I tried to appear nonchalant and unfazed as much as possible when Chris Thompson became the first Gator to get in trouble with the law under Jim McElwain. I can do nothing of the sort this time, because this time, it’s bad. Really bad.
Florida cornerback JC Jackson has been arrested and charged with armed robbery. The Gainesville Police report, however, makes the whole incident look even more frightening than a simple two word legal term can. Via the Gainesville Sun:
“At 3:45 p.m. Jerald Christopher “J.C.” Jackson came to visit an apartment of an acquaintance in a complex at 4400 SW 20th Ave. but entered the home with two men who were unknown to the people who lived there, according to a Gainesville Police Department report. Jackson quickly took off and left the strangers inside, and one of them pulled out a handgun.
The man — not identified in the report — grabbed a bag of suspected marijuana and, with the gun, demanded the three residents lie on the floor and empty their pockets. One resident — whose identifying information was redacted from the report — told GPD officers the man pressed the handgun against his face and demanded to know the location of his supply of drugs and cash, the report states.
A total of $382 in cash was taken from people’s pockets, the report states. Also taken were two gaming systems.
The report states Jackson never re-entered the apartment after he escorted in the man who actually took the money and pulled out the gun. Police said Jackson called one of the people in the apartment after receiving a call from GPD.
Jackson was booked early Sunday morning into the Alachua County jail on the charge of robbery with a firearm and remained there in lieu of a $150,000 bond.”
Note: Jackson’s decision to call one of the people in the apartment is the Sun’s way of saying that Jackson turned himself in.
I’ve read the Gainesville PD’s report in its entirety, and the Sun did a pretty good job summarizing it. They did, however, leave out one detail I found to be quite fascinating: Jackson and the apartment owner are not just acquaintances, Jackson has actually been to that apartment multiple times before for parties. That’s not to say Jackson and the apartment owner are best friends, but they certainly seem to know each other a bit more than I know the people I call acquaintances, and I’m a pretty sociable guy.
Jim McElwain was immediately informed of the incident and released a statement:
“We are aware of the news involving J.C. Jackson, and he is currently dealing with a serious issue. We don’t condone any of his actions, and it is not something that reflects on the expectations we have in the program. It is being handled accordingly due to the severity of his actions.”
That’s fine, but once all the facts are out, McElwain’s got to get rid of him. I applaud Jackson’s decision to turn himself in and admit guilt right away, and I think that should lessen his legal punishment, but it also confirms that he’s guilty of something that merits being kicked off the team. Because of his immediate admittance of wrongdoing, I believe that he should someday get a chance to play college football again. Just not at Florida.
It’s time for McElwain to send a message to his team, one that he couldn’t send with Chris Thompson because of the lack of severity of his crime. Orchestrating an armed robbery isn’t just worse than pushing and scratching a girl who took your phone, it’s way worse, and McElwain has to let his players know that. He didn’t dole out any punishment to Thompson because legally speaking, he didn’t do anything wrong (the dating violence charge Thompson got slapped with was dropped). But now he has to step up and make an example out of Jackson, the way Will Muschamp did with Janoris Jenkins.
The example being, if you are charged and subsequently proven guilty of committing a crime as serious as (or more serious than) armed robbery, you are no longer a Florida Gator.