It’s really just sad.
Two Februaries ago, Georgia defensive end Michael Lemon’s mother was fatally shot and found in the remnants of her burned-down home. Phaba Lemon’s boyfriend was charged in the incident.
The University’s Athletic Association set up the "Lemon Support Fund," raising almost $70,000 to cover any expenses Lemon might need during the rest of his stay in college. It was one big, happy football family in Athens.
That was until Sunday, when the redshirt sophomore was released following a July 2 arrest stemming from a felony aggravated battery charge. According to the police report, Lemon punched another Georgia student in the face "about five times before someone pulled him off."
After initially suspending Lemon indefinitely, head coach Mark Richt dropped the hammer on Sunday, citing “poor decisions and conduct that is not in line with standards we have in place at Georgia,” according to his press release.
The poor decision part is obvious. Lemon allegedly attacked this student because of a rumor that he had some type of relationship with his girlfriend. That's obviously not the best of choices.
What we're left with is trying to figure out just how to feel about Lemon. What happened to him last year was a tragedy. It's hard to cope with the loss of a loved one, much less a loss that comes in the brutal and senseless form that it did. Everyone empathized with Lemon and rallied around him.
That said, let's not compare apples and oranges, but Lemon’s incident was senseless too.
Under "About Me" on his Facebook profile, the 6'4", 260-pound Lemon says, "I love to have fun. I don't cause any conflicts or drama because I could care less about it. If we hang together, we're both guaranteed to have a good time."
Hmm…I don’t know much about the guy Lemon pounded in the face, who I've chosen not to name, but we can assume he doesn’t have the stature of a D-I defensive lineman.
Does repeatedly getting hit in the face by that big of a person in the middle of a pool party sound like a good time to anyone else?
Lemon isn’t exactly a stud on the field (seven games, six tackles last season), so the loss of a playmaker isn’t really a factor here. He says he'd like to find a way to get back to Georgia eventually (reference Akeem Hebron).
But how are you supposed to feel about someone who is undoubtedly still struggling with having his mother killed, but does something like this?
I honestly don't have a good answer.
Photo credit goes to Josh Weiss of The Red & Black