A Georgia Bulldogs baseball player who allegedly shouted racist remarks during Saturday's Georgia football game has been dismissed from the team, the school announced Wednesday.
Adam Sasser, who played first base and was one of the Bulldogs' top hitters, was alleged to have shouted racist remarks at Georgia quarterback Justin Fields, according to a Facebook post made by another student, Klarissa Gulebian, a third-year animal science major from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Sasser issued an apology, without specifying what he was apologizing for, as part of a post on Twitter on Wednesday evening and said he has spoken to Fields.
"First and foremost, I want to apologize for my actions at the football game on Saturday," Sasser wrote on Twitter. "I totally understand why my actions were offensive and I am deeply sorry for any pain or distress this has caused anyone. Secondly, I would like to apologize to the University of Georgia, my teammates and my coaches for the past 3 years and say that I am extremely sorry I have put you all in this position and wish nothing but the best for everyone.
"... I deeply regret disappointing each of you [parents, extended family and friends] and will do everything in my power to never disappoint any of you again."
According to Gulebian, she and several friends were sitting in the stands near Sasser at Saturday's home game against Tennessee. She had left to take a phone call during the fourth quarter of the contest, and she returned to a large disturbance involving her friends, Africa Buggs and Sierra Buckner, along with several other students.
Gulebian said she was told Sasser had been making racist comments and had been asked by other students to stop. He initially had agreed, but then continued anyway.
Gulebian asked a police officer on duty at Sanford Stadium to intervene. She said the officer talked with Sasser, then stood watch over the section for the remainder of the game.
"Everyone else around him wasn't saying anything, just laughing at the situation," Gulebian said. "So, I involved the police officer and told him there was somebody using racial slurs."
Gulebian said they did not initially know the man in question was a Georgia baseball player, but another nearby fan identified herself as a member of the softball team and said Sasser was a baseball player. The women had taken a photograph of Sasser at the football game and compared it to the photos of players on the Bulldogs' baseball roster and identified the man in question as Sasser.
Gulebian said she was disappointed the police officer had not done more to address the situation at the time, so she decided to post about the issue on a Facebook site dedicated to events that happen in the stands at football games, while Buggs reached out to the school and baseball coach Scott Stricklin.
"We'd seen tweets from other students sitting near us posting about what [Sasser] said," Gulebian said. "This isn't the first time this kind of issue has happened on campus, and I didn't want to let this go unheard. Nothing was being done about these situations, and people aren't talking about it enough.
"So, that's why I made the post, to let people know that this is actually going on, on our campus. The point wasn't to get him in trouble, though I do feel he deserves a consequence, but it's not that I was trying to ruin his career."
The Facebook post was quickly picked up by local media, and the school's Equal Opportunity Office launched an investigation into the issue on Monday, talking with Gulebian, Buggs and Buckner, among others.
On Tuesday, Georgia football coach Kirby Smart addressed the situation.
"If what I read and heard is true, it's really unacceptable behavior that's not who we are at Georgia," Smart said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We're trying to build a program on tolerance and mutual respect. You can't control what other people say, but the expectation is that people that are part of our program and come to our games share the same beliefs that we do.
"It's sad that something like this would happen. I'm disappointed. But it doesn't affect our family, our unit here, and our kids have been great. It's not something I've had to address with them. I've addressed it with Justin. That's the most important thing."
In the aftermath, Gulebian said she has been encouraged by the support her post has received and that the vast majority of responses she has gotten from students have been positive.
"It's exciting and frankly surprising," she said. "I thought there'd be a lot more backlash than there is. I've received a lot of messages from people thanking me for sharing the story because they've been through similar things."
Sasser, a junior who is from Evans, Georgia, had a .317 batting average with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs for the Georgia baseball team this season.
Fields, who has served as Georgia's backup quarterback this season, was the nation's No. 1 overall recruit for 2018.