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Florida’s Lamical Perine accused of battery in dispute with tow truck driver

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Florida’s stupid offseason seems intent on getting stupider — though a state attorney is calling this situation “bullshit.”

NCAA Football: Florida Spring Game Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine could face a battery charge after a tow truck driver alleged he grabbed his arm during a dispute over his mother’s car being towed — but the state attorney deciding whether he will face a charge is calling the situation “bullshit.”

Daniel Smithson reports this for The Gainesville Sun:

Florida senior running back Lamical Perine could face a battery charge after a tow truck driver accused him of pulling his arm when the driver tried to tow his mother’s vehicle.

Perine, 21, was accused May 7 in a sworn complaint of arguing with a tow truck driver while he tried to hook onto the car to tow it. The car did not have a required decal.

Perine grabbed the tow truck driver’s arm and pulled him away from the car in an attempt to thwart his towing efforts, according to the complaint.

Florida spokesman Steve McClain told Smithson that the program is aware of the situation involving Perine.

Whether this situation escalates to Perine actually facing a charge may depend on both what the tow truck driver — who has yet to elaborate beyond the information given to police for the sworn complaint — and longtime State Attorney Bill Cervone, a Florida alum sometimes accused of leniency when it comes to Florida athletes, think of the incident.

But Cervone sounds entirely unconvinced a crime occurred in his remarks to Smithson.

Cervone has not made a decision on whether to prosecute. However, he’s not convinced the allegation rises to the level of a battery charge.

“That is bullsh--. There’s a certain amount of touching that is not intended to be a criminal matter,” Cervone said. “I could put my arm on your shoulder as I walk past you and technically that’s battery. Some people revel in something that’s not a big deal. It’s a football player and it becomes the end of the world.”

State attorneys do not, believe it or not, generally call incidents coming before them “bullshit,” so there’s that.

Perine is in line to be Florida’s starting halfback in 2019, and is considered one of Florida’s leaders and a decent person — though some of that perception is based on an origin story about him mowing lawns to afford a bus ticket to camp before Florida coaches that Perine himself called out as embellished this week. The idea of Perine laying hands on someone strains credulity, even if the person in question is a Gainesville tow truck driver — someone who, chances are, is likely not someone known for exemplary bedside manner and totally professional behavior.

But if Perine did do what is alleged, it’s another dumb action involving someone within a Florida program dealing with a spate of dumb actions by defensive back Brian Edwards, since-transfer portal’d quarterback Jalon Jones, and recruiting staffer Otis Yelverton. All of those actions are significantly more troubling than Perine’s, given that all of those involved violence against women, but Perine’s coming after them is sigh-worthy in its own right.

And regardless of the potential righteousness of Perine’s actions or the resolution of his case, it is unquestionable that Florida fans wearied of a series of dismaying offseason headlines will be hoping for a reversal of fortune — and as soon as possible.