Jameis Winston has been such a fun player to watch this season that at times, I’ve forgotten we may be in a national championship race. All the pressure fans and players usually feel during tense moments seems to drift away when we watch one of the most exciting Florida State teams ever.
But Winston hasn’t faced pressure from police and investigators until now, but it has been far more demoralizing than anything Clemson or Miami sent his way. As Tallahassee Democrat writer Gerald Ensley said, this kind of situation can change a kid forever. A young man we’ve only known as a happy-go-lucky natural leader could soon be charged with a felony.
Saturday, the Seminoles have Homecoming and the Syracuse Orange. Florida State’s looming opponent isn’t so much a team with a 5-4 overall record, but rather the unknown. At any time, sexual assault charges could be brought against Winston and his season would be over. At that point, Florida State could become a sitting duck against one of the worst Florida teams in 50 years and maybe even Duke in the ACC Championship.
So we probably won’t learn much on Saturday afternoon when the ‘Noles take the field. We’ll see a kid enjoying four hours on the field, knowing his life has become hell outside those lines. Whether he’s innocent or guilty, Winston’s life is about to get a lot more hectic, and it has nothing to do with football.
I’ll leave you with this nugget: Isn’t it strange how these year-old allegations suddenly became a big deal on the week when, for the first time, the Seminoles control their own destiny to the BCS Title game? It’s no secret in the South that some Alabama fans are incredibly paranoid and will stop at nothing to keep their team on top, and it’s becoming pretty evident that the ‘Noles are the only threat to the Tide’s three-peat.
It was pretty much the exact same point in the season just three years ago when accusations were levied against Auburn quarterback Cam Newton – charges of accepting large amounts of money to play at Auburn that were deeply investigated and never found to be true.
Perhaps the same people are behind all of these weird cases, and they’re wearing houndstooth hats while they fight to keep their team on top at any cost.