Florida A&M players reinstated after suspension from athletic facilities over rap video

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Florida A&M has finished a close second two years in a row to Jackson State but appears poised to win its first Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division title this season.

That makes the recent ruckus over the unauthorized filming of a rap video in the team’s locker room recently all the more disappointing for the school.

The Rattlers, who have had three consecutive nine-win seasons, were picked by coaches and sports information directors to take the East division title three days after the team’s players were banned from using the facilities.

FAMU athletic director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes lifted the suspension Tuesday, and the team met with coach Willie Simmons on Monday before he attended SWAC media day with quarterback Jeremy Moussa and defensive lineman Kamari Stephens.

“It’s about doing the little things right, controlling the controllables and making sure we put our best foot forward every day, that was the focus of the meeting yesterday,” Simmons said. “Our thing is thinking about our brand. Each individual is his own brand, but we’re all part of the FAMU brand. There’s a lot of individualism. The beauty of team sports is you’re part of something bigger than you.

“I reminded the guys of that, no one is bigger than the program. Every decision we make we has to do so with the program in mind. It resonates louder now.”

Simmons was upbeat in a lesson-learned way, calling his 2023 team “the best football team top to bottom we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Will the Rattlers receive his message?

“It remains to be seen,” Simmons said. “How we move forward, how we develop ourselves and learn will decide our fate. Every chance I get to talk to our team, it’s about imparting wisdom, giving them knowledge, nuggets that I’ve experienced, some of the pitfalls we’ve all had. I don’t want our guys to always have to learn from mistakes.”

Tallahassee, Florida, rapper Real Boston Richey performed in the video. His real name is Jalen Foster.

SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland said he was happy with the way the school reacted.

“Any time you suspend football activities, it is a concern with the conference office,” McClelland said. “But we’ve worked with them every step of the way. We feel 100 percent confident that they have handled it in the manner in which it should be handled.”

No hard feelings

Southern picked up an All-SWAC running back in former Alabama A&M player Gary Quarles in May, and he will face his former teammates when the teams play in A.W. Mumford Stadium on Sept. 16.

He rushed for 955 yards and 10 TDs on 205 carries and caught 21 passes for 224 yards in 2021 to earn first-team all-conference honors. His production fell off last year, and he transferred to UNLV, but reentered the portal before Southern signed him.

Bulldogs coach Connell Maynor said that’s the state of college football with the portal, and that the program has “no hard feelings” toward Quarles.

“It’s just the way these kids are now with the portal,” Maynor said. “They graduate and want an opportunity to play somewhere else. I think he wanted to play FBS football and didn’t get the opportunity and wound up back in the SWAC.”


Southern has been ranked in a tie for No. 5 with North Carolina A&T in the BOXTOROW preseason HBCU poll released Monday. The reigning SWAC West Division champions went 7-5 last year.

North Carolina Central, which won the Black national championship last year, was ranked No. 1, garnering 16 of 19 first-place votes. Florida A&M was No. 2 with three first-place votes, followed by Jackson State and Benedict College.

Other SWAC teams ranked include Prairie View at No. 9 and Alabama State, which tied for No. 10 with Fayetteville State.


About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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