Over the weekend, standout Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins was arrested after Gainesville police claimed to have to spotted him toking marijuana in a public parking lot. Jenkins was also arrested back in January for allegedly lighting a joint in a nightclub.
One guy… marijuana… so what? It’s a college kid, right?
Well, last night The Palm Beach Post reported that two other Gator footballers were “charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana under 20 grams in separate incidents earlier this year.”
Redshirt freshman Chris Martin and redshirt sophomore Kedric Johnson were arrested in January. Both players agreed to deferred prosecution and their cases did not go to trial. Jenkins also took a plea deal after his last arrest.
Martin’s, Johnson’s and Jenkins’ two arrests total four since Will Muschamp took over the Gator program in December. Muschamp has yet to acknowledge the arrests of Martin and Johnson. After Jenkins first arrest, he decided to handle the issue internally.
Now consider what Muschamp referred to as “the Florida Way” when he was introduced back in December:
“There’s a certain thing that I’m going to refer to as the ‘Florida Way,’ and that’s the way they need to act and that’s the way they need to represent our university. I’m going to demand that, and I think you’ll understand in time that that’s something that is very important to me. When you walk into a home and you talk about being a student-athlete at the University of Florida, I talk in terms of wanting all of our student-athletes to come into our program to be a better person for having been at Florida, and I’m not just talking from a football standpoint. I’m talking about off the field things.”
So what’s the big deal with weed at Florida? It’s an ongoing issue, for one. Former cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis estimated last May that 75% of his 2006 national championship-winning teammates smoked marijuana.
Not surprisingly, the University of Florida also happens to have the SEC’s most laughable drug policy featuring a five-strikes-and-you’re-out stance. Most thinking people would probably draw a connection between the five-strikes policy, Pierre-Louis’ estimate, and the ongoing problem of Gators being arrested — four pot-based takedowns since January.
For now, we will all be waiting to see how Muschamp handles these issues. We know he’s talked big, but will he live up to his talk?
As we’ve said on many occasions, it’s better not to make grand promises about making culture changes, ruling with an iron fist, etc. Sooner or later, coaches have to put their money where their mouths are. But when that happens, they usually change the topic to “working with young men,” “helping the young men,” etc. That’s fine. But they shouldn’t use a tough guy approach as a sales pitch if they’re not going to back it up.
So far, Muschamp has not backed up his “Florida Way” talk.
On the positive side, at least these guys weren’t arrested in St. Augustine.