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College Football

Report: Naked man in shark photo is not Florida coach Jim McElwain

It appears the speculation suggesting a naked man posing on top of a shark in a photo that quickly went viral is Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain was patently false, per an Orlando Sentinel report.

It turns out the man, who was believed to be McElwain and alternatively the founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop chain according to persistent Internet gossip, is a former New York City police officer.

The naked guy on the shark may have finally been identified, and it is reportedly a man named “Shawn” from upstate New York who is a former New York City police officer. And, get this, he was was going to meet with Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain to share a laugh about the infamous picture.

That’s what David Pingalore, sports anchor for WKMG-TV in Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi on Friday on Bianch’s “Open Mike” radio show on 96.9 The Game.

“This guy lives in upstate New York, that photo was taken two years ago off the shores of Long Island — not in Florida,” Pingalore said. “I have the man that’s fully clothed that’s naked on the shark, on the boat. Yes, normal photographs.”

McElwain vehemently denied that the man in the bizarre photograph was him.

“First and foremost, I don’t know who it is, but it isn’t me,” McElwain told SEC Country’s Ryan Young, via The Score. “In the world we live, what is a story? I just know this, it isn’t me.”

James “Jimmy” John Liautaud also denied he was the man mounting the shark.

For those who haven’t seen the provocative and weird photo, here it is:

Uff da. It makes sense why pretty much every person on the planet wouldn’t want to be associated with that slice of nightmare fuel.

In the end, this scandal — if you want to call it that — simply appears to be the case of rampant rumor and salacious speculation leading to a case of grossly mistaken identity.

At least McElwain and Liautaud can put the awkward matter behind them. That has to come as a tremendous relief, obviously.

[The Spun]