Florida A&M briefly suspended its football program after a professional rap video was allegedly filmed in the team’s locker room without authorization from the university.
FAMU coach Willie Simmons announced that they were suspending all football activities and closing access to its facilities. A team meeting was scheduled for Monday, when athletic director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes said the team would be allowed to resume activities, according to ESPN.
Simmons said the school is investigating allegations that a “prominent rapper” used Florida A&M property and licensed university-branded apparel during the video, which also contained “graphic language inconsistent with Florida A&M’s core values, principles and beliefs.” The investigation will also determine who allowed the rapper onto campus.
“While I am a proud supporter of free speech and support all forms of musical expression, this football team (as ambassadors of Florida A&M University) has a responsibility to protect the image of the University,” Simmons wrote. “As a result of this unfortunate situation, as head football coach, I will effectively suspend all football related activities until further notice. It is a privilege to wear the Orange and Green and as a football program our young men have failed to meet the standards set before us.”
Although not named in Simmons’ statement, the rapper is believed to be Jalen Foster, a Tallahassee, Florida, native who goes by Real Boston Richey. Florida A&M’s campus is also in Tallahassee. Foster released a music video for his song, “Send A Blitz,” Friday afternoon, hours before Florida A&M suspended team activities. The video includes scenes from the Florida A&M locker room, as well as school-branded apparel and gear. He wrote on Instagram that the video was shot in less than a day.
Simmons, who has coached FAMU since 2018, did not provide a timetable for when the team would resume football activities in his statement. Media day for the Southwestern Athletic Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, with players expected to report to training camp Aug. 2 and the Rattlers open the season Sept. 3 against Jackson State.
This is the second year in a row that Florida A&M’s season has started with controversy. More than 20 players were academically ineligible to play in the Rattlers’ 2022 season opener against North Carolina. The team was originally going to forfeit the game, but Florida A&M decided to play and lost 56-24. The Rattlers went on to finish the season with a 9-2 record and only lost one game to an FCS opponent.