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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Column: Negligent UF football staff appears unaware of players' social media accounts

<p>UF coach Jim McElwain and his staff don't appear to be tuned in to their players' social media accounts.</p>

UF coach Jim McElwain and his staff don't appear to be tuned in to their players' social media accounts.

According to the University Athletic Association’s staff directory, coach Jim McElwain has over 30 employees working for him to help oversee Florida’s football program.

That’s 30-plus people tasked with developing the team’s players, running its day-to-day operations and assisting it with whatever else goes on inside the walls of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

With such a large staff, you’d think McElwain would have all of his bases covered. Any potential predicament involving the program, he’d have someone on top of it, right?

Well, there’s one aspect of this team that’s been unsettlingly neglected, and it’s becoming more and more of a problem as the season progresses.

Social media usage.

Yes, good ol’ Twitter and Facebook have been causing some issues lately for the Gators, with their players’ personal conduct on such sites appearing to be staggeringly unmonitored and unregulated.

On Sept. 30, less than two hours before Florida’s matchup with Vanderbilt, freshman running back Adarius Lemons tweeted out of frustration that it would be his “last game” with the Gators after he didn’t touch the ball against Michigan, Tennessee or Kentucky.

One week later, after UF lost its Homecoming game to LSU, redshirt senior running back Mark Thompson retweeted a post from former Florida defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr. that reads: “Tired of it…can’t even tell you how many talented offensive players I have seen come through UF during my time…not a personnel issue.”

While Lemons has since deleted his tweet, Thompson’s retweet — one that bashes and calls out his own team — is still smack-dab, right in the middle of his account, viewable by anyone who clicks on his profile.

Other questionable activity on social media from Florida players includes a photo retweeted by sophomore wide receiver Freddie Swain on Tuesday night that was captioned “B--- f--- you,” and recent public Facebook posts from freshman defensive back Shawn Davis that read “My new b---- fine asf” and “I f--- up lives, literally” with eggplant and water droplet emojis.

Davis also publically wrote this post on Facebook several weeks ago that appears to suggest freshman tight end Kemore Gamble got into a fight after leaving a nightclub:

Shawn Davis
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Now, I’m not bringing any of this to light because I’m some high and mighty prick who thinks the players need to be punished for their “bad language” and “rebellious attitude.”

I’m a college kid too, just like them. I don’t care. I honestly find these posts to be pretty humorous and entertaining.

But the fact that they are so openly available on the Internet for anyone to stumble upon means one of two things. Either Florida isn’t concerned about what its players do on social media, or the team is completely oblivious to their online activity.

I’m not sure which one is worse.

With UF still in the midst of one of its biggest scandals in program history, seeing nine of its players potentially facing at least 66 combined third-degree felony charges for credit card fraud, you’d think McElwain would be a little more on top of his team.

If he isn’t, that’s a serious problem. And he doesn’t appear to be.

That’s the 2017 Florida Gators football season in a nutshell for you, ladies and gentleman. One full of negligence, cluelessness and utter lack of control.

You can follow Dylan Dixon on Twitter @dylanrdixon and contact him at ddixon@alligator.org.

UF coach Jim McElwain and his staff don't appear to be tuned in to their players' social media accounts.

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