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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
<p>UF coach Jim McElwain motions to the Gators defense during Florida's 28-27 win against Kentucky on Saturday at Kroger Field.</p>

UF coach Jim McElwain motions to the Gators defense during Florida's 28-27 win against Kentucky on Saturday at Kroger Field.

Things in Gainesville have been pretty tense lately.

White nationalist Richard Spencer and his cronies have come and gone and President Trump’s policies are affecting millions across the country, including some at UF. Our community isn’t in a great place right now.

It doesn’t help that the football team is struggling to get by. Armed with a 3-3 record, the Gators aren’t getting a lot of support from their fan base. What is supposed to be an event every Saturday where all Florida fans come together is slowly driving them apart with every loss.

It became apparent Monday, when it was revealed that coach Jim McElwain, his family and his players were receiving death threats. I can’t believe I had to write that sentence.

“There's a lot of hate in this world, and a lot of anger,” McElwain told reporters. “And yet it's freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats (are) against your own players, the death threats to your families, the ill will that's brought upon out there.”

As hard as it is to believe, football is just a game. There is nothing at stake if Florida wins or loses, and there are no major implications if UF doesn’t make a bowl game. It doesn’t matter if the Gators go undefeated or if they never win another game.

McElwain is also just an ordinary man. Only two things separate me from McElwain: his salary and his football IQ. That’s it. He’s not the president of the United States, where a decision he makes will affect an entire nation. He’s not even the university president. He’s just a football coach.

It’s ridiculous he’s even receiving any threats to begin with. McElwain and the Gators are currently sitting tied for second place in the SEC East, and an unlikely win against Georgia on Saturday can boost their chances of making it to a third straight SEC Championship game.

So to those who think it’s funny to send anonymous threats to a coach or a college player, what’s the point? What do you hope to accomplish?

It’s amazing that people choose to hide behind a keyboard or a piece of paper when they want to feel mighty. When they want their opinions to be heard without a need to face the people they are threatening.

But in the end, all of this is just talk. That’s why McElwain isn’t planning on contacting law enforcement.

“Let 'em talk,” UF defensive back Chauncey Gardner said. “That's all they've been doing. That's all they'll keep doing.”

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You can follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, and contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org.

UF coach Jim McElwain revealed on Monday that players and coaches were receiving death threats due to the team's performance over the last few weeks. "The hard part is obviously when the threats (are) against your own players, the death threats to your families, the ill will that's brought upon out there," McElwain said.

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