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South Carolina’s Watson Suspended

January 14, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ South Carolina running back Derek Watson was suspended indefinitely from the team Monday after he was charged with marijuana possession last weekend.

Officers arrested Watson in Greenville early Saturday following a sting in a nightclub parking lot, Greenville police Lt. Mike Gambrell said. Watson was issued a ticket, told to appear in court this month and then released, police said.

``I’ve always tried to make decisions that are predicated on the best interests of a young person,″ coach Lou Holtz said. ``This is not about Derek Watson the football player. This is about Derek Watson the person.″

This is the second time Holtz has suspended the player. Watson, a junior, led South Carolina in rushing two of the past three seasons.

A call placed to Watson was not immediately returned.

Gambrell said undercover agents watched Watson sit in the passenger seat of a car, filling a hollowed out cigar with a substance from a clear plastic bag. Watson attempted to hide the items under the floorboard when the drug agents approached the car, Gambrell said.

Officers determined the bag contained 8.5 grams of marijuana, police said. The driver, Antwan Andre Galloway, 23, of Pendleton, also was charged with possessing 2.4 grams of marijuana.

Both men were cited at the scene and released. They each face a $497 fine and are scheduled to appear in court Jan. 30.

Last year, a woman said Watson punched her in the arm. He was charged with simple assault and battery, a misdemeanor. He was accepted into a program for first-time offenders, which includes community service, counseling and drug testing. Once the program was completed, the charge against Watson was to be erased.

Holtz suspended Watson at the time but reinstated him shortly after fall practice began.

Watson also played with the Gamecocks’ basketball team for two weeks before the 2002 Outback Bowl but has not been back since, athletic officials said.

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