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Friday, September 30, 2022

Column: Bragging after a loss? Another instance of the Gators’ laughable social media conduct

<p>UF punter Johnny Townsend retweeted a gif praising him for a personal-best 67-yard punt following Florida's 19-17 loss to Texas A&amp;M on Saturday.</p>

UF punter Johnny Townsend retweeted a gif praising him for a personal-best 67-yard punt following Florida's 19-17 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.

I had a column published last week about Florida’s football players and their questionable social media profiles.

You can read the full piece here in case you missed it, but to summarize what I wrote, several members of the Gators this season have posted inappropriate content on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

These posts featured everything from criticism of UF’s coaches and complaints about playing time, to foul language and explicit material. One player even said his teammate got “his ass beat up” outside of a club after Florida’s win over Tennessee.

The point of my column last week, however, was not to call out the players. It was criticizing UF’s football staff, which either doesn’t care what its student athletes publicize on social media, or is completely oblivious to their actions altogether.

But today, I’m not giving Florida’s players a pass. Not after some of the things I saw on Twitter this past weekend.

The Gators suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, falling to the Aggies 19-17 behind a last-minute field goal. UF didn’t trail until the final 58 seconds of the contest, collapsing halfway through the fourth quarter to allow nine unanswered points.

Not only did the defeat drop Florida’s conference record to 3-2, it severely damaged the team’s chances of making a third consecutive trip to the SEC Championship Game.

One would think that after a loss of that magnitude, players would be upset, angry and humbled, maybe even devastated.

That wasn’t the case, however. Or at least that’s the conclusion a logical person could reach after looking at some of the Gators’ Twitter accounts not even an hour after the game went final.

Ten minutes following the contest’s conclusion, UF punter Johnny Townsend retweeted a graphic that featured none other than himself, a gif praising him for a punt that traveled a personal-best 67 yards down field.

Moments later, receiver Dre Massey fingerblasted over 20 retweets of his own, all of which celebrated him and his first career touchdown.

“I see you @D1Massey !!!” one of the tweets said, along with a video of Massey running into the end zone.

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Running back Lamical Perine, safety Jeawon Taylor and offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor were some of several other players guilty of similar transgressions, all retweeting videos or photos of themselves not even 30 minutes after their team suffered a brutal, season-changing loss to an SEC rival.

That’s like miserably, horrendously failing a math exam that you needed to pass to salvage your GPA, and then immediately bragging on social media afterwards about the three questions you managed to get right.

These guys are missing the point, and it’s pretty embarrassing.

I’m not saying that Townsend or Massey or Perine or the two Taylors don’t give a crap about whether Florida wins or loses. I hope that’s not the case, at least.

But the fact that they shared those tweets less than an hour after such a difficult defeat doesn’t make me think they were too down in the dumps about it either.

Maybe if they prioritized the team’s success a little more, it would actually have some.

Dylan Dixon is the Alligator’s assistant sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon and contact him at ddixon@alligator.org.

UF punter Johnny Townsend retweeted a gif praising him for a personal-best 67-yard punt following Florida's 19-17 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.

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