Tough Tuesday so far for Percy Harvin. This morning, the Vikings receiver revealed via Twitter that he has postponed the minor arthroscopic shoulder surgery that he had scheduled for today, citing a family emergency that needed attention.
Now Harvin is also seeing his name dragged through the mud for alleged behavioral problems he had several years back while playing at the University of Florida. In a revealing Sporting News story on former Florida coach Urban Meyer, now the boss at Ohio State, writer Matt Hayes details a Gator program that came off the rails during Meyer’s final few seasons in Gainesville.
Harvin, the story alleges, was one of the bigger problem players. According to Sporting News:
It was Harvin, more than anyone, who epitomized the climate Meyer created. While former players say Harvin always was treated differently as a member of Meyer’s Circle of Trust, it was the beginning of his sophomore season—after he helped lead the Gators to the 2006 national title—that it became blatant. That's also when it began to contribute negatively toward team chemistry.
During offseason conditioning before the 2007 season, the team was running stadium steps and at one point, Harvin, according to sources, sat down and refused to run. When confronted by strength and conditioning coaches, Harvin—who failed to return calls and texts to his cell phone to comment on this story—said, “This (expletive) ends now.”
“The next day,” a former player said, “we were playing basketball as conditioning.”
It only got worse as Harvin’s career progressed. At one point during the 2008 season, multiple sources confirmed that Harvin, now a prominent member of the Minnesota Vikings, physically attacked wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground. Harvin had to be pulled off Gonzales by two assistant coaches—but was never disciplined.
When asked about the Harvin incident, Gonzales—now offensive coordinator at Illinois—said, “I think it’s a little overblown. I mean, every great player wants his voice to be heard.” Said Meyer: “Something did happen and something was handled. I don’t think it’s fair to Percy Harvin or Billy Gonzales to talk about it.”