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‘Zero Tolerance’ Costs USC a Quarterback

Gary Garcia says his son, former USC Quarterback Stephen Garcia, was thrown off the team for “having a couple of beers.”

It sounds like an almost frivolous thing to say, but to his credit, he’s quick to point out the more important part of the story: his son violated an agreement he agreed not to violate, a “zero tolerance” policy — apparently of any substances, even alcohol.

Should a college have demanded that a player over the age of 21 not exercise his legal right to consume alcohol? It doesn’t really matter: they asked, he agreed. End of story.

The quarterback had been suspended and reinstated five times. One has to wonder how many other players would have gotten so many chances. One also has to wonder how many future players will get half that many considering how this turned out.

Garcia’s dad insists that his son does not have an alcohol problem. I don’t exactly know what that means; he has enough of an alcohol problem, apparently, that he decided to choose it over his agreement not to choose it. That doesn’t in any way mean that he is an alcoholic, of course. But it does call into question the importance of that particular substance in light of this sixth chance he was given. When it was time to make a choice between playing for the Gamecocks and “having a few beers,” which choice was made?

To some of us, that alone suggests some kind of problem.

“At the end of the day,” Gary Garcia says, “we’re going to keep our heads up. He’s going to do something good. Something good will come out of this. God has a plan for him. We don’t know yet, but it’s going to be something special.”

I really, genuinely hope that not only does Garcia find that plan, but takes every effort to protect it and live up to it. There aren’t many greater things one hope for another person.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with you. He obviously has some sort of problem with alcohol. Perhaps this will be the situation that will allow him to take a closer look at himself and seek help.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.