There’s a series of words we never thought would appear together in the same headline.
According to First Coast News, six Florida football players are facing university discipline following an on-campus confrontation in late May with a Gainesville-area gambler named Devante’ “Tay Bang” Zachery that involved airsoft guns, a frying pan, a baseball bat and rocks. The beef originally stemmed from Zachery allegedly calling the football team “garbage” after he lost money betting on the Gators.
Per the report, “[w]ide receiver Kadarius Toney and defensive tackle Kyree Campbell were recommended to UF’s Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department for an ‘incident by holding and pointing what appears to be assault rifles (later determined to be airsoft rifles) at other individuals on campus.” Additionally, the website wrote, “[w]ide receivers Tyrie Cleveland, Rick Wells, tight end Kemore Gamble and quarterback Emory Jones were also recommended to the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution department for lying to university police about the incident in question.”
Tight end C’yontai Lewis was also mentioned in First Coast News‘ report as having a “good relationship” with Zachery before ceasing that association, although it doesn’t appear he’s facing any university sanctions.
As for the confrontation that was the end result of the bad blood? It was apparently straight out of “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy.”
University police began their investigation after a witness called 911 in reference to a suspicious person. The witness said he saw 10 people arguing and believed they had guns. The witness added, “the weapons resemble assault rifles.”
The scene was captured on surveillance and cell phone video, the 17-page incident report states. The video shows “about 10–15 individuals, holding what appeared to be weapons,” according to the report.
Zachery, 21, and his friends were waiting for the football players near the dorms. The football players began to confront the group, but left in vehicles, the report states. As the group left, they could be heard yelling, “We coming back strapped,” the report states.
The other group returned and a confrontation ensued. One player reported the group had a baseball bat, a red laser being pointed at another player’s chest and another individual threatening “Come any closer, I’ll spray you.”
Zachery told police, he observed one football player holding “some sort of assault rifle and some others were [holding] rocks.” Police wrote, they didn’t believe Zachery’s story and thought he was minimizing the incidents he was describing, the report states.
According to the player, once they heard police sirens, and everyone left.
Video evidence also showed that one, unnamed football player was using a frying pan during the confrontation
Neither the university nor the football program have commented on the bizarre development. It should be noted that none of the football players involved have been charged with any sort of crime.
Cleveland (pictured) led the Gators in receiving yards (410) and was second in receptions (22) last season, while Toney’s 15 catches for 152 yards were both fourth on the team. Campbell played in nine games in 2017, while Gamble took a redshirt his true freshman season. Jones was a four-star member of UF’s 2018 recruiting class.
As for Wells? This issue could prove worrisome based on his recent off-field past.
Wells was one of several Florida players suspended for the entire 2017 season for the misuse of scholarship money at a bookstore, with some nine players total caught up in making improper charges on student IDs and selling said items for cash. He was one of the four suspended players who returned to the team in late January.