After word hit yesterday that the boys of Florida Georgia Line had possibly “dissed” police by refusing to allow uniformed officers backstage at two of their concerts over the weekend, the duo has been taking a bit of a beating online. Turns out, however, that the officer who originally spoke with TMZ about the incident, Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver, doesn’t actually want anyone to hate on the pair.
Saving Country Music got in touch with Graver who explained in a little more detail what happened.
“I don’t want this to be anti Florida Georgia Line,” Sheriff Graver said. “It might have been inflamed by what happened in other places. What I normally do is I approach the tour manager for these groups usually sometime late afternoon, and I basically ask them what they want from us. Normally it would be several uniformed officers for the meet and greet for security, but then when they go on stage, they may say they need no presence backstage, or they may say they want to keep a couple of officers back there. It’s fairly unusual that you would have a group say that they don’t want law enforcement backstage at all.”
Despite it being unusual for the group to request no law enforcement backstage, Sheriff Graver says he honored the band’s wishes and it didn’t matter to him why they chose to refuse a police presence.
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Sheriff Graver does, however, admit that although he was okay with Florida Georgia Line’s decision, he and other law enforcement agencies denied the band’s request for a police escort after the show.
“That was refused by me,” says Sheriff Graver. “And then they contacted the Monticello, Iowa police chief who also refused them, and then they contacted me back, and I made the decision to refuse that request again.”
He also doesn’t seem to deny telling FGL’s handlers at the time that he wouldn’t spend “one tax dollar assisting them,” as TMZ reported he had said, which does seem to indicate that maybe, just maybe, he was at least a wee bit angry at first.
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In any case, it doesn’t sound like Sheriff Graver is holding any grudges, which is really all that matters.
So why DOES Florida Georgia Line ask for no police to be present backstage? Fans can only speculate, but a “source” close to the duo reportedly told TMZ in a new statement that security for their concerts is handled through promoters at the venues and is part of their contract for each performance. They also said that Tyler and Brian believe that by not not utilizing police backstage for security where they’re really not needed, it frees up law enforcement to help in other areas around the venue where they can be of help.
Which actually is a perfectly logical explanation to me.
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Update: Here is Florida Georgia Line’s full statement regarding all of the hullabaloo.