Florida A&M can resume football activities following rap video flap

Written by on July 25, 2023

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The football team at Florida A&M has received the green light to resume all activities amid an investigation into an explicit rap video shot in the Rattlers’ locker room.

Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, vice president and director of athletics for the Rattlers, shared the news via social media on Monday afternoon.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the announcement did not refer to punishment or explain why football-related activities had resumed three days after the suspension. Sykes, however, committed to transparency regarding access to the football locker room for the video’s production and the use of FAMU-licensed clothing that violates the regulations.

FAMU football team
FAMU football players end spring practice in April with the Orange and Green game at Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee. The Rattlers can resume football-related activities while a probe of a rap video shot in their locker room continues. (Photo: Imagn/Tallahassee Democrat)

“The FAMU Football team has been cleared to return to all football-related activity, effective Tuesday, July 25, 2023,” Sykes said, CBS Sports reported. “An investigation into the unauthorized video that was partially filmed in the football locker room is being led by the University’s Office of Compliance and Ethics. …In my role, I have been transparent with stakeholders and this time will be no different.”

The Rattlers are scheduled to begin fall camp on Aug. 4. They will attend SWAC media days later this week. 

FAMU launched an investigation after Real Boston Richey gained access to the football locker room for his “Send a Blitz” music video, which shows the up-and-coming Florida rapper sporting team helmets and a Florida A&M shirt. Several FAMU athletes also appear in the video.

Richey did not reference FAMU, education or the Rattlers’ football team in the video, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

On July 21, hours after the video’s release to YouTube, coach Willie Simmons stopped football activities. While stating that he supports free speech, Simmons asserted that the video’s language was “not consistent with FAMU’s core values, principles, and beliefs,” CBS reported.

“It is a privilege to wear the orange and green, and as a football program, our young men have failed to live up to the standard set before us,” Simmons said at the time. “They will all learn from this mishap, and we will continue to work hard every day to become the best version of ourselves and continue to make Rattler Nation proud.”

FAMU’s 2023 football season kicks off Sept. 3 against Jackson State University, with Simmons entering his sixth season as head coach.

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