Two recent radio appearances by Broward Sheriff Greg Tony raise new questions about his collegiate and law enforcement background. During a February 24, 2023 interview on WIOD 610 AM, Tony repeated disputed details surrounding his killing of Hector “Chino” Rodriguez in May 1993. Despite his killing of Rodriguez and “tasting the blood and brain matter” of another friend shot in the head, Tony credited school for keeping him out of trouble. He said he was an “A” student as well as an accomplished athlete.
Tony quickly segued into his college football career at Florida State University (FSU). When he was 17 years old, Tony decided to leave Philly for Tallahassee. He said he wanted to play football at FSU. Tony said he was a walk-on who became a starter and “played on the National Championship team.”
The host asked Sheriff Tony how he chose a career in law enforcement. While at FSU, Tony said he pursued his Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and a Masters degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation, Tony said he researched the top law enforcement agencies in Florida. He said the top choices were Coral Springs Police, BSO and Fort Lauderdale Police. Tony said he chose Coral Springs Police.
The interview ends with a few brief questions about his appointment as Sheriff, his personal life and his hobbies.
In his interview with WIOD, Sheriff Gregory Tony said he was a “top athlete” at Florida State with the potential of a career in the National Football League (NFL). While he was praised by some for his work ethic, Tony’s career numbers as a fullback would hardly qualify as a “top athlete” at FSU.
According to multiple football publications, Greg Tony played fullback at FSU for five games during the 2000 and 2001 football seasons. Tony was thrust into the starting role after two players graduated and a third was injured.
Tony played in two games during the 2000 football season. On October 21, 2000 played in the Virginia game. On November 11, 2000 he played against Wake Forest. Tony had zero rushing attempts in both games.
In January 2001, FSU lost the BCS National Championship to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Records show Tony played three games during the 2001 season. On September 1, 2001 Tony had two rushing attempts for six yards against Duke. On September 8, 2001, Tony gained four yards in one rushing attempt against University of Alabama-Birmingham. Two weeks later, he made no rushing attempts against the University of North Carolina. Tony did have one kick off return against UNC. He gained one yard.
To close out the season, FSU played Virginia Tech on New Years Day 2002 in the Gator Bowl. While Tony is listed on the roster, no box scores indicate he actually played in the game. The 2002 Gator Bowl was not a national championship game.
In the run up to the 2002 season, one Seminole football publication listed Tony as the favorite to keep the starting football job. But Greg Tony did not play football in 2002.
9/11 Changed Everything?
In a 2019 interview with Channel 10, Greg Tony shared how the attacks of 9/11 changed his life. Tony recalled he was attending Latin class on the morning of September 11, 2001.
“And not having a lot of success in that course, but I can recall the moment of how it had shook the entire campus and the whole world had stopped,” Tony said…recalling how the terrorist attacks of that day forever changed the trajectory of his post-college career. “There was nothing else more important. There was nothing else more impactful to this nation.”
“And so, after seeing that, it was clear that I was done,” Tony said during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony on the 18th anniversary of the attacks. “There would be no more football. There would be no more self-consideration for what financial things would be beneficial for me to play and push towards a career in the NFL. It was going to be public safety. It was going to be service.”
According to Channel 10, Tony hung up his “cleats for good” following the September 22, 2001 North Carolina game.
“After 9/11, it hit me very personally and the fact that, you know, I was a running back in college and I was watching, you know, first responders run into a building,” Tony told Local 10 News after the ceremony. “And it just seemed important for me, if I had all this athleticism to where I can run a ball on a field, I probably should be one of the guys running into a building.”
Sounds very noble.
But that’s not the reason why Tony had to “hang up his cleats.”
On October 2, 2001, Seminoles.com reported Greg Tony was “released from hospital today” after suffering a “small compression fracture mid-back.” Tony was expected to miss six to eight weeks.
On November 28, 2001, the Tampa Bay Times provided an injury report—“Greg Tony, who broke his back during the Wake Forest game on September 29, is expected to play Saturday. The junior has missed six games because of the injury.”
CALL TO (WHICH) SERVICE?
According to the Channel 10 story, the 9/11 attacks inspired Greg Tony to join law enforcement. But a 2002 Tallahassee Democrat story lays out a different 9/11-inspired career path for Greg Tony. The story was reproduced in a November 2002 FSU alumni publication.
The Tallahassee Democrat story by Steve Ellis explains Greg Tony’s absence from the 2002 FSU football team. According to Ellis, Tony joined the United States Marines.
Ellis wrote, “Only [Dan] Kendra and Greg Tony joined the military after Sept. 11. Tony passed on a chance to start a fullback this season to enter the Marines Officer Candidate School.”
Ellis wrote neither Kendra nor Tony were available to speak with the media.
TONY’S TOP THREE
In the WIOD interview, following his graduation Greg Tony claimed his top three career destinations were Coral Springs PD, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Lauderdale PD. Tony claimed his research showed these were the top three law enforcement agencies.
Published reports and records show Tony mislead WIOD listeners.
In March 2021, the Sun-Sentinel published a document from Tony’s personnel file with Coral Springs Police. After initially lying that he never applied with another agency, Greg Tony was required to list other law enforcement agencies he applied to for employment.
According to the document, in 2002, Greg Tony applied for employment with the United States State Department. Tony “Did not pass written exam.” That same year, Tony applied for work with the U.S. Marshals and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
(Tony failed to disclose his 2004 application with the Tallahassee Police Department. Tony was rejected by TPD after admitting LSD use as a teenager.)
Tony listed applications in 2005 with Fort Lauderdale Police and the Miami Police Department. An FLPD investigator said Tony applied in 2004 but “did not show up for the oral board.” A Miami Police investigator told Coral Springs PD there was no record of Tony applying to the department.
Why would Sheriff Greg Tony tell WIOD listeners these were his top 3 choices when they barely made his top 10?
Did the 9/11 attacks initially inspired Greg Tony to join the Marines?
Did Greg Tony enter Marine Officer Candidate School?
What became of Tony’s attempt to join the Marines?
Why is it so hard for Broward Sheriff Greg Tony to give honest, straightforward answers to the public?