Over the course of the last four weeks or so, we’ve seen…
- Florida football staffer Otis Yelverton arrested in late April for the aggravated cyberstalking of an ex-girlfriend, a felony.
- Florida quarterback Jalon Jones accused by two UF students of sexually assaulting them the same night in early April.
- Florida defensive back Brian Edwards (pictured, left) charged with misdemeanor battery following an incident with his girlfriend.
Suffice to say, it’s been a rough period PR-wise for second-year head coach Dan Mullen and his Gators football program. Wednesday, the coach addressed for the first time publicly the off-field issues, all involving the alleged mistreatment of women, that have cast a dark cloud over a team that will enter the 2019 season with elevated on-field expectations.
“Obviously, anybody that knows me I like to take an extremely strong stance on that,” Mullen, who has experience dealing with similar issues dating back to his time as head coach at Mississippi State with Jeffery Simmons, said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t see anything acceptable about that, any violence against women, whether it’s a violent act or a wrongful sexual act toward women. …
“Obviously, perception’s always important because there’s a lot of reality behind it. To me, I think there’s a lot of reality about the positive direction that we’re headed in the program as a whole despite the disappointment with some of the decisions that a couple of individuals have made.”
Yelverton remains part of Mullen’s extended staff, although he is still on administrative leave. Edwards has been suspended from all football team activities, but is still enrolled in classes at the university.
The word of Jones’ off-field issues came shortly after the four-star 2019 quarterback placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. The two women who accused Jones of sexual assault have thus far declined to pursue criminal charges against their alleged assailant.
The off-field imbroglios surrounding Jones also extended to another highly-touted 2019 signee, with Chris Steele opting to transfer from UF after his request for a new dormmate was ignored after said dormmate, Jones, made Steele uncomfortable.
Jones was eventually suspended by Mullen, but not before he participated in the Gators’ spring football game prior to deciding to leave.
“My job’s not an investigator…” Mullen said. “That’s the best way to make a decision, once you have all the information. It’s not always great to have to wait to get all the information, but it’s the best way to make a decision.”