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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky junior running back Raymond Sanders did not have marijuana in his possession when he was cited on that charge Thursday based on what the player told his father.
Sanders was charged with possession of marijuana along with teammates Bookie Cobbins and Marcus Caffey and cited to appear in court Oct. 9. Sanders and Cobbins were suspended for UK’s overtime loss to Western Kentucky Saturday and have been reinstated to the team this week. Caffey is academically ineligible this season.
Raymond Sanders Jr. said Wednesday that his son does not live at the Cooperstown Apartments with Cobbins and Caffey where the citations were issued.
“Based on what my son told me, he stopped by there after getting a haircut. I told him if he smelled marijuana, he should not have gone inside because he had too much to lose but he said he didn’t smell anything,” Sanders Jr. said. “Now obviously, I was not with him, but I believe him. He told (UK coach) Joker (Phillips) that he had one or two puffs (of marijuana) and was waiting on a ride home to his place, and when he went outside the police were there and ordered him back inside.
“He can’t wait to go to court. Joker gave him a drug test. He’s never failed a drug test at Kentucky. It hurt my heart to even hear this, but I want people to know my son is not a pot-head. Anybody can get caught in the wrong spot, wrong situation. If you do get caught, you suffer the consequences like he has. But he’s not a bad kid.”
Sanders was a member of Beta Club and Students Against Drunk Driving at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga. He was also a three-sport standout.
At Kentucky, he’s played in 20 games and has 562 yards rushing and 137 yards receiving. He’s scored five touchdowns and had a career-high 115 yards rushing, including a 67-yard scoring run, against Kent State in UK’s second game. He played in only four games last season because of injuries, but was one of UK’s leaders during off-season workouts.
“He has done well this week. He has been quiet and humbled,” Phillips said Wednesday when asked about Sanders. “I think he will be fine. He is a guy that is embarrassed. He has lot of pride. He carries himself like that. His pride has been damaged and his reputation has been damaged, and rightfully so. Those things he has control of and are things he has to live with. But he has been great.”
Sanders’ father admits it has been frustrating to read and hear that his son was in possession of marijuana when he says that is not true.
“How can the police charge him with possession (of marijuana) when none of it was his?” Sanders Jr. said. “We didn’t bring our son up that way. He is not one that will be walking around with marijuana in his pocket. He’s never failed a drug test. If he was a pot-head, he would.
“I just want everyone to know the facts or wait and get the facts when they go to court before they judge my son. I’ve seen where people say he’s a bad kid and should be kicked off the team. But he’s not a bad kid. If he had possession of marijuana, he should be thrown off the team. But he didn’t based on what he told me.”