A former Miami Hurricanes player and South Florida radio personality has been fired after he posted a bounty on a Florida State player on Twitter following the Seminoles' 41-14 win over Miami on Saturday.
Dan Sileo, a defensive lineman for the Hurricanes in the late 1980s and an on-air personality for WMEN 640-AM in Miami until his termination Monday, posted a photo of Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan on his personal Twitter account with an offer of $1,000 to anyone who "takes this kid out."
After fans criticized the tweet, Sileo deleted it and suggested it had been a joke, but station management didn't accept the excuse.
"As a result of Dan Sileo's action on his personal Twitter account on November 3, 2013, WMEN has terminated his independent contractor relationship with the station," WMEN said in a statement released by executive producer Marc Eisenberg. "The ownership, staff, and management of WMEN 640 Sports do not condone his actions, which have no place in sports."
Sileo wrote a series of nine tweets on Monday expressing his frustration with the outrage to the original tweet, as well as with the radio station and Miami, which he said led the charge for his firing. Sileo did not apologize.
"Let me start this TWEET by saying I am SHOCKED over the BACKLASH over a TWEET I made concerning an FSU player over the WEEKEND...It has been GREAT being at 640..BUT at this time it is BEST I part ways with 640..I offered 3 times on SUNDAY to resign..BUT..all the backlash..its NOT good for BOTH parties," Sileo wrote.
Sileo also said he had received death threats over the incident.
"My family has DEATH THREATS from some @FSU_Football FANS and I even kept my daughter home from school today," he continued. "VERY SAD society we live in..when somebody ACTUALY thinks I would want another kid hurt..AWFUL....BUT..DEATH THREATS ARE REAL ... i have reported all the DEATH THREATS to the POLICE and FBI....My face book and twitter are littered with wanting to hurt my daughter ...
"My family and I are in hidding..PLEASE RESPECT our PRIVACEY....I have hired a PRIVATE COP and He is ARMED..THANK U..GO CANES"
Sileo has a history of controversy, having been suspended from another station for comments about several female reporters. He also said last year he wanted Miami defenders to "pull a knife" on quarterbacks who run on them.
Saturday's showdown between longtime rivals Florida State and Miami was a particularly emotional game. The teams had several on-the-field altercations, including a skirmish in the third quarter after Miami lineman Anthony Chickillo appeared to try to gouge the eyes of Florida State tackle Bobby Hart while the two were on the ground following a play.
It's not entirely clear what Jernigan did to draw Sileo's ire, though he was involved in a play in which star Miami tailback Duke Johnson broke his ankle. The injury ended Johnson's season, but several Florida State players, including running back Devonta Freeman and quarterback Jameis Winston, made a point to visit with Johnson after the game to offer support.
Freeman, who grew up in Miami, has been close friends with Johnson for years. Both players wear No. 8 -- the same uniform number as Jernigan. Sileo referenced Freeman in his tweet as well, and he may have been confused as to which Seminoles player he wanted injured.
Freeman and Jernigan were both among the handful of Florida State players who derisively used the famed "U" hand gesture after several big plays. Sileo cited that gesture as the reason behind his bounty.
Sileo wrote: "I understand my comment was OVER the TOP and 640 is right to protect there station...GREAT SUCCESS to them...But I felt the FSU PLAYER was PUSHING the U sign in my schools face...VERY disappointing to know the University of Miami lead the charge in this!!"
Freeman totaled 176 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in the win and said afterward that beating Miami was personal for him.
"I wasn't going to lose to Miami, no matter what," Freeman said. "It means a lot to go out there and beat them. Every time I get a chance, I want to destroy them."
Neither Freeman nor Jernigan had been made available to the media as of Monday afternoon, but Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said the emotions of Saturday's game were clear to everyone involved. He said he chastised Hart and others who were involved in the on-the-field altercations but acknowledged, "There's nobody more intense [than me] and at that age, I'd have been right in the middle of it. But you've got to look at the big picture."
What had been a close game before that scuffle quickly turned into a Florida State blowout. Winston, who slapped hands with teammates and barked at linemen after the skirmish, credited the emotions that followed for igniting Florida State's fire.
"That's me telling the guys, it's on," Winston said. "We're not taking no prisoners. We don't care about those guys anymore. At first, we respected them because they're a great team with great players. But after that skirmish, it was over. All that nice stuff, all the 'GameDay' and that stuff of them being compared to us, it was over. We know we had one goal, and that was to beat them bad."