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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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FSU's Sexton held under Baker Act
According to police the quarterback did push-ups in the street wearing just shorts and said he was God.
By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published June 15, 2005
FSU quarterback Wyatt Sexton was taken to a hospital after erratic behavior; police did not charge him with a crime.
Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton was taken to a hospital by police Monday evening after behaving erratically - laying half-naked in the road and proclaiming he was "God" - and is being held at an undisclosed location as his family desperately seeks answers and help.
The state's Baker Act allows for involuntary confinement of a person considered to be a danger to himself or others for 72 hours. According to the Tallahassee Police Department incident report, he's also being held under the state's Marchman Act, which allows for drug assessment or treatment.
Neither coach Bobby Bowden nor longtime running backs coach Billy Sexton, Wyatt's father, were available for comment, but the news has rocked the staff and team.
"Everybody is kind of the same thing: They're concerned," senior center David Castillo said. "It would be selfish to just be concerned with this football team."
Sexton, who will be a fourth-year junior, started seven games last season and his experience was expected to keep him ahead of heralded redshirt freshman Xavier Lee and former Land O'Lakes star Drew Weatherford, at least for the opener against archrival Miami.
"His health is more important," Castillo continued. "He's part of our family. He's a brother to us. With Coach Sexton being one of our coaches, we're very concerned for their family. Our thoughts and prayers are out to them. ... We just hope all the issues get worked out."
Castillo said he didn't suspect there were issues.
Not with Sexton, 20, an honor student with boyish, bookish looks who's known for an unassuming demeanor, a dry sense of humor and eclectic tastes such as playing the guitar.
But Sexton wasn't participating in voluntary workouts, despite his teammates' urgings. The school did announce Sexton had been suspended two weeks ago for a violation of team rules, something Castillo said the team didn't know anything about.
One of Sexton's roommates, Eric Reid, shed some light on Sexton's frame of mind when he told police that "Sexton has been very stressed out the past week over being the starting quarterback. . . ," according to an incident report that detailed Sexton's behavior.
After returning Monday from Tennessee, where he and his three roommates attended a Dave Matthews Band concert, Sexton, dressed only in wet shorts, was seen by numerous passersby about 5:30 p.m. laying in the middle of the road near his off campus apartment doing push ups, then jumping onto a parked car and yelled at a woman.
Zachary Lyne, the first police officer to respond to calls, repeatedly asked Sexton his name and he finally yelled that he was "God."
Sexton then took a step toward Lyne, quickly backed away and then dropped to his hands and knees, shouting for the officer to "quit f------ with me," according to the incident report.
"Fearing that the male might charge at me, I sprayed him with O.C. (pepper) spray," wrote Lyne, who called for backup and pulled out his baton as a precaution.
Sexton then cooperated, was handcuffed and had restraints placed around his feet. Though he continued to say he was "God" and "the son of God," he eventually told the officers his real name.
"Based upon my training and experience Sexton appeared to be under the influence of some unknown narcotic and alcohol," officer Robert Todd wrote. "He was hot and sweaty and was talking very irrationally."
His roommates told police that they didn't believe Sexton had been drinking or taking drugs. Calls to all three roommates from the Times were not returned. Police confirmed Sexton had no alcohol in his system.
"He didn't commit a crime," Tallahassee Police Department spokesman John Newland told the Times. (Sexton has no criminal history, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.) "We took him into custody to prevent him from hurting himself. Or hurting others."
Police took Sexton to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and while there, he kept trying to leave the examination room saying he didn't know why he was there.
Newland said he talked to the elder Sexton on Monday and his reaction was predictable.
"He's a parent first and a coach second," he said. "He's more concerned that his son is okay."
Times correspondent Zachary Spain and Times researchers John Martin and Cathy Wos contributed to this report.