Florida’s 2007 national title team already drew the distinction of being one of the most infamous squads to win it all thanks to the wrongdoings tight end Aaron Hernandez was accused and convicted of. Now we’re learning that he wasn’t the only rotten apple on that same Gators team to be accused of a horrific crime.
Per the Fort Myers News-Press, a former captain on that squad — Earl Antonio ‘Tony’ Joiner — was arrested and charged with second degree murder on Saturday in the state after being accused of slaying his ex-wife three years ago.
“Fort Myers Police Detectives made an arrest in the three-year-old murder case of Heyzel Obando on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at approximately 10:30 a.m. in Lakes Wales, Florida. FMPD working with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Wales Police Department, arrested Earl Antonio Joiner (date of birth 12/8/1985) and charged him with second degree murder,” the authorities said in a statement. “Fort Myers Police worked closely on this case with the Oxygen Television series Cold Justice and the Office of the State Attorney. Heyzel Obando body was discovered in her Crestwood Avenue apartment on February 14th three years ago. The arrest of Joiner was the culmination of a multi-agency effort which dedicated itself to the investigation.”
Joiner was known as a small but hard-hitting safety for the Gators from 2004-2007, making 27 starts in the secondary and tallying up 156 tackles. He eventually became a team captain under then-head coach Urban Meyer during a senior campaign that culminated in winning the BCS National Championship over Ohio State.
Like his teammate Hernandez, Joiner didn’t have a clean legal slate during his time in Gainesville either after being picked up for breaking into an impound lot prior to the program’s game against rival LSU. He was also arrested twice for beating his ex-wife, with whom Joiner had two children.
While nobody will be able to change what happened on the field for Florida during those title-winning years, time certainly has changed one’s perspective on the team itself outside the lines after a growing slate of truly awful news continues to emerge.