CLEWISTON, Fla., -- Three Clewiston High School football players have been kicked off the team after they were seen in a music video waving fake guns and flashing gang signs.
Parents say the kids meant no harm and the consequences are too harsh.
“Football is his way out, so taking that away from him really crushes his dream," said LaTwyiaen Carter, mother of Trayquan Williams, a senior football player that was asked to leave after he was seen rapping in the music video.
Carter pointed out that Hendry County Deputies also appeared in the video and that the "kids were just having fun." She says at least four officers were around when the kids filmed it, even helping them create it.
“They didn’t have to kick them off the team," Carter said. "Suspending them for a game, yes. Kicking them off, no."
Carter says her son has dreams of playing football at the University of Florida. She says those dreams could be diminished now.
The Hendry County Deputy Superintendent was less sympathetic to the video.
“That type of behavior was so egregious and appalling that we cannot tolerate that at Clewiston High School," Robert Egley said.
Egley says that even though the video happened off-campus, the video is not the type of student-athlete "role models" Clewiston should have.
"Once he’s grown and out of school, he can do whatever he wants to do," Egley said. "Coaches have talked to their students about the dangers and parallels of social media."
Egley later said there are no social media policies in the school handbook that pertain to off-campus behavior.
Nevertheless, Carter says without football, she worries her son will give up on his dreams altogether.
"He’s going to give up, he’s going to feel like nothing matters now… [He said,] 'they act like I killed somebody,' I said yeah, they really do,” she said.
Carter says her son has written apology letters to his principal and his teammates and will do anything he can to get back on the team.