McElwain to use JC Jackson incident to teach

Not even aware that redshirt freshman J.C.Jackson was released from jail as of late afternoon, Florida head coach Jim McElwan understands the severity of the issues that Jackson faces and will use it as a tool for the rest of the players on his team.

Jackson was arrested after turning himself into police this weekend as an accomplice to armed robbery of three victims in an apartment in Gainesville. Even though Jackson himself never brandished a firearm, he is being linked to the two subjects that did in an ongoing investigation.

Held on $150,000 bail. Jackson was evidently released for one reason or another late Tuesday afternoon while McElwain was in transit or planning for his speaking engagement at the Polk County Gator Club gathering.

There is only so much McElwain knows and / or is willing to talk about.

“As of right now it is under investigation,” McElwain started in. “We are aware of it. I don’t know a bunch as far as where the investigation is at. Obviously it’s a very serious matter he’s in and you guys probably know from a legal stand point what we know. “

When asked if he know Jackson was out of jail, McElwain didn’t know.

“As of this morning….,” he said as he looked a little puzzled.

Since the incident started McElwain has had no interaction with Jackson.

“I haven’t talked to him at all,” McElwain said. “Part of that is there are a lot of school issues as well.”

But the staff has been in contact with the family to do what they can do.

“There has been some contact in terms of our concern for him and dealing with certain things,” he said. “He has a long row to hoe.

McElwain refused to say whether Jackson was suspended, instead deferred to the most important matter that Jackson needed to deal with.

“It’s not reflective on the guys that we have and it’s something that is being dealt with seriously,” he said. “He has a lot of things on his plate right now.

He’s not on campus obviously. At the end of the day we have freedom of choice and we don’t have freedom of consequence.”

As for the seriousness and the possibility that Jackson may be involved I the crime. He says he was quite surprised.

“I was stunned,” he said with a puzzled look. “But, at the same time, each of us have freedom of choice and we can do whatever we choose to do. We don’t have freedom of consequence. Because of our choices and decisions things will be dealt with. No one is different than anyone in here and that is where it is at.”

Later on he added, “…based on those choices and decisions we will choose the consequence at the end of the day with the choice that he made.”

Thompson back with the team

Junior receiver Chris Thompson had a complaint filed him a couple of weeks ago by a former girlfriend. Late last week, the complaint was completely dropped and now Thomson can resume his place with the team.

“Yes (he’s back), he’s cleared of everything,” McElwain said. “Guys have to deal with individual issues and what we can do is educate. We can talk about choices and decisions that we all make. The key is the understanding that based on whatever choice we make, we by no means are exempt to the consequences of that choice. That is part of the education process as all of us grow.”

McElwain says the program has its own ways of trying to educate and monitor the players so that these things can be limited and eliminated.

“We actually have weekly meetings anyway as a team,” he said. “These are all teachable moments. These are all things that as you go through life there are a lot of things you can learn from. We all choose how we do our business.

“Each week are the things we talk about and part of that is the mental conditioning piece that we are implementing in the program that deal with how we think, the choices we make, how it can affect the people around you both positively and negatively and really the impact we have based on our choices.

Those are all things we talk about every week.


Fightin Gators Top Stories