South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia has been suspended for the fourth time since arriving in Columbia. Word broke of the latest disciplinary action last evening. The suspension supposedly was a school decision involving USC’s president, AD Eric Hyman, and Steve Spurrier.
Hearing this news — and the word via multiple sources that Garcia’s actions were once again tied to alcohol — many sites (including this one) suggested that Carolina should finally move on from its oft-troubled senior signal-caller.
But South Carolina writer Phil Kornblut tosses out a “not so fast” to those of us who believe the time has come for Spurrier to make Connor Shaw his quarterback and his team’s leader.
Here’s what Kornblut wrote today for the SportsTalk Radio Network:
Give Garcia a break on this one. Without going into all the details, I am confident enough to write in this space that I think Garcia, in this case, is as much a victim of his past than of anything new he’s done.
From what’s been told to me about what happened with Garcia at the gathering Tuesday night, I find it hard to believe he was given a suspension. And based on the reaction from a number of his teammates, they support him totally. It’s pretty amazing that after all the travails Garcia has been thru (sic), he still has the support of the lockerroom. And even though he said he was part of the suspension decision, I’m not convinced Steve Spurrier agrees with the decision.
Garcia will now be skewered in the media, locally, regionally and nationally. This is where his past haunts him. And I am by not means trying to defend what he’s done before this. I’m just saying that in this case, based on what I know, the punishment is a little over the top.
So let’s get this straight:
1. Garcia has gotten into trouble on numerous occasions.
2. Carolina has welcomed him back after each screw-up.
3. Most in the media — this site included — have given him a pass for those screw-ups.
4. Garcia has been suspended again.
5. Most in the media — this site included — have finally stopped defending him, saying it’s time for Spurrier to change quarterbacks.
6. And it’s at this point that someone else in the media writes that his anonymous sources are telling him that Carolina officials are to blame for this mess… not Garcia.
Is that about the gist of it?
If it turns out Carolina has overreacted and left Garcia hanging out to dry — knowing darn well that his history would work against him in the press — then Hyman, Spurrier and the lot of USC’s administration deserve a swift kick in their collective rear.
So here’s the question: Why was Garcia suspended?
Carolina officials likely won’t answer that, but it’s a question they need to be peppered with repeatedly until they do speak.