‘I wasn’t disrespectful to the teacher at all’

Former Georgia safety Tray Matthews of Newnan, who was dismissed from the football program by coach Mark Richt on Tuesday, spoke exclusively with AJC reporter Tanya Sichynsky about what led to the decision:

Q: There’s a lot being said on social media about a classroom incident Tuesday. What happened?

A: The only thing that happened was yesterday, or whatever day that was, the professor was talking and me and another player … we were just going back and forth on something and then the teacher just basically said, ‘Y’all be quiet, y’all are always talking.’ And that’s the only thing that happened. And the teacher was just, ‘Get out,’ and I was like, ‘Sorry, he just keeps talking to me. I wasn’t disrespectful to the teacher at all. The only thing, I’d say I was disrespectful for talking to another student while he was talking. That’s the only way I was disrespectful in that class. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful; I was just talking to the student beside me.

Q: Did you curse at a female classmate?

A: No, I did not.

Q: Is the classroom incident what led to your dismissal?

A: That’s basically the reason why I got kicked off though. That’s what [Richt] told me basically. … Yeah, I think it’s kind of some of the arrest stuff, too, though. But I was basically, I was leaving anyways, I just hadn’t put that in the media.

Q: Did Josh Harvey-Clemons’ dismissal and Shaq Wiggins’ decision to transfer influence you?

A: While all that stuff was going on I was committed to Georgia. … I love all the coaches and Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt and I love everything that was going on with the program. I think Shaq (Wiggins) had a reason (for transferring to Louisville), but, you know, I feel like I just need to start over. Of course (Wiggins and Harvey-Clemons, who also transferred to Louisville are) talking to me and want me to come over there, but those two schools, Auburn and Alabama are great schools. … There’s also a couple more that I’m interested in, that I believe are interested in me.

Q: What do you need to change once you transfer?

A: I can mature up a little bit more, but I don’t think that was the issue here. I mean the check thing, that was just stupidity, and just a dumb thing of me to do and that I’ll never do again and I regret that. But other than that, it really wasn’t a maturity thing.

Q: Were you disrespectful to either a student or the professor?

A: Like I told you earlier for the classroom thing, I wasn’t disrespectful to the professor at all. … I didn’t say a cuss word to that man. … I guess that girl beside me is just trying to blow it up … but I wasn’t disrespectful at all to the professor. Like I said, me and another student-athlete had a little argument or a conversation, and we got a little loud, but that’s it.”

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