University of Florida

Gators QB Feleipe Franks and his mom respond to criticism for behavior against Canes

UM and UF football fans at Camping World Stadium

The scene around Camping World Stadium before the start of the University of Miami and University of Florida football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando.
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The scene around Camping World Stadium before the start of the University of Miami and University of Florida football game Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Orlando.

Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks had a far from perfect game against the Miami Hurricanes last Saturday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Franks inconsistent play, a mix of three touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble, was why he was benched five times in the past two years, the Associated Press reported.

There was also his behavior on the field in the opener to the college football season, which led to criticism from fans.

Following Florida’s practice Tuesday, Franks, a senior, responded to the criticism of his performance and the behavior — namely where he trash-talked Miami fans after Florida’s go-ahead score and punting the ball into the stands post-game after the No. 8 Gators edged the Canes 24-20 in Orlando.

“I don’t need anybody’s approval. I’m myself. I’m my own person,” Franks said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “At the end of the day, that’s what makes me who I am. People inside this building know who I am, know what kind of person I am. Humble. Try to be the best teammate I can be, always put the team first. I’m a passionate player. I love to win. Winning is my No. 1 goal and we won; we got the job done. We won.”

Franks’ mother, Ginger, responded via Twitter.

“Imagine a world where we encouraged one another,” Ginger Franks wrote. “Where we didn’t judge a person by a few seconds we see of them. Where we took the time to talk to people to learn their story. To find out about their day or offer a helping hand or words of encouragment when they are down. Instead we criticize and say cruel things to people we don’t even know via social media, direct messages or media. Would you say those same things in person after having a conversation to find out the other person’s perspective? Probably not and that is what is so sad.”

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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