INTRODUCTION – FOR ALL THE HATERS
This article is dedicated to my friend Chase. He is a good guy, and I consider him a smart sports fan. But, after a lengthy twitter exchange about Jameis Winston, he said this.
He MOST LIKELY raped someone, and 90 percent of people realize Winston is a sh#&bag. Obviously, if you’ve read my tweets or comments on Facebook (and since I’m writing this article) I disagree. What follows will be my attempt to make you re think your stance on… Jameis Winston.
All it takes is those two words together, Jameis, and Winston, and your head is filled with opinions. Actually, you don’t even need two words. He’s one of those celebrities that can be identified by one name. Jameis. And make no mistake, he is a huge celebrity. Even the most casual sports fan has an opinion about him. He is one of, if not the most polarizing figures of 2014. And as 2015 nears the midway point, he is just as polarizing. Honestly, for the most part, there are 2 “poles” to the polarization (Is that the definition of polarizing?). FSU fans love him, and non-FSU fans hate him. There are some outliers of course, but that’s the general spread. Hopefully by the end of this article, if you hate him, I’ll make you reconsider your stance. Let’s start before he was recognized as one of the top college players and pro prospects. Let’s start before he was “Jameis”. Let’s start with a gangly high school kid.
CHAPTER ONE – AN INCREDIBLE KID
Jameis Winston first came to my attention as a recruit. Full disclosure, I am a rabid Florida State fan. Some of you will stop reading right there but I hope you keep going. I follow recruiting, and there was a buzz about Winston well before he stepped on a college campus. He was the number one rated quarterback according to rivals. But the legend of Jameis starts even before that. A football prodigy, he was taking detailed notes on how to be a quarterback as early as middle school. This story is well documented, but he not only broke down how to beat a cover four defense, he also began listing the characteristics of a good quarterback. This list included leadership, dedication, and mental toughness, all attributes that described him then, and during his college career. Jameis was such an elite prospect, that he was invited to participate in the prestigious Elite 11 Quarterback Camp which is run by Trent Dilfer. Joke about his career all you want in Tampa and Baltimore, but he has become an amazing teacher. Alumni of the Elite 11 include Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Troy Smith. In other words, these kids go on to be big deals in college, and frequently in the NFL. Let’s see what Dilfer had to say about a young Winston, who would go on to win the competition,
Right off the bat let’s knock down one of the complaints about Jameis Winston. He’s stupid. Trent Dilfer recognized when he was 17 that Jameis is not stupid. His biggest strength is his brains on the field. Off the field, he was an academic all american at Florida State. People call him stupid for three reasons: Their own ignorance, his actions off the field (which we’ll get to) and the way he talks. Speaking of the way he talks….
CHAPTER TWO – BRINGIN THAT SWAG BACK
Even though Jameis was admitted to Stanford, the second toughest college to get into in the country, when anyone hears him talk they assume he’s dumb. All you have to do is search twitter for tweet after tweet about how stupid he is. Even AJ McCaron’s mom felt the need to weigh in after one of his post game interviews. And for the definition of irony, Winston just took a wonderlic test, a test the NFL uses to measure aptitude and problem solving. He scored a respectable, slightly above average 27. McCarron scored a 22. There are numerous instances of people hating on Winston for being dumb, and numerous examples of him proving he’s not. Not all of Winston’s interviews are cringe worthy. In fact, some of them are impressive, and display humility and leadership. It’s one of his interviews that caused me to fall in love with him. FSU just finished demolishing the number 2 ranked Clemson Tigers on national tv. Winston had a banner day. A day that cemented him firmly in the Heisman hunt. But he didn’t want to talk about himself…
That’s exactly what you want from your quarterback. How can you listen to that as a teammate of his and not want to run through a brick wall for him?
