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Friday, September 29, 2023
<p>John "Jay" Watkins</p>

John "Jay" Watkins

UF's band director is at home recovering following an attack by Miami fans at the UF vs. UM football game Saturday.

John “Jay” Watkins, UF band director and assistant professor at the school of music, was guiding the marching band from the Camping World stadium back to the bus, when a female UM fan tried walking through the band line, Saturday evening after the game. 

Watkins stuck his arm out in an attempt to stop her. He was then grabbed from behind in a chokehold by another male fan and thrown on the ground, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando. 

An incident report has been filed with the Orlando Police Department but no arrests have been made, he said. No students have been reported injured. 

Orlando described the event as “terribly unfortunate.” 

“These types of things should not happen and it is unfortunate that it did,” he said. 

Skyler Valentin, a 20-year-old UF English junior who plays alto saxophone in the marching band, said she believes the attack had to do with the outcome of the game.

“I think that since it’s been a while that we played (Miami) and they lost that the fans were angry,” Valentin said. “But I think that’s how all games go.” 

Watkins is home recovering from minor injuries and was able to return on the bus with students after being examined by EMS at the scene, Orlando said. 

“We’re very thankful no students were injured,” Orlando said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Contact Melissa Hernandez at Follow her on Twitter @melissamh_.

John "Jay" Watkins

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