The 2013 season for Florida was many things, none of them positive. Part of what made it so bad was the simultaneous success of our rivals to the northwest. But true to form, FSU found an inimitable way to screw everything up- one at a time, their players, recruits and even fans took turns embarrassing the school they associate with.
It all started innocently enough. An FSU basketball recruit, Cinmeon Bowers, got pulled over for speeding. The cops smelled marijuana, so Bowers did what any pothead without a thimbleful of sense would do- he ate it. He was arrested for that, and to its credit, FSU disassociated with him (he later signed to play for Bruce Pearl at Auburn, and yes, that feels weird to type out).
But the embarrassment really started with this idiot dressed in a gold FSU shirt making this ridiculous parody of the Lorde song “Royals”. I refuse to embed it because it’s so bad that I want you to have to make the conscious effort to click the link and see it for yourself on YouTube instead of seeing it on this screen. I could make fun of the fact that the dude’s singing ability and rhythm is… well, who are we kidding, he has approximately zero of either. Or I could talk about how this guy’s head is about a year and a half away from becoming a big enough dome to put in a bid to host the Final Four. But the real problem I have with the video is this line:
“Bobby Bowden, Doak Campbell, all that garnet’s holy, Pulitzers, Nobels, F*** IT EVEN TED BUNDY, we don’t care”
That’s right, this is a Florida State fan- which is a pretty safe bet considering the childish level of the insults, the pathetic excuse for a Florida State logo in the background and the FSU apparel- bragging about a serial killer choosing Tallahassee over Gainesville as one of his locations to sexually assault and then brutally murder his victims. That is simply repulsive, and judging by the 10:1 dislike to like ratio on that video, I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Unfortunately, FSU’s problems were just getting underway.
Not even two weeks later, Jameis Winston robbed Publix of $32.72 worth of crab legs. I still don’t get why he had to steal crabs from Publix when FSU sororities give them out for free (sorry, couldn’t resist), but in a cosmic sort of way, this embarrassing little incident has actually helped FSU a great deal. Even though Jameis is now the target of all sorts of puns and jokes, it’s taken the attention away from some of the subsequent things people associated with FSU have done to give their school an unflattering image. Like three former players failing drug tests at the NFL Combine, for example.
With their NFL futures potentially in the hands of their performances at the Combine, FSU alumni Timmy Jernigan, Telvin Smith and Christian Jones decided it would be a good idea to try to beat Will Hill’s high score in the game “Let’s Smoke Pot”. They won that game, but lost the respect of NFL teams. Jernigan went from a sure first round pick to a mid second round selection, Smith dropped down to the fifth round, and Jones wasn’t even selected at all. They still have a chance to do something in the NFL, but that was not the best choice they’ve ever made in their lives.
Fast forward to a couple months after that, right after Florida’s softball team won the national championship. An FSU fan thought it would be cool to pick up where an Alabama fan had left off trolling both myself and an incoming Florida softball player, Lily Mann. By “trolling”, I mean “borderline sexually harassing”. Like the FSU Loyals video, I refuse to embed any of his tweets because they were so repugnant, but here’s a sample (and easily the least offensive tweet of his; read down the conversation, or if you insist on seeing the worst of them, click here, but heed my warning, it’s rated R).
The rest was awful, disgusting stuff- mostly directed at a 17 year girl who made the unfortunate mistake of retweeting the particular tweet that must have set him off, and thus get caught in his truculent wave of cyber-sexual abuse. After insulting him back enough times (hindsight: maybe not the smartest thing to do), I eventually grew tired of the whole thing and blocked him; that ultimately did no good as he created another account just to continue his little game, and then a third, a fourth and a fifth and that’s when I’d had enough and took further steps to ensure that he was done.
I talked to Lily about it, and her general approach to the whole experience suggested that she’d figured out that FSU fans can get really, really mean when it comes to protecting their pride in the Florida-FSU rivalry.
Me: what were your initial thoughts about what had happened?
Lily: “I didn’t really know how to react to it at first. I sort of laughed but I was panicking at that same time because I didn’t know what to do. It was scary to see how nasty people can get over a simple rivalry. He didn’t even care that I’m a 17 year old girl: still a minor.”
Me: have you had any previous exposure to the rivalry?
Lily: “I wasn’t really exposed to it much, I knew people took it seriously but this was a whole new level for me.”
So there you have it. Quite an introduction to one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports. It’s a shame, too; Lily seems like a kind hearted, fun loving kid who just loves her sport and wants to do all she can to help Florida out. And here she is on the receiving end of some of the most vile comments I’ve ever seen. Yes, ever.
And yet FSU still wasn’t done humiliating itself. Just the other day, FSU receiver Jesus Wilson was arrested for grand theft auto. I guess he just couldn’t wait for the game to come out.
Is Florida perfect? Of course not. We have our share of players who get in trouble with the law. But since raising the crystal ball, FSU has done nothing but find themselves in unflattering headlines.
OK, so last year may have been bad for Florida fans. We may have gone 4-8. We may have lost to Georgia Southern. We may have lost to Florida State 37-7. But we don’t have to deal with a list of humiliating episodes like these. We’re not the FSU Loyals guy, we’re not the little pervert on twitter, and we’re proud of that fact. So hold your head high. In all kinds of weather.