Georgia prep football player suspended one year for hugging teacher, may lose scholarship

Prep Rally

This Georgia prep football player might soon be nicknamed Unfair McNair.

Duluth (Ga.) High senior safety Sam McNair has been suspended for the remainder of the school year for -- get this -- hugging his teacher, according to a report from CNN affiliate WGCL-TV in Atlanta (h/t Big Lead). Yup, hugging his teacher. There's video proof.

"You never know what someone's going through," McNair told the news station. "A hug might help. … Something so, so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite."

A surveillance video obtained by WGCL-TV shows McNair embracing an anonymous female teacher who ultimately pushes him away, and he departs the classroom immediately, but the disciplinary report alleged that the 17-year-old's "lips and cheeks touched her neck and that she had warned Sam about hugging in the past."

McNair denied those accusations in the news report, claiming he's hugged this teacher and others "many times" without warning, although he did admit to having a disciplinary record at the school that included suspensions but no sexual harassment charges.

While Gwinnett County Public Schools would not comment on the nature of McNair's previous disciplinary matters, spokesperson Sloan Roach told CNN in a statement, "Hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student's past disciplinary history -- including long-term suspensions that result in alternative school placement -- when determining consequences."

Now, McNair's family fears that this suspension could cost him an athletic scholarship. After all, he amassed 77 tackles, four forced fumbles and three interceptions in eight games for Duluth this past football season, competing in Georgia's ultra-competitive Class AAAAAA Region 7. He played defense for the varsity lacrosse team as a junior.

"You are stripping him of the opportunity to even get a full scholarship for athletics for college," Sam's mother, April, told WGCL-TV. She plans to appeal the suspension, describing the McNairs as a family of huggers, claiming the school never contacted her about unwanted hugging and reportedly sharing a petition on her Facebook page. As of noon on Tuesday, the petition had already received 750 signatures.

Let this be a lesson to kids everywhere: shrugs not hugs.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Prep Rally on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow Prep Rally on Twitter!

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