Former Liberty High School star and current backup University of Pittsburgh quarterback Anthony Gonzalez waived his right to a preliminary hearing on drug and alcohol-related charges today.
His attorney, Joshua Karoly, told District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez that he anticipates entering into a plea agreement that would allow the collegiate athlete to enter a program for first-time offenders.
Gonzalez, 20, of 515 Hanover St., Bethlehem, was one of several young men arrested by city police on May 21 during a traffic stop on E. Third Street in the SouthSide. As a result, he was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, purchasing alcohol as a minor and possessing a false identification card.
“Anthony put himself in a position he should not have put himself in. He was in a car where marijuana was being smoked,” said Karoly, who spoke to members of the media on his client’s behalf.
“Anthony is stepping up and accepting responsibility for what he did. He is not shirking his responsibility in any way,” Karoly said.
Gonzalez is continuing his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, but he has been indefinitely suspended from the football team. Gonzalez still anticipates continuing his collegiate athletic career at Pittsburgh, but first plans to complete the disposition of his court case before reaching out to the university, Karoly said.
In the meantime, he has voluntarily enrolled in a drug and alcohol awareness class and plans to perform community service in Pittsburgh, Karoly said.
Gonzalez arrived at the court hearing in a dress shirt and slacks and was accompanied by his mother, his attorney and two other men. He spoke softly and politely when addressed by the magistrate.
The deal under consideration would have Gonzalez pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess marijuana, with the other charges dropping, Karoly said. If he is admitted to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, and he maintains a clean record, the criminal charges would ultimately be erased from his record.
Judge Matos Gonzalez briefly admonished the young man from the bench, telling him “You’re not a young punk anymore.
“The bottom line is the older you get, the more responsibility you have and the more you have to lose with any mistakes in that regard,” the judge told him.
Judge Matos Gonzalez allowed Gonzalez to stay out of prison on his own recognizance.
As a high school junior in 2008, Gonzalez led the Hurricanes to a 15-1-record and the Quad-A state championship.