Nease quarterback Marcus Stokes signs with UWF


Argos quarterback Marcus Stokes poses in a UWF football uniform for a promotional photo.

Austin Lloyd, Staff Writer

The UWF Argos football team landed quarterback Marcus Stokes on National Signing Day, and he has stood out to the masses for a couple of reasons.

Stokes built his status as a high-profile recruit with his impressive play at Allen D. Nease High School, a Floridian public school known for producing talent such as Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and former Buffalo Bills cornerback Mario Butler.

In his time at Nease, Stokes established himself as a promising dual-threat quarterback, throwing for over 1,800 yards and rushing for over 500 in his senior year alone. Unfortunately, his other reason for recognition is not nearly as positive.

Last November, a video surfaced of Stokes using a racial slur while singing along to a rap song in his car. The footage soon went viral, garnering enough attention for the University of Florida to withdraw the scholarship offer that was previously extended to him.

The move was the subject of much debate on social media, with some believing he deserved the punishment while others felt it was over the top. Another popular opinion was that while pulling the scholarship seemed somewhat harsh, Stokes simply should have known that his actions would not be well-received and that losing his scholarship was a likely outcome.

Stokes quickly addressed the matter in a now-deleted statement from his Twitter account, publicly apologizing to anyone he had offended.

“I was in my car listening to rap music, rapping along to the words, and posted a video of it to social media,” Stokes said. “I deeply apologize for the words in the song which I chose to say.”

Even after the statement, the future of Stokes’ football career was left uncertain. Leading up to National Signing Day, it was reported that Albany State University—an HBCU—had offered him a scholarship. Rams head coach Quinn Gray went on to apologize for the move.

Following Gray’s apology, the idea of a school giving Stokes a second chance was appearing all the less realistic, which made the news of him signing with UWF all the more worthy of questioning.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, UWF athletic director Dave Scott described the call to give Stokes an opportunity as a “collective decision,” one that both the administration and football players had a say in. He also cited the responsibility that Stokes took for his mistake as something that showed he deserved said opportunity.

“His sincere public apology earned him that consideration for us,” Scott said. “At UWF we want to have an inclusive and respectful environment for all our students.”

The comments underneath Marcus Stokes’ Twitter post confirming his commitment to the Argos have been overwhelmingly positive. At such a rate, it appears that many might be willing to forgive and forget.