Social media expert weighs in on UF pulling scholarship offer to Nease QB after video shows him repeating racial slur while singing song

On the field, Nease High School quarterback Marcus Stokes was a serious competitor to tend with, but off the field, it was only one word that led to a whole new world of trouble.

A clip on social media of Stokes using a racial slur while singing a rap song in his car led to the University of Florida rescinding Stokes’ scholarship offer to the Division I school.

Social media expert Dwann Holmes, with Brand On Demand Media, says words on social media can always come back to haunt you. She suspects UF saw the viral video as a conflict to its brand.

“From a branding perspective? Well, it doesn’t look good, and it wouldn’t look good if they would potentially move forward with it. Because the other thing that we all must recognize is that there are many African American players on the team, they are supported by tons of African Americans, you know, you know that. And so that doesn’t sit well,” Holmes said.

Holmes says she understands UF’s decision because of the hyper-sensitive society we live in today. She says social media is one of the first places potential employers look to learn more about the job applicant.

“They’re going to look at your social media communication. It’s the way of the world today. And so again, you’ve got to be very careful,” she said.

UF’s decision to cut ties with Stokes is drawing varying opinions from News4JAX viewers.

“Kids make mistakes and I assure you if there was social media when we were kids and held to this standard, half of us wouldn’t have careers or families. This is sickening and worse that a university would back this,” Ted writes.

Charles is calling out what he sees as a double standard of writing.

“His only problem is he was white singing a rap song and using that word. If he’d been Black it’s ok no big deal, my opinion. It’s not acceptable if anyone says it,” he states.

Holmes says, in her opinion, no one should use the N-word regardless of their race or ethnicity. She reminds social media users that we live in a day and age where your digital fingerprint lasts forever.

“When you say something online, when you type it, when there’s a post, it’s going to last a lot longer than you can even imagine, especially in this cancel culture, when at the moment you say something controversial, I’m doing a screenshot, you know, and I know everybody else is doing a screenshot,” Holmes said. “But we’ve got to begin to really understand that your digital thumbprint lasts longer than you could ever imagine.”

Stokes posted an apology on social media.

“I was in my car listening to rap music, rapping along to the words and posted a video of it on social media. I deeply apologize for the words in the song that I chose to say. It was hurtful and offensive to many people, and I regret that,” the senior posted to Twitter.

“I fully accept the consequences for my actions, and I respect the University of Florida’s decision to withdraw my scholarship offer to play football. My intention was never to hurt anybody and I recognize that even when going along with a song, my words still carry a lot of weight. I will strive to be better and to become the best version of myself both on and off the field. I know that learning from my mistakes is a first important step.”

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.