ATHENS — Brenda Tracy, a survivor of an alleged rape by four men, including two Oregon State football players, nearly two decades ago, has become an activist against sexual violence, speaking to players and coaches across the country. On Friday night, she spoke to the Georgia football team.
The next night, after UGA’s spring game, signee D’Antne Demery was arrested and charged with simple battery and criminal trespass after an incident with his girlfriend. The next day, within an hour of being bailed out of jail, Demery was released from his letter-of-intent by Kirby Smart.
While Demery did not attend Tracy’s talk, she still quickly tweeted her approval at Smart’s move.
“Good job coach!” Tracy tweeted. “Chalk this up as a win [and] a step towards changing the culture.”
While Georgia has moved on, Demery, a 4-star offensive lineman from Brunswick, remained in legal and football limbo on Monday. His girlfriend told The Red and Black, the student paper, that she stood by what she told police but also hoped the charges against Demery were dropped. The two have a one-month-old son. (The girlfriend did not immediately respond to a message left on her cell phone.)
Athens-Clarke County police released the arrest report on Monday morning, though most of the main details were in a synopsis provided on Sunday by the police. The synopsis said that the girlfriend and a witness reported that Demery grabbed the girlfriend by the neck, pushed her against a wall and grabbed her by the hair. The girlfriend also told police that Demery had been violent with her before.
The arrest report lists the girlfriend as having “superficial” injuries, and also reports her iPhone touch screen as being damaged. The original call to police, according to the arrest report, came from an employee at Waffle House who told police he saw someone being strangled.
Demery admitted grabbing his girlfriend by the neck, according to the arrest report. The girlfriend told police “that the two do have prior difficulties, however, nothing has been reported to law enforcement. She said nothing like this has happened before out in public but he has been physical with her in the past.”
Meanwhile, the ACC jail website on Sunday briefly listed a team official, Bryant Gantt, as being the person to whom Demery could be released on bail. That would have constituted an NCAA violation. The note was changed after the jail was contacted by The (Macon, Ga.) Telegraph, Demery was released on bail to a family friend, and nobody from UGA was involved, athletics director Greg McGarity assured The Telegraph.
Football-wise, Demery is free to sign with another program, but apparently NOT the SEC. According to a bylaw passed two years ago and then revised last year, SEC schools are prevented from accepting a transfer student with a history of domestic or sexual violence. While it does not cover high school athletes, it’s been confirmed now that because Demery signed a letter-of-intent and SEC financial aid agreement, he cannot receive a scholarship from another SEC program for two years. That’s under SEC transfer rules.
Last year, Mississippi State was able to sign a recruit, Jeffery Simmons, who was captured on video hitting a woman. But Simmons had not signed with another program.
As for Georgia, it lost in Demery a recruit who had been committed since last summer and was seen as a potential starter in the future. But it still has five other offensive linemen in this class, and at this point still projects to have 16 offensive linemen on scholarship this season.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story said Demery was free to sign with other SEC schools. It has since been confirmed that this is not the case.