Jameis walks

AP Photo/John Raoux
AP Photo/John Raoux

There should be a sense of joy the moment you realize your alma mater is going to play for a national championship.

That wasn’t the case for me today when Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston learned – at the same time as the rest of the world – he wouldn’t be charged following an investigation into allegations he raped a young woman last December. For all intents and purposes, the news meant the Seminoles will be going to Pasadena next month to play for a national title (assuming they beat Duke this weekend, as most people already have – and I apologize for the cockiness).

So I was relieved, though not because of the media circus that surrounded the news. The press conferences that followed were embarrassing, both for the university and the city of Tallahassee, and if you watched either, you know what I’m talking about.

To my fellow FSU faithful, I say this – don’t let anyone from any other fan base tell you you’re wrong to continue cheering for Winston to do good things on the field. If the same situation occurred to Sammy Watkins, Clemson fans would have rallied around him this afternoon, and if AJ McCarron were cleared of rape charges today, you know the Alabama Nation would have come out to show their support.

Those aren’t shots at those two schools, either, they’re just two examples. Any schools could be used to prove that point and it would be equally as true.

When Winston was cleared of charges and the case was closed this afternoon, I felt no joy in the news, but there was a sense of relief. All along, something about the allegations didn’t seem to line up, and maybe that was my own bias telling me so. Jameis really did seem different from all the other charming athletes who have let us down in the past by committing crimes or showing their true character in time.

Maybe he still is the genuine guy we got to know on and off the football field this fall, but some people will never give him that chance again. In our fan base, we can still have hope that he resumes his role as team leader this Saturday when he has the chance to lead the Seminoles to a repeat of the ACC Championship.

But today was not about football. We can worry about the Heisman and the BCS another day.

Perhaps that’s why the sinking feeling didn’t go away, even after the good news was read.

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