Report: Florida players' conflict with local gambler 'Tay Bang' dates back months, involves alleged discount at Enterprise Rent-A-Car

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

At first, it sounded as if the confrontation in May between a group of Florida football players and a Gainesville-area gambler known as “Tay Bang” was a one-off incident.

According to a new report from First Coast News, though, it appears the conflict between the two groups dates back months.

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The first incident, according to the report, occurred on February 10th in a Gainesville nightclub when Tay Bang, whose real name is Devante’ Zachery, got into a “playful argument” with three Gators players about guns.

From First Coast News:

The following weekend, a group of football players jumped Zachery’s friend and that led to Zachery exchanging words with the football players at the Oaks Mall in Gainesville. According to the GPD report, an officer witnessed the aftermath of the fight. A bar security manager confirmed to police a fight occurred between some UF football players and a group of local men.

The weekend after that, Feb. 25, police witnessed what they described as a group of men wearing Gator colors and emblems. They described the group as loud, agitated and walking in an aggressive manner. Police overheard the group saying “Where they at?” and asked whether they were athletes, to which they responded they were on the football team. According to the report, a GPD officer responded they needed to leave before they got into trouble.

Things cooled off for the next few months until the incident on May 28, when seven Gators players confronted Zachary and his friends outside of an on-campus residential complex and his friends with airsoft guns and a frying pan. Zachary told police that “some football players noticed him on campus and started throwing rocks at his car,” and then chased him with “pots and pans” and what he thought was an AR-15, though was later determined to be an airsoft gun with the orange tip painted mostly black.

Video of that May 28 altercation was obtained by the Gainesville Sun via an open records request, and was released on Monday.

That incident reportedly started after Zachary’s relationship with players on the team “went sour” after the Gators started losing and he was upset that he was losing money he had bet on games. Zachary told police that he said he would also give players “discounts on rental cars at Enterprise.”

One week later, though, the conflict between the two groups continued.

From First Coast News:

On July 4, wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland was knocked out by a friend of Zachery near the Rain Night club in Gainesville, according to the report. Zachery refused to tell GPD who hit Cleveland and denied being there during the incident.

“He stated Cleveland was knocked out badly, but did not know if Cleveland needed medical attention,” Zachery told police in the report.

Zachery told police, according to the report, that he feared his life was in danger. He said he had been receiving threatening phone calls and text messages and believed people were trying to lure him to the football players.

Zachery also told police one of the football players told him “there is money behind this,” which Zachery took to mean there was a price on his head. Zachery made other allegations to police, including that same football player was a member of the Bloods, though the conflict had nothing to do with the player’s alleged gang affiliation.

At the end of the report, police advised Zachery and his friends to end contact with the football players. Zachery repeatedly told police he wanted to meet with law enforcement and the football players to resolve this situation.

When reached by phone last week, Zachery told First Coast News we didn’t have both sides of the story, but he declined to elaborate. He has since stopped responding to First Coast News.

The Florida athletic department released a statement to First Coast News on Monday, too.

“We understand [the Gainesville police department] has followed up last week’s [University police department] report with a background report that has Devante’ Zachery (aka Tay Bangs) as its primary source,” the athletic department said in a statement. “We are not aware if there will be any additional information provided by GPD on this matter. Anytime we get information involving our student athletes we look into it.”

None of the seven players involved in the confrontation on campus on May 28, or any of the other detailed incidents, were charged with a crime. Multiple players were recommended to the Florida Student Conduct and Conflict resolution department for initially lying to police about the incident and for holding and pointing what appeared to be assault rifles at other individuals on campus.

Tay Bang was given a “no trespass warning” from the university property that lasts for three years.

“We were made aware of the incident when it occurred and immediately began following campus protocol,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said in a statement last week. “This has been an opportunity for us to educate our players about the dangers and negative perceptions that can occur when conflict arises, and how important honesty and good decision making is.”

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