Friday, September 10, 2010

D.O.W.: A.J. Green's entrepreneurial spirit

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM

No word yet on whether or not UGA officials are considering placing barcodes or price tags on players jerseys
  • No word on whether or not UGA officials are considering placing barcodes or price tags on players jerseys

Imagine that you are a 21-year-old college student living in the party, shindig, kegger, mixer, rave and hootenanny capital of the southeast—otherwise known as Athens, Georgia.

Before heading out for a night on the town, you scour through your closet in search of that perfect outfit, but amid the empty pizza boxes and beer cans, you stumble upon one particular article of clothing that you hadn't worn in a few months.

So, being the resourceful college student that you are, you figure that instead of simply letting the garment collect dust, that you should go ahead and try to sell it.

As crazy as it may seem that anyone would actually want to buy your used threads, someone offers $1,000 dollars—that's right: ONE-THOUSAND DOLLARS—for one of your old, sweaty shirts.

You obviously accept the offer—willingly parting ways with the mysteriously valuable article of clothing—and head off to your 12:30 psychology lecture.

You're $1,000 richer and you've got a head start on spring cleaning.

Perfect, right?

Wrong. Just ask University of Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, who did just that (sort of).

Due to the fact that Green—widely heralded as the best wide receiver in all of college football—isn't exactly your typical UGA student and considering that "the mysteriously valuable article of clothing" was his game-worn jersey from the 2009 Independence Bowl, we can't help but figure that there might be some ethical issues at play here.

(Oh yeah, did I mention that the guy who bought the jersey from Green, Chris Hawkins, just happens to be in the middle of the NCAA's investigation into illegal player-agent relations on the University of North Carolina football team?)

Once Green discovered that his new-found affinity for merchandising might not be 100 percent legal, he was advised to donate the money to charity and sit out the Bulldogs season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette in a preemptive effort to appease the NCAA investigators.

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Unfortunately for Green—and his head coach Mark Richt—the NCAA doesn't look too fondly upon its athletes dealing with agents and handed down a four-game suspension to the Bulldogs best offensive player, just days before they head to Columbia, S.C., for their first road game of the 2010 season.

The University is planning on appealing the NCAA's ruling—if for no other reason than the fact that Georgia has little, if any, chance of remaining in contention for the SEC Championship without No. 8 suiting up for the next three weeks.

However, there might be a chance that the suspension is reduced—especially considering the circumstances of Alabama Crimson Tide defensive end Marcell Dareus' recent two-game suspension for accepting two free flights down to Miami over the summer to attend a party that was supposedly provided by: you guessed it, NFL agents.

The total cost of benefits that Dareus received on those two Miami trips—$1,787.17—is almost twice as much as the money that Green accepted for his jersey, yet the punishment handed down was half as severe.

Sounds fishy—unless there's more to this story than meets the eye.

There are rumors swirling about Green's father and whether or not his recent unemployment has anything to do with the rather excessive suspension. But as of yet, those rumors remain unfounded.

Regardless of the NCAA's justification of the four-game suspension, Green's NFL stock remains high as he is predicted to be selected in the top 10 picks of the 2011 Draft next April.

The real victims here are the Georgia football team and, more importantly, redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, who will now have to play one of the toughest games of the season without the team's biggest offensive weapon.

Fortunately for Green, if this whole football thing doesn't work out, it appears he's got an awfully bright future in the apparel industry—whether or not the Bulldog Nation would support him in that venture is yet to be determined.

If the UGA football team goes 7-5 this year, I think we'll have our answer.

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