Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain says he acted “swiftly” in handing out suspensions to seven players over the weekend.
The group of seven players, headlined by star receiver Antonio Callaway, has been suspended from all team activities effective immediately.
“It’s something that, you know, obviously, I’m very disappointed and at the same time, swift and quick action was taken,” McElwain said on Monday. “With that, we’ve had some guys not with us, been suspended from team activities, will not go to Michigan and will not play in that game.”
Missing a game is one thing, but not being able to practice or be around the team is truly detrimental to the players involved. Especially considering three of the seven are true freshmen fighting for playing time, while still acclimating to life in college.
Those freshmen include two linebackers and an offensive tackle. The Gators have already been missing starting Will linebacker Kylan Johnson and will now be without two more through the first week of September.
“Think about if you had ever been in trouble, if that one thing you really cared about was taken away from you, that’s when it hurts. That’s when it sinks in,” he said. “In these guys’ case, part of that too is not being around their team. There’s a real void here. I just know in these guys’ case it’s going to be detrimental from that standpoint that you asked, and yet they’ve got to understand that there’s consequences.”
This is the first bout of trouble for six of the seven players involved. It’s hardly the first time Antonio Callaway’s name has come up for an off the field incident.
Callaway was accused of sexual assault, resulting in a Title IX investigation in 2016. While the investigation was ongoing Callaway was not permitted to be around the team or even on campus at UF. He was also charged this past summer for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, but plead no contest and charges were dropped.
McElwain was asked directly if Callaway has run out of or if he’s getting close to running out of chances.
“The one thing I will do is I’ll continue to help. I’ll continue to be there. I’ll continue to support. But obviously the consequences, you make your own bed, man,” McElwain said of Callaway. “I would imagine that some of you might have dealt with that at some point in your life in different things that you’ve done or even had to do from that standpoint, and yet I’ll never turn my back on anybody. That’s not what it’s all about.”