In the end, the details of Janoris Jenkins' departure from the Florida Gators are just that: details. Whether Jenkins had any say in the matter, or whether he was simply dimissed by Will Muschamp following his second marijuana-related arrest in a matter of weeks, Jenkins will be playing his football somewhere else in 2011 regardless (if he plays at all).
But that doesn't mean Jenkins didn't deserve to offer the record his side of the story, as he emphatically did in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel Wednesday. Muschamp had tweeted that he and Jenkins "both felt" it was best for Jenkins to "move ahead to the next stage of his career." But according to Jenkins, it was only his coach who felt that way:
"The only thing he said was I was dismissed as soon as I walked in the room," Jenkins said. "He washed his hands of me" ...Jenkins mentor Sandy Cornelio, who said he had also been present for Muschamp's meeting with Jenkins, claimed that the coach had offered Jenkins "no explanation" for his decision.
"They know he didn't give me no option to make. … There was nothing else I could have done or said."
Of course, Muschamp didn't really have to spell things out for Jenkins, did he? Given his public mandate to put an end to the Gators' string of arrests under Urban Meyer and instill a greater sense of discipline in the team, Muschamp couldn't really let a three-time arrested star go unpunished without appearing to be as "soft" as Meyer was frequently criticzed for being. Jenkins may complain, but the conflict here really shouldn't be about Muschamp's decisions regarding his team.
That said, if the decision was entirely Muschamp's, he should be honest enough to present it as such. (A Florida athletic department spokesman said the school "stand[s] by" the earlier statement.) Besides: there didn't seem to be much doubt in the reaction to the news that Jenkins hadn't really left by choice anyway. The only functional difference in claiming the decision was mutual and admitting it wasn't was making an already acrimonious situation more acrimonious ... and while Jenkins might have deserved the dismissal he got, we're not sure he deserved that, too.