Florida coach Jim McElwain says team has received death threats after 3-3 start
The Gators are off to their worst start since 2014
Florida coach Jim McElwain has led the program to consecutive SEC East titles, but things have taken a scary turn in Gainesville. A 3-3 (3-2 SEC) record, consecutive home losses in tight games to LSU and Texas A&M, and the program's worst start since 2014 has seemingly sent some fans over the edge. McElwain said during his Monday press conference that he and his family, his coaches and his players have received death threats as a result of the struggles.
"I think it's a pretty good lesson for the way things are," he said. "There's a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it's freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it's threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that's brought upon out there. And yet, I think it's really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what's going on out there nationally. There's a lot of angry people, and in this business, we're the ones you take the shots at. And that's the way it is."
McElwain added that he understood frustration directed at him is part of the job, but his family and members of the Gators program feeling the same kind of heat isn't acceptable.
"Here's the one thing: You're in the business, so that's all part of it. You get it," he said. "It's one thing when it's directed towards your players, directed towards families, wives, that kind of thing. And yet, at the same time, they know what they signed up for as well. And that's part of the business."
It shouldn't be part of the business, though.
It's one thing to criticize coaching decisions, vent about a team's struggles and even wonder either publicly or privately if the coach running your program is right for the job. It's entirely different to wish physical harm or cause emotional harm to that coach, players and families associated with the program.
Florida released an additional statement Monday afternoon regarding the matter.
"The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously," spokesman Steve McClain said in a release. "Our administration met with coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details."
Is it strange that McElwain offered no additional details? Conspiracy theorists certainly might think so. It's also possible that he'd rather not give people who would do something like this any more attention other than what he said during his press conference.
Regardless, this is a line that should never be crossed. The passion of college football is what makes it great but fanaticism to this extent is too much.
After a bye week last weekend, Florida will travel to Jacksonville to take on No. 3 Georgia at 3:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Game of the Week on CBS.
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