CHAPTER THREE – OFF THE FIELD
Jameis Winston has made some mistakes. He has had a handful of interactions with police officers, but it is important to note that he has never even been CHARGED with a crime. There were two instances with bb guns on campus. A large portion of the team had a “war” and there was some damage done to windows. Although Winston was never shown to have fired or even held a bb gun, he is the only name you ever hear of in connection with these events. The other instance was apparently a squirrel hunting incident. Both times, Winston was never proven to have done anything himself. Then there is “Burger King Gate”. Apparently, he was using a water cup to steal soda and the police were called. I say apparently because once again he wasn’t identified. The manager who called the cops said there were three teenagers around 6 feet tall. Winston is 6’4 at least. It could be a mistake, or maybe he did steal soda. Speaking of stealing, Jameis also stole crab legs from Publix. 32 dollars worth to be exact. He claims that he simply forgot to pay. If you watch the video of him leaving Publix, this does seem possible. He could have just forgotten. At no point is he acting sneaky or even speeding up. This is pure speculation, but I think it could just be a hook up gone wrong. But, regardless, he was wrong and he was punished. Everything I just mentioned could be chalked up to youthful mischief. If we’re all honest, we’ve done worse than these things. But unfortunately for Winston, it will never be this cut and dry, and that’s because the world sees him, and the media portrays him, through a particular lens.
CHAPTER FOUR – THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THAT DRINK
Jameis Winston was accused of rape by Erica Kinsman in December of 2012. Enough words have been written about this incident already. I highly encourage you to check out this page with a VERY in-depth investigation. There are many holes in her allegations which I won’t address. All I want to talk about is the way the media has portrayed this story. Check out this excerpt.
The New York Times has devoted enormous resources to covering this controversy – more than 40 articles, including a 5,200-word piece by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich — probing the legal processes that have cleared Winston. But the newspaper’s coverage has been characterized by the same selective and agenda-driven presentation of the facts it faults Florida authorities for exhibiting. The accuser, anonymous until last month, has now publicly identified herself and told her story in “The Hunting Ground.” Her name is Erica Kinsman. In her version of events, she was not only raped by Winston but also mistreated by her university and the criminal justice system in order to protect a nationally famed athlete. This is what The Times‘ coverage would lead readers to believe. But The Times has excluded a large body of evidence that undermines Kinsman’s credibility and supports Winston. Among the facts that The Times has never acknowledged are Kinsman’s shifting accounts, starting with the original, recorded phone report to campus police. In that call, a friend of Kinsman’s reported that Kinsman said she was hit in the back of the head, blacked out, and found herself being raped by a stranger. A sexual assault nurse’s medical exam hours later showed no sign of a blow to the head, according to the nurse’s report, and Kinsman never repeated that claim. She now suggests she never said she had been hit. The evidence suggests otherwise. The Times has never reported the significant conflicts between her versions of events and the physical evidence. It has never reported the facts casting doubt on her claim that her decision to go with Winston from a bar where he says they danced together to his apartment was involuntary and forced by fear.
And, to me, most importantly.
Bogdanich strongly implied near the top of his 5,200-word article that Kinsman had been drugged—but he did not mention the fact that police toxicology reports had found no evidence of any known drug in her system .
Did you catch that? A pulitzer prize winning writer implied that she was drugged. The tox screens came back totally negative for any drug. Then the accuser’s lawyer made them do another test which also came back negative. Her blood alcohol level was .0048 which means she could have legally driven. But yet multiple articles, and even a documentary starring her, state the opposite. In any write up you see about the documentary she’s in (like this one) you will see her claiming with certainty that she was drugged. Yet most of these “news” outlets fail to tell you the truth. She’s lying. Why would the media do this? This, again, is speculation, but the answer is money. People need monsters, as my buddy and future STATE-LINES contributor Shawn recently posted on his Facebook. If you create a villain, you can bring attention. And with attention come clicks and eye balls, and that’s what the media wants. They don’t want you to know the truth. They want to make money.
CHAPTER FIVE – JUST ONE ARTICLE
The article I referenced above, from the Washington Post, is a great article to reference. Keep in mind, this is only one article, but it is written so amazingly slanted in Kinsman’s favor that it’s no wonder people are certain that Winston is a rapist. Here are some things that I think are of note.
