"Nineteen deaths, 2.5 million people without power; families in dire needs," said McElwain. "Obviously, they don’t know me, they don’t know the Florida Gators. They don’t know our players. Dodging the game? Wow...Obviously, I have grown up in Montana and never been through a hurricane, but I think a lot of people around here have and have seen the devastation. How anybody could even think that way is beyond me.”
Plenty of the criticism came from national pundits on social media, including Clay Travis, who inaccurately reported that the Gators were hosting recruits on campus.
“It just shocks me that someone could actually think that way. Especially knowing us. And yet, you know you guys are all, nowadays I guess, accountable for getting X amount of little shots out on your Twitter thing," said McElwain. "That’s how you get paid instead of writing stories, so I guess whatever you do, I mean there isn’t much thought that goes behind it to me that somebody would actually think that. And knowing us, that’s pretty crazy to me.”
The SEC announced the game's postponement on Thursday afternoon, the team team was told shortly after the decision and the reaction was mixed.
“Obviously the competitive nature you know, was the first instinct," said the Gators head coach. "Yet the look on quite a few people’s faces that you know knew and had been through things before, knowing what their families were about ready to go through. You know, it was hard. It was hard on everybody."
According to McElwain, he invited players' families in Hurricane Matthew's cone to Gainesville.
"Talking with our players yesterday, their families have at least been able to get back," said McElwain. "Great work by the utility people getting some power back on. And to all those first-responders, even from this area, obviously, that went out to help, you know, I'm grateful that thing decided to not take a tick and come the way it could have, and yet the amount of devastation still is really incredible."