Norvell defends program as several FSU players cite ‘lies’ about health issues

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell speaks at a press conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State athletic director David Coburn says the football team met Thursday, June 4, 2020, after a star player accused coach Mike Norvell of lying about connecting personally last weekend with every player to discuss the killing of George Floyd and protests against racial injustice. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File) (Phil Sears, Copyright 2019 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State’s football offseason is navigating another internal quarrel that became very public on Thursday morning when players accused leadership of multiple cases of dishonesty.

Receiver Warren Thompson posted on Twitter Thursday morning that he has been “lied to multiple times” about health and safety during the first week of camp in Tallahassee, touching off a wild day of back and forth that had first-year head coach Mike Norvell defending himself and the program again. Several other prominent FSU players spoke up in defense of the program, saying that they feel safe.

“During the entire week of camp I have been lied to multiple times about the conditions of other players health as well as mine,” Thompson wrote.

On Wednesday night, receiver DJ Matthews, a Jacksonville native who played at First Coast, Potter’s House and Trinity Christian, reportedly tweeted that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. The tweet was later deleted. He posted a cryptic tweet Thursday morning about lies.

“Disappointed to hear about the messages that were put out there, but we’re very transparent throughout this process, and once again, we’ve had a voluntary policy with all of our players all of our staff throughout this camp and all mandatory summer access,” Norvell said Thursday.

Cindy Rewis, the mother of receiver Tamorrion Terry, also joined in, saying on Twitter that families want answers.

“We need answers and we want the truth! @FSUFootball @Coach_Norvell As parents and family members we deserve to know our kids are safe! Weekly testing has not taken place and many players have tested + and yet told to remain silent! Silent NO MORE!”

Safety Jaiden Lars-Woodbey took to Twitter and said that he feels “safe” and that the athletic training staff has done remarkable work to keep players healthy and protected during the times of the coronavirus.

Senior defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who spoke up months ago about what he felt were misleading quotes by Norvell, said that he, too, felt comfortable with Florida State’s protocol and efforts during the pandemic.

For Norvell, it’s the second high profile case of a player going public with a concern since he was hired last December.

“It’s a work in progress. Obviously, this is a transition. Any time there is a new staff or new leader into a program, there is transitional experience that we all have to work through. The issue back in May with Marvin, I was able to come out and understand where my mistake was made. I incorrectly used the word ‘every’ in a statement that was made in an interview, and I own that decision,” he said.

“We came together as a team. The players have the right to post whatever they want to post. I’m not going to control the players’ social media, everybody has a platform they can use. How they use it, it comes down to their choice.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.