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Some choices mean the unemployment line

July 6, 2010

We make many choices daily.

Where to go, what to eat, what to wear.

We choose our attitudes.

We choose to be nice, be respectful or be a pain.

We choose to say "yes" or "yeah."

We choose to say "ma'am" or "sir."

We choose to hold the door for someone or swing it open wide enough so they will catch it before it closes.

We choose to actually walk the extra six steps it takes to put the shopping cart back where it belongs instead of between two parking spaces.

We choose to actually park between the lines at Aldi's or at just some random spot.

We choose to be a teammate or an individual looking for playing time.

We choose whether we berate a youth baseball official because our precious 7-year-old did not make the all-star team (and, I will say it again, really, all-stars for kids under 10? Why?)

Former Georgia athletic director Damon Evans made his choice and it cost him his job.

The 40-year-old athletic director had recently signed a new five-year contract worth $550,000 annually and is now seeking employment.

"It had been my hope since taking the job in 2004 that I would have a long career at UGA," Evans said. "But because of a serious mistake in judgment, that won't be the case and I understand that I have a long road to rebuilding my reputation and career."

Georgia President Michael Adams said Evans resigned Sunday, less than a week after Evans was arrested on a DUI charge and failure to maintain a lane.

OK, let's get this straight - it was not a mistake in judgment.

It was a choice to drink and it was a choice to get behind the wheel of a car.

It was also a choice to have in the passenger seat Courtney Fuhrmann, who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Evans said Thursday Fuhrmann is "just a friend." According to the incident report, the arresting officer said Fuhrmann told him she had been seeing Evans for "only a week or so."

A mistake in judgment happens to 15-year-olds who are learning to drive, are learning depth perception when their car just misses the curb as they turn right.

A mistake in judgment happens when my 13-year-old son decides to kill a spider which is sitting on the middle of the window and, in killing the spider, my son breaks the window.

A mistake in judgment happens when the Georgia quarterback thinks he has an open receiver and the strong safety picks it and takes it back for six.

A mistake in judgment is not what Evans did.

He chose to end his career as a Bulldog.

According to the report, Evans attempted to influence the arresting officer, identified as M. Cabe, by telling the officer he was Georgia's athletic director.

According to the report, Evans said: "I am not trying to bribe you, but is there anything you can do without arresting me?"

Cabe said that Evans asked to be taken to a motel instead of jail or to be let off with a warning.

The officer noted that Evans was found with a "red pair of lady's panties between his legs."

Here's the ironic thing in the story.

Evans was the public face of the school's athletic department in many venues, including at home football games at Sanford Stadium. Before each game, his taped video message was played as he urged fans not to drink and drive.

"If you drink and drive, you lose," Evans said in the video message.

He was right.

Then there's the case of former No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell.

According to The Associated Press, Russell has been charged with possession of a controlled substance - codeine syrup - after being arrested at his home in Alabama on Monday, authorities said.

The 24-year-old former LSU star and the No. 1 draft choice in 2007 by the Oakland Raiders was arrested as part of an undercover narcotics investigation, said Mobile County Sheriff's spokeswoman Lori Myles. She would not say what led to his arrest. She said he did not have a prescription for the codeine.

Russell, who graduated from high school in Mobile, was booked into the city jail and released soon afterward on $2,500 bond, online records show.

The Raiders released Russell, considered one of the NFL's biggest draft busts, in May after he won only seven of his 25 starts and was benched. He completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles and a passer rating of 65.2.

Oakland paid Russell about $36.4 million through the 2009 season. Since the start of the common draft in 1967, only one other No. 1 pick was released this quickly in his NFL career. Indianapolis cut 1992 top pick Steve Emtman after three seasons, but that was more because of injuries than production.

Stories have been rampant than Russell had zero work ethic and only really cared about getting paid.

His bling was bigger than his talent.

His departure from the Raiders did a number of things, including dropping former San Diego Chargers draft pick Ryan Leaf to the No. 2 spot as the biggest NFL bust and proved Lane Kiffin right and Al Davis wrong about Russell's ability.

Russell chose to throw away his NFL career.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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