Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jameis Winston Fallout

I wrote yesterday on my Colts-Noles blog re: the Jameis Winston controversy. My seemingly unpopular opinion--if you look at and a few Nole-related FB pages--has only intensified since last night's knuckleheaded decision by the FSU Administration to extend Jameis' punishment.

In case you weren't watching or listening this week, Jameis' antics in the FSU Oglesby Student Union on Tuesday were tweeted about by fellow students. The next morning, the Heisman quarterback was making national headlines for repeating a vulgar phrase from a viral Internet video. It was a laughable "offense" that got many folks up in arms. It was college high jinks, captured on social media. There was no crime to be punished. There were no cries from students to have him removed from campus, the team OR the game, and yet, in recent NFL fashion, the powers that be decided his suspension from the Clemson game should be complete, reversing course on their earlier decision to only hold him out of the first two quarters.

Let me reiterate that THERE WAS NO CRIME committed. No one was hurt. The students who tweeted the incident were probably laughing at him. No authorities were involved--not the FSU Police Department, not the Tallahassee Police, not FDLE, not even a local crossing guard! So where is the punishment coming from? Perceptions? Do-gooders who have nothing better to complain about? An FSU Admin desperate to make themselves relevant?

So many have chimed in about Jameis Winston's character, his immaturity, his poor judgment and his lack of humility and sense. But let's really look at Jameis' decision-making. First, he CHOSE to come here. He put in brutal two-a-days, grueling workouts for TWO SPORTS (not just football) and has excelled at BOTH! He's brought plenty of attention, good and bad, to the University. The good has come with plenty of purse strings attached. Has the bad caused irreparable damage? Have we lost trophies, sponsorships or dollars from his actions? No. And I'm not saying it's all about those things, but to the Administration, those things should weigh pretty heavy. So in their rush to judgment, rush to appeal to the masses, to the media, to social pressure, did they even consider the fallout of a loss tonight? A loss of a potential championship game? The loss of a portion of their fanbase?

For this tried-and-true Nole, the REAL embarrassment is in A) how this whole situation was handled by the University; and B) in their reversing course like we've seen for two weeks in the NFL. Let's face it, they caved to outside pressures instead of handling this in-house with some tact and grace.

That was my problem from the beginning of this whole mess on Tuesday. Call Jameis in, handle the situation privately, in-house, and get in front of the media circus with a concise, consistent message. Don't let it spin out of control. (Sorry, I worked in PR for a number of years).

Because this stupid incident is in NO WAY RELATED to alleged sexual abuse, shoplifting or BB gun shooting, and yet they've let the media dredge all of that up, tie it in a bundle and submit it as Jameis' resume. Forget the fact that he's been a stellar student in the classroom, a crazy highlight reel phenom on the baseball and football fields and a funny, charismatic, engaging leader on campus. He's not some thug with a long rap sheet, as ESPN has been touting all week. He did his community service "time" for the crab leg theft. No other charges were ever brought against him. So how does cursing on a college campus rise to this level of ridiculous backlash?

The kid has made some poor choices, no doubt. What kid hasn't? And has social media REALLY raised the bar THAT high? That you have to maintain a level of sainthood in college to appease the rich, white establishment? I say let Jameis be Jameis, and allow this whole situation to fade into obscurity. But IF we lose to Clemson? Guess what, FSU leadership? This discussion is NOT going away and the end result will NOT be good for you...for us, as Nole Nation.

My frustration has now risen to the level of disgust. Interim President Stokes has lost my trust and respect. And for the team's sake, I hope she's ready to suit up...because we need her as 3rd string QB!

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