Jim McElwain is determined not to give up on Antonio Callaway, or any of his players for that matter.
A day after suspending his star wide receiver along with six others for Florida's season opener against Michigan, McElwain openly discussed his thoughts and disappointment Monday surrounding the issue while taking responsibility as the leader of the program. McElwain asserted his team will continue to look forward in order to assess the situation and move past it.
"I’m very disappointed and at the same time, swift and quick action was taken," McElwain said, according to Ryan Young of SEC Country. "With that, we’ve had some guys not with us, been suspended from team activities, will not go to Michigan and will not play in that game. Anything further from there, obviously, we’ve got a lot of time now between then and whatever the next thing is."
The suspensions were handed out as a result of improper charges on the players' student IDs at the school bookstore for items that were then sold for cash. No expected return date for the players was provided, but McElwain did assert the players were doing what was necessary to effectively handle the situation.
No reason was provided for the players' suspensions, just as no expected return date for the players was given, but McElwain did assert the players were doing what was necessary to effectively handle the situation.
"Obviously any time there’s, you know, choices made, you’ve got to make up for whatever happened. These guys are doing that," he said. "And it’s interesting when you think about, you know, even my disappointment. I mean, let’s call it the way it was and the way it is, and yet, it’s guys that made choices and then what do you do? You take something away that really means something to them ... They’re not, obviously, going to go play in one of the greatest places, stadiums, there is on national television. Those are things that hurt."
Despite compromising the team with their actions, McElwain declared he wouldn't give up trying to teach and support his players.
"The individual circumstances, they’ll be handled and dealt with for the severity that it is," McElwain said. "As I said, the one thing I will do is I’ll continue to help. I’ll continue to be there. I’ll continue to support. But obviously the consequences, you make your own bed. ... I’ll never turn my back on anybody. That’s not what it’s all about."