him if he thought Sebastian would go to school," Hewitt said. "We have these buses on campus that take you from one place to another, and we call them the Stinger.
Stephon told Willie, 'You really think that kid's going to ride a Stinger bus when he can be driving a Mercedes? There's no way he's going to school."'

Allison George, Georgia Tech's director of sports communications, said that she, too, never saw Telfair at a Georgia Tech game and reminded me that a player of Telfair's profile would have been almost impossible to miss. But Lincoln assistant Danny Turner said his brother did attend a Georgia Tech game, a claim Telfair declined to comment on. "It wasn't an official visit," Turner said. "He was down there for something else and just went to a game."

Bubba Barker, Telfair's best friend, confirmed Turner's account. "Yeah, he went to a Georgia Tech game," Barker said. "It was a brief visit, like in and out of there. He said he liked the people there a lot."
Neither Turner nor Barker could recall which game Telfair attended.

Of course, someone could have made a $250,000 offer -- and an empty one at that -- without having any connection to Georgia Tech or its basketball program. Whether the alleged offer to Telfair was real or a hoax, this much was clear: The Lincoln star was forever in position to reject business propositions that could have landed him in trouble.

You know, this kind of crap pisses me off. This "sources close to Telfair" crap. It just dirties up the GT name with no evidence or facts to back anything up. Just somebody saying it was someone who said they represented GT.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. As a supporter of GT and the athletics program, I NEVER want to sacrifice our ethics and morals in the name of winning. I will take mediocrity on the court if that is the only price for sleeping at night. That's not to say I will be happy in the middle of the pack all the time, but NO price is worth cheating. That's not what we do. That's against the core of what Georgia Tech is about. Why? Because Georgia Tech is not about sports as a primary mission. Sports supports the overall mission which is about education and research and producing high-caliber, high character individuals.