It hasn’t been a good year for the 3-3 Florida Gators, coming off back to back losses and needing to win three of their final five games (with Georgia South Carolina, and arch-rival Florida State left on the schedule) to become bowl eligible.
But according to head coach Jim McElwain, some Gators fans are letting their fandom cross the line and are issuing death threats directed towards the coach, his family, and the Gators players.
“There’s a lot of hate in this world, a lot of anger,” McElwain told reporters during his weekly news conference in Gainesville. “And yet there’s freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats against your own players, the death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there.”
McElwain would not go into detail on the nature of the threats but said they are a “good testament to what’s going on out there nationally.”
“There’s a lot of angry people,” he said. “In this business, we’re the ones you take a shot at. That’s the way it is.”
McElwain is the second SEC head coach this year to receive threats from a fanbase after Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin was sent a racist letter in September.
McElwain has won the SEC East in each of his first two seasons at Florida’s helm, but the Gators were beaten by Alabama in the SEC Championship in both 2015 and 2016. McElwain’s Gators also have lost to Florida State in both of his seasons in charge, and fell to Michigan in the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. However, Florida did steamroll Iowa in January’s Outback Bowl.
I understand being disappointed about the performance of a football team, but sending death threats to the players, coaches, and their families is way over the top. There are way more productive ways to spend your time. Go outside, take a walk, read a book – don’t threaten the lives of people who you’ve never met because a football team lost a game.