Top ranked high school quarterback Marcus Stokes lost the opportunity of a lifetime for rapping along to a song that contained the N-word.
The 14th ranked quarterback in the nation, who is white, fumbled hard when he posted a clip of himself singing the lyrics “Welcome back, n***a,” while riding in a car last week.
The viral video was met with widespread outrage and the the Florida Gators, who had recruited the sunshine state native to play ball, rescinded their scholarship offer on Sunday.
Stokes immediately apologized for the stunt in a lengthy statement the same day.
“I was in my car listening to rap music, rapping along to the words and posted a video of it on social media,” the high school senior wrote.
“I deeply apologize for the words in the song that I chose to say. It was hurtful and offensive to many people, and regret that,” Stokes continued.
The 4-star prospect said that he accepted the consequences of his actions, and respects the University of Florida’s choice to withdrawal his scholarship.
“My intention was never to hurt anybody and I recognize that even when going along with a song, my words still carry a lot of weight,” he concluded.
“I will strive to be better and to become the best version of myself both on and off the field. I know that learning from my mistakes is a first important step.”
The reactions to his apology were mixed. “A racial slur…. Sir are you serious?” One person questioned.
“There is no way on earth you didn’t know that this would not go well man, no way,” someone else pointed out. “You are a top tier high school prospect… Keep it professional & understand that you can not drop that word under any circumstances… Don’t let trying being cool make your future tougher.”
Others thought that University of Florida deserved a penalty for pulling Stokes’ scholarship offer, and should have issued a different disciplinary action.
“This is wrong. Pulling a scholarship because you were rapping along with a song you probably grew up with is excessive,” one person noted. “Having you talk to black players about the significance of the word to them is much fairer and more productive.”
“As a black CFB fan, I really respect your maturity in taking responsibility for your mistake,” another user concurred. “But pulling your scholarship is too much; you’re young and UF went too far here.”
While others believe that Florida cut him loose because they were able to flip Jaden Rashada, who is the sixth ranked high school quarterback and 17th ranked player overall, from Miami.
Twitter speculated that dropping Stokes, who is the 16th ranked quarterback and 212th overall player nationally, over the controversy was a convenient excuse.
“Plus Florida took another 2023 QB they think is better and are about to get a 2024 QB,” a responder tweeted. “They could at least be 100% honest with you.”
“They pulled his scholarship because they got Rashada and didn’t need 2 QB scholarships,” one person posted. “They’re just using this as an excuse to make room.”
“If that’s really what happened, the athletic department needs to fire the coaching staff. Branding some kid a racist for rapping along with a song just so you save a scholarship is despicable,” someone added. “They could legitimately ruin this kids life by calling him a racist.”
Stokes was previously committed to Penn State, but flipped to Florida in October. He received prior offers from USF and Georgia State, but it’s unclear if any of the schools are still interested in him.