Florida State's starting quarterback is no longer with the program. Deondre Francois was dismissed from the Seminoles football team on Sunday by coach Willie Taggart one day after a video was posted to Instagram by a woman -- believed to be Francois's girlfriend -- that appeared to show a man (not pictured) making threats and admitting to various forms of physical and mental abuse.
In the video, which consists of a camera pointed at a ceiling during a verbal altercation, a man who is allegedly Francois is yelling at a woman who is asking him to stop hitting her. "Throw it again so I can beat your ass," the man says. "... F--- you, I'm going to hit you in your face every f---ing time." The video was later deleted from Instagram by the woman, though it was captured by other social media users before it was removed.
As a caption for the video, the woman wrote the following: "For 2 years I have been in a domestic situation with [Francois]. I thought I loved him and thought he could change for the better but it has gotten worse. I lost my first child because of all of the beating and I suffer from post Partum [sic] depression. The situation is taking a toll on my life. Yes, I stayed after that because I was stupid and blinded by love. This isn't love. You are a coward and this isn't right. Just because you are who you are that doesn't give you the right to put your hands on a woman ever!!!"
As if this story wasn't strange enough already, it appears to have taken multiple turns. The account that originally posted the video later posted a story, captured by Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, released a lengthy explanation and an apology to Francois. The post says "the video was made to look like something it wasn't" and that Francois "never struck me with his hand or fist."
However, the family of the accuser, Diamond Lindsey, now claims that Lindsey's Instagram was hacked and the apology did not come from her, according to 247Sports. The account was later deleted.
This is not the first time Francois has been linked to a situation related to domestic violence. He was cleared of involvement in a January 2018 a case in which he and his then-girlfriend got into a shouting match. The woman alleged that he threw her to the ground after kicking the door in. Due to the absence of independent witnesses, the case was dismissed. It is unknown if this new alleged altercation is with the same woman.
"Last night, I informed Deondre Francois that he is no longer a member of the Florida State football program," Taggart said in a statement released by the school. "As we build a new culture and foundation for FSU Football, we have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we will not shy away from those high standards of conduct. We are moving forward as a program."
It was rumored that Francois was looking to leave Florida State after the 2018 season, possibly to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, but he ultimately remained with the team.
Francois's career at Florida State had been up and down. He arrived as a highly-rated four-star QB out of IMG Academy in 2015. After redshirting for a year, he opened the 2016 season as Florida State's starter and finished the season with 3,350 yards passing and 20 touchdowns as Florida State went 10-3 with an Orange Bowl berth. The 2017 season opened with the Seminoles ranked No. 3 in the country, but in their season-opener against Alabama, Francois suffered a broken kneecap that cost him the rest of the season. In 2018, he had difficulty adapting to a fresh offense under new Taggart, finishing the season with 2,731 yards passing and 15 touchdowns along with 12 interceptions.
James Blackman took over during the 2017 season after Francois's injury to mixed results. Then a true freshman, Blackman threw 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for former coach Jimbo Fisher. He only played in four games last year behind Francois and entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal following Francois's decision to stay with the team early this offseason. However, Blackman reportedly decided to stay with the program last month. Now that Francois is no longer with the Seminoles, Blackman will likely be Florida State's starting quarterback in 2019.