“Erica Kinsman, 20, waived her right to remain anonymous by choosing to speak out in the chilling new documentary.” Note the tone. She bravely waived her right to anonymity. Nothing is said of the fact that multiple bodies have found her less than credible.
“”I’m totally certain something was in that drink,” Kinsman said, who revealed she did not realize Winston was the star freshman quarterback on FSU’s football team” We’ve covered this already. It’s a blatant lie and the article does not point it out. While it is true that Winston was a celebrated recruit, he was hardly a star. In fact he didn’t even play. The article is already placing Winston as a star who received deferential treatment.
“Kinsman later recalls winding up in cab with Winston and two other men, which she describes as “uncharacteristic” behavior for her.” She describes it as that. Nevermind the fact that she was ALLEGEDLY part of a group called cleat chasers.
“She said the roommate, who she does not identify, pleaded with Winston to stop and noted Klinsman was saying “no.”” The article fails to point out that the roommate, Ronald Darby, has testified ON RECORD a totally different story, and of course, one that backs Winston up.
“The Tallahassee police did nothing for 10 months, and when they did, her claims were greeted with disbelief that ranged from general skepticism to caustic threats.” Read the police reports. The case was delayed because Kinsman didn’t want to pursue it. She even stopped contacting the TPD and demanded they talk to her attorney instead. Maybe that is smart, but don’t pretend you’re not the one causing the delay.
“The film showed death threats she received, as well as clips of ESPN’s “First Take” hosts Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith defending Winston when the allegations first surfaced. They both defended Winston, calling Kinsman’s allegations “terribly unfair,” while noting the timing of the investigation “stinks.” This is just stupid. The media has been all over Winston, and the things said about him on the internet, and the volume, I would guess make hers pale in comparison. Again the article does not mention this.
“I think I didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove that (Winston) sexually assaulted (Kinsman) against her will,” Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs said in an interview after the film’s producers ask him if he believes a sexual assault occurred. “I think what happened was not good.” This is the quote that was used from SAO Willie Meggs, and it completely ignores his other quotes about finding her not credible.
“Kinsman’s case is just one of several that “The Hunting Ground” highlights in making its point that sexual assault is more prevalent on college campuses — and within athletic departments — than most college administrators would like people to believe.” This may be true. But why make her case the bell cow for your documentary, and then leave out so much evidence? What does that say about the rest of the film?
There are MANY other articles out there that use these same shaky, if not unethical, reporting techniques. Here is another one, on “recent developments”, broken down.
CHAPTER SIX – HOW GOOD IS HE?
Hopefully the text above has made you think differently about Winston, or at least how he is portrayed. So now the question for my fellow Tampa fans is should the Bucs draft him. Well, as you can tell, I feel comfortable with his character off the field. He has certainly made some immature mistakes, but I think as a college student that’s to be expected. His character on the field is top notch. He is a fiery leader. Players gravitate to him. The best comparison in the NFL is honestly Tom Brady. You could see him screaming at a receiver or linemen, and then in the next minute happily congratulating them after a big score. That’s what I want in a leader. How good is he? Pretty dang good. In my opinion, and Todd Mcshay’s, he is just behind Andrew Luck as the second best prospect in 10 years. Did he throw too many interceptions last year? Of course. But many of those can be directly attributed to his inexperienced receivers (Outside of Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary) and very, very poor play from his center for half of the year. Did you catch the Gruden quarterback camp with Winston? He noticed that Winston threw a ton of picks when forcing the ball to Greene.
And Winston is too nice to mention it, but he had to force it to Greene all too often. His other receivers were cutting routes off and dropping balls. A much more accurate display of Winstons ability is 2013 when he was throwing to three NFL quality wide receivers. How did that year play out? With a Heisman and a national championship.
CONCLUSION – DO YOU DRAFT WINSTON FIRST OVERALL?
Yes. He has the character on and off the field that you want, despite what the media would have you think. And he’s the best player available. Draft him, and watch the wins pile up.