Leon Orr says photos incorrectly depict him

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Thu. December 17, 2009 | Keith Niebuhr

Leon Orr is not in a gang and never has been, the star Gulf football player and Florida Gators commit said today.

“There are two pictures being rotated around the Internet, and I want to address that whole situation about them being gang-related,” Orr said. “They’re not at all. They were done so long ago. I’m far from that. The pictures may look like that. But it was never meant to be perceived in that way. They were taken a long time ago before I knew I would be put in the spotlight.”

In one photo, Orr, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound DT and one of the country’s most heralded football recruits, is holding what he called a plastic pellet gun and some money. He said that was taken while he was in middle school.

“It was just me and a bunch of friends,” Orr said. “It was never meant to be taken out of context and of me being in a gang.”

In a second image, Orr’s face is covered by a black flag. That, he said, were merely done to promote his rap group, then known as Collect Money Cartel (the group is now called Merk Boys, named after the street he grew up on, Mercury Avenue).

“I know it looks bad, but at the same time it’s just a rap group,” Orr said. “But that picture has nothing to do with anything. We started that group a long time ago. We were just a bunch of young, crazy kids. It was never about violence.”

Orr said he is sorry the photos have presented himself and Florida in a bad light.

“I would like to apologize to the Gator Nation for these crazy accusations and the situation I’ve put myself in to be viewed as such a thing, which is completely untrue, while representing the University of Florida,” Orr said. “I want to let them know, I’ve grown up and been around violence and drugs all my life. I would never jeopardize the chance to better my living standards.”

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