Perhaps the best thing that could have happened for Jameis Winston would have been for Florida State to lose to Clemson in its Saturday night spectacle. Winston then might have been overcome with remorse, for letting down his undefeated national championship team.
As it turned out, FSU won in overtime, so no real damage resulted from the Heisman-winning quarterback being suspended for the game because he stood on a table in the student union and bellowed an obscene remark about what a man should do to a woman for his sexual gratification.
Winston as always tried to sound somewhat contrite, expressing regret for his “selfish” action that brought unhappiness to his teammates. But when he was questioned by the administration, he minimized and distorted what he had done, which is why his suspension was raised from the initial half-game to the full game.
He continues to miss the point that what he did was a disgusting affront to all women and girls. This is not just about his team. The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence issued a statement that Winston hopefully will heed: “What he said was aggressive and ugly and indicative of how little respect and care he has for women.”
His latest misbehavior was especially alarming considering the context, that he was accused (though not charged) of raping a woman in December 2012 and that he’s currently under Title IX investigation for that alleged action.
When the university’s interim president, Garnett Stokes, and the athletics director, Stan Wilcox, suspended Winston for the Clemson game, the player showed up in full gear for warmups.
He was ready to play. It’s as if he expected the suspension would be lifted if FSU fell far behind, and he could enter the game and save the team again.
Coach Jimbo Fisher was clearly exasperated with that cavalier attitude and dispatched him to the locker room to change clothing. He returned in sweat pants and jersey and no pads but still made himself as visible as possible. The TV cameras focused on him for reactions to plays good and bad, and the commentators mentioned his name 60 times.
So what sort of punishment was that?
Winston continues down his path of dissipation, and he has tweeted messages indicating his lack of concern. There was the incident of firing off a BB gun in a public area, the alleged stealing of a soda at Burger King, the conviction for lifting $32 worth of crab legs, the rape accusation, the obscene behavior in the student union.
So far he hasn’t suffered much in the way of consequences. Because of the shoplifting he had to mop some floors. But a price will be paid. This is not the time for future NFL players to show their disrespect for laws and especially for their disregard for women.
Domestic violence is the theme of the day, and the pros will be leery of attaching themselves to another Ray Rice or Greg Hardy, no matter how talented.
As Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl-winning coach, said on The Dan Patrick Show: “You don’t want the face of your franchise and the guy you’re going to take in the top five picks to have all those off-field issues.”
Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. agreed, saying he has dropped Winston from No. 1 in the next draft. Kiper now slots him at No. 25.
Winston seems to think all will be forgiven as long as he’s a good teammate, cheering for his buddies when he’s not on the field and leading them to touchdowns when he is allowed to play. He will learn – probably later rather than sooner – that it’s not nearly that simple.