The delicate balance of player safety and pushing forward with football may have hit a tipping point at Florida State, where three wide receivers, including star Tamorrion Terry, have publicly spoken out about a lack of transparency in coronavirus testing at the school.
On Wednesday night, D.J. Matthews tweeted that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but the tweet was quickly deleted. He followed Thursday morning with a second tweet suggesting lies within the program.
Terry retweeted Matthews and offered his own vague concerns, writing, “I can’t believe this.”
“Our leadership is based off an ‘I’ mentality with them only worried about their own future rather than their own athletes,” Thompson wrote. “I have been ridiculed about speaking up regarding this issue, and it needs to be addressed for myself to safety continue the season.”
ESPN has reached out to Florida State for comment. The players’ tweets came while the rest of the team was practicing Thursday morning.
Florida State has refused to release testing numbers since players returned to campus in June. While many larger schools, including Clemson, Michigan and Oklahoma, have offered aggregate testing numbers, FSU has not announced any data.
Thompson’s words were echoed by Terry’s mother, Cindy Rewis, who tweeted, “We need answers and we want the truth.”
Rewis specifically called for first-year Florida State coach Mike Norvell to address concerns raised by parents and players. She said weekly testing has not taken place and that players who have tested positive have been told to remain silent.
This is the second public backlash against Norvell before he has even coached a game for the school. In June, star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson threatened a player boycott and stated publicly that Norvell misrepresented meetings between coaches and players after George Floyd was killed while in police custody.
Norvell met with the team the following day to clear the air and said the situation was largely a misunderstanding, thanking Wilson for bringing the matter to light.