AJC fires reporter, issues correction on story about UGA football and sexual abuse

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fired a reporter who wrote a story alleging a pattern of cover-ups for sexual assaults within the University of Georgia's football program.

The explosive article was written by reporter Alan Judd and published on June 27 with the headline "UGA football program rallies when players are accused of abusing women."

The story claimed that the Bulldogs' football program protected 11 players accused of sexual assault by allowing them to remain on the team or by relying on certain relationships to make the charges disappear.

UGA Athletics fired back, sending a nine-page letter to the AJC on July 11 demanding a retraction.

"Mr. Judd's article is replete with errors, unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo, and possibly even fabrications," the letter reads in part.

A Georgia Bulldogs football helmet during the Saturday afternoon college football game between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers on October 08, 2022 in Athens, GA. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A lawyer for UGA Athletics claimed that Judd's had a history of "biased and inaccurate" reporting about the football program. 

Wednesday, the AJC responded by announcing that they had fired Judd and made significant revisions to the story.

The paper said that it found no evidence that Judd fabricated his claims but says it could not verify that 11 players accused of sexual assault were allowed to stay on the team.

"Our editorial integrity and the trust our community has in us is at the core of who we are," editor-in-chief Leroy Chapman said in a statement. "After receiving the university’s letter, we assigned our team of editors and lawyers to carefully review each claim in the nine-page document we received, along with some additional source material that supported the original story. We identified errors that fell short of our standards, and we corrected them."

It also says a quote used in the article from a police detective was also a combination of two statements made minutes apart.

"Connecting the sentences did not change the meaning of the quote, but the way it was presented to readers failed to meet AJC standards," the paper said in its story.

The paper acknowledged it fell short with the story and apologized to the university and its readers.

The headline for the story is now ""UGA football program rallied in two incidents when players were accused of abusing women."