Norvell disputes Thompson’s claims of lies, lack of leadership

Florida State wide receiver Warren Thompson made claims of leadership problems and lies “multiple times about the conditions of other players health as well as mine” in a post on Twitter on Thursday morning.

“I have been ridiculed about speaking up regarding this issue and it needs to be addressed for myself and to safety continue the season,” Thompson said.

FSU coach Mike Norvell said he had not seen Thompson’s tweet but emphasized continuously during his 24-minute post-practice Zoom call with reporters that he has been transparent with players.

“Honestly I have just heard the message,” Norvell said. “I have not actually physically seen it. I will say that there are some aspects of what I heard that are untrue. And at the end of the day I stand by the transparency that we’ve had. This is who we are. It’s just disappointing to hear that. Once again if there is some disconnect, I’m more than willing to have further conversations about that and we will go from there.”

Below is a screenshot of Thompson’s tweet:

D.J. Matthews and Demorie Tate both retweeted Thompson’s comments with a single “!” Matthews posted on Twitter on Wednesday night that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but then removed the tweet.

Norvell said he spoke with Matthews on Wednesday after the receiver posted the tweet in which he said he tested poise (and later deleted).

“I spoke DJ last night and I did not mention anything about his tweet,” Norvell said. “I was checking in with how he was doing after finding out about the positive test. I will say that as we come back to camp just like every year when we’re coming into camp, we talk about understanding, respecting people’s perspective, people’s privacy in what they’re willing to post. Every player has an opportunity to post anything about their own individual situation. To be honest with you, I’m not sure why D.J. took it down. I’ve not asked him in any regard to (do) that. On the flip side, the only thing we ever ask our players not to do is comment on somebody else’s situation or injury, anything that could violate some of the HIPPA things that we have in place when it comes to other student-athletes.”

Norvell said the FSU staff has had four Zoom meetings with parents in the last few months to keep open lines of communication. He reiterated his disappointment in what Thompson posted.

“We have been very open and transparent throughout this process,” Norvell said. “… We have been very transparent throughout all access, including an additional team meeting two nights ago there in the indoor facility to discuss all issues when it comes to COVID, when it comes to our protocols and procedures. We have followed those to the letter of what we have laid out.”

Norvell said the team met on Tuesday at FSU’s indoor practice facility, “addressing any concerns.”

“I can tell you that there have been guys that have had illnesses throughout camp that have been tested, gotten negative results and came back,” Norvell said. “Those are all things that we’re working through. We’re working through the policies and the procedures that are in place for us, but I’ve been very transparent with every player that I’ve talked to and with our entire team.”

The school has chosen not to release positive coronavirus cases or numbers of those affected among student-athletes. Norvell declined to say how many players missed Thursday’s practice due to university policy. The only known football players to test positive are offensive lineman Andrew Boselli, who has been public in his family’s battle with the virus, as well as Matthews.

While some players were outspoken about FSU’s protocols, a number have stated they are comfortable. Among those were defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, who told reporters on Thursday: “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t feel safe.”

Other players took to Twitter to comment:


Safety Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, speaking to the media after practice, praised FSU’s coaching staff and trainers for doing everything in their power to make sure that we are safe and to make sure we are doing the things necessary in order to play football this year.

“If we want to play football, then we have to follow the proper protocols,” Lars-Woodbey said. “It was never an issue or never a thing where if we didn’t want to play that we were neglected or thought of as a bad person. The coaches respected every decision that each player made. Coach Norvell, he even told us that if there were any questions we wanted to ask him on the side, not in-person, that we could do that. Great communication on Coach Norvell’s part and I’m just thankful that we have a great leader that is able to articulate himself and think everything through. Of course, mistakes are made, everybody is human, but there are people who learn from their mistakes and I just feel like Coach Norvell has been doing a great job since he got here, especially now in this situation.”

Norvell said players, coaches and support staff were tested the week before camp started and will be tested again today. Athletics director David Coburn said players would be tested twice during the regular season.

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