When Stephen Garcia returned from suspension number four a couple of weeks ago he assured everyone that he would not have any more issues.
“Just got to be smarter, that’s the bottom line,” Garcia said. “Last time I got in trouble was three or four years ago. It was a bad decision on my part down in Atlanta. Nothing bad is going to happen again. That’s a guarantee.”
That was March 24th. He didn’t even make it two weeks before he broke that promise.
Another transgression means another round of excuses for the 23 year-old senior. On this site Phil Kornblut went as far as to say Garcia is the victim here.
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.
This has been an ongoing theme throughout the Garcia era. Everyone it seems has an excuse for behavior that quite frankly is inexcusable. Running parallel to Garcia’s pattern of bad decisions is a pattern of people rushing to defend those poor choices. There has been zero accountability.
I completely disagree with Kornblut that we should be cutting Garcia any slack. His actions have consequences and everything he has done he’s brought on himself. He has made these choices on his own.
I do understand where Korn is coming from in this regard: I don’t think Stephen Garcia should be kicked off the team. I don’t think he is a punk or a thug as he’s been called on some of the message boards. I don’t think he is stupid. I don’t think he’s selfish either. Garcia has always put winning ahead of his own stats. You can see from the outpouring of support from his teammates that he is beloved by his teammates. At the end of the day Garcia wants to win as bad as anyone in that locker room.
This is why Garcia has stuck around despite all of his missteps. The fact is, deep down he’s really not a bad guy. He’s not. People that know him like him. They root for him. Garcia would have been gone a long time ago if people didn’t believe in him.
But that doesn’t mean his problems should be ignored. It doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
I wrote in this space on March 16th that Steve Spurrier was ignoring Garcia’s problems. I noted that sans the car keying incident all of the transgressions had one thing in common: alcohol. I found that extremely troubling.
These were the questions I said Spurrier should be asking:
Is Stephen Garcia an alcoholic? Does he have a drinking problem? Is he getting the help he needs? Is suspending him for a week and letting him resume his lifestyle helping him or further enabling him?
Just to be clear, I’m not a doctor and I’m not diagnosing Garcia here. However, it doesn’t take a doctor to see the clear signs of a potential problem.
Here is what HelpGuide.Org, lists as warning signs for potential drinking problems:
• Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking. For example: performing poorly at work, flunking classes, neglecting your kids, or skipping out on commitments because you’re hung over.
• Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.
• Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.
• Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships. Getting drunk with your buddies, for example, even though you know your wife will be very upset, or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink.
• Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress. Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress. Getting drunk after every stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle every time you have an argument with your spouse or boss.
The bottom line is Stephen Garcia doesn’t need to be cut any slack. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. It is time to stop making excuses for his behavior and start finding out why this behavior keeps occurring. Slapping suspensions on him clearly isn’t working. If four didn’t work, what makes us believe five will?
Football is going to end one day for Garcia. Perhaps sooner than even he expected. Unless he and those around him make some drastic changes, his problems are far from over. We’ve all seen this story and it almost never has a happy ending.