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Florida A&M coach suspends all football activities over locker-room rap video shoot

Internal investigation launched over unauthorized Real Boston Richey feature showing people wearing licensed FAMU-branded apparel, helmets and pads

Florida A&M University coach Willie Simmons announced Friday evening all football activities have been suspended indefinitely after a rapper shot an unauthorized music video in the football program’s locker room.

In a statement posted to his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Simmons condemned the explicit language in the video and said an internal investigation is underway.

The statement reads:

“Earlier today, it was brought to my attention that a rap video was shot by a prominent rapper in the football locker room of Galimore-Powell Fieldhouse without proper authorization. The video contained graphic language that is not consistent with Florida A&M’s core values, principles and beliefs and an internal investigation is underway to determine who authorized the use of not only the athletic facility at Galimore-Powell, but also licensed apparel that potentially violates university branding and licensing agreements. Although I am a proud proponent of free speech and support all forms of musical expressions, this football team (as ambassadors of Florida A&M University) has a responsibility to protect the University’s image. As a result of this unfortunate situation, as head football coach I am effectively suspending all football related activities until further notice. It is a privilege to wear the Orange and Green and as a football program our young men have failed to live up to the standard set before us. They will all learn from this mishap and we will continue to work hard every day to become the best version of ourselves and continue to make Rattler Nation proud.”

Tallahassee, Florida, native Jalen Foster, who raps under the name Real Boston Richey, released a video for his song “Send a Blitz” on Friday afternoon, nine hours before Simmons posted his statement. The video contains shots of Florida A&M’s locker room and shows people wearing licensed FAMU-branded apparel, football helmets bearing the school logo and pads.

It is unclear whether the suspension will impact the start of fall training camp, where players are set to report on Aug. 2. Simmons is scheduled to appear with two members of the team at the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s media day on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama.

This the second consecutive year that preseason controversy has marred the Rattlers’ football program. In 2022, 25 Florida A&M players were ruled academically ineligible ahead of their season opener against North Carolina.

Mia Berry is the senior HBCU writer for Andscape and covers everything from sports to student-led protests. She is a Detroit native (What up Doe!), long-suffering Detroit sports fan and Notre Dame alumna who randomly shouts, "Go Irish."