The silliest story of the offseason just got a lot sillier.
Much to our dismay, Florida coach Jim McElwain confirmed earlier this week that he is not the naked man seen straddling a shark in a photo that went viral last week. The guy really looks like McElwain, but, after a few days of funny speculation, the Gators coach was adamant that it is not him.
But now, thanks to a Orlando sports anchor David Pingalore, we might be closer to identifying the man of mystery. Pingalore said on 96.9 The Game Friday morning that a friend of the man reached out to him earlier this week and sent him additional photos — not naked ones — of the yet-to-be-identified man.
“Somebody watched News 6 Wednesday night when I was on. He’s from New Jersey but happened to be in Apopka (Florida). He sent me the actual pictures of the man that is naked on the boat that everyone thinks is Jim McElwain,” Pingalore said. “They will not give me permission, as of right now, to show the pictures, but the guy sent me the pictures of the naked man, who’s from (upstate) New York, that’s on the shark.”
Best of all, Pingalore said the man wanted to meet McElwain, but the media attention — from the New York Post specifically — scared him off.
“Jim McElwain knows I have the pictures,” Pingalore said. “The naked man wanted to meet coach McElwain and then all of a sudden an hour later he flipped and got scared.”
[More college football from Yahoo Sports: SEC spring practice summaries]
Pingalore said he was in contact with Steve McClain, UF’s associate AD for football, about possibly arranging a meeting and everything (that would have been the photo op of a lifetime, huh?) until the New York Post’s article scared the man off.
“They (McElwain and McClain) were very excited. They were going to meet. I don’t know how they were going to meet, but they were going to shake hands,” Pingalore said.
Pingalore reiterated multiple times that the man, who is apparently a former New York City police officer, is “fearful for his life.”
“He’s afraid, once I put the story out there, that people are really going to know who he is,” Pingalore said. “According to his friend, the man is afraid for his life. It’s crazy.”
“He was in complete panic. The man who’s naked on the shark is afraid for his life because he believes bounty hunters and people that are shark people — whatever those people would be called, not necessarily PETA — he’s afraid because the New York Post put an article out about who is the naked man on the shark.”
The photo itself is apparently a few years old and was taken “off the coast of Long Island.” So why was the man humping the shark, exactly? Well, it was apparently some sort of prank.
“I guess in the UK there’s some websites that naked women get on sharks. They were trying to mock what women were doing with sharks, according to this man,” Pingalore said.
Whatever you say, buddy. Whatever you say.
And we’ll just add this: Has anybody ever seen the naked shark guy and Jim McElwain in the same room? Until then, we just can’t be 100 percent sure.
For more Florida news, visit InsideTheGators.com.
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