I feel like I need to address the Jameis Winston Story of the Day because I am the only Florida State alumnus many of my readers know, and I want to get a few things clear.
As the story broke Tuesday afternoon* about the latest dumb thing the 20-year-old has done, I immediately reacted one way – with embarrassment. In the past, I was quick to defend his screw-ups because the world was out to get our star quarterback and turn him into a villain.
Not anymore. I’m too exhausted from defending him in the past to do it again, especially when there really wasn’t a defense for his latest misstep.
I’m never going to work for the New York Times. I’m never going to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and neither will most of you. So for me, graduating from a university just might be the most prestigious club of which I’ll ever be a member.
Why shouldn’t I be upset when the most public member of my university is constantly making an ass of himself?
He will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Clemson – a punishment some felt was too lenient. Some want him to miss the entire game, but what would that prove in place of a first-half suspension? Head coach Jimbo Fisher is already making a statement that the outcome of this rivalry game isn’t as important as straightening out one player, so why sit him for all 60 minutes?
I’m not going to stress over the suspension or how long it’ll last. The kid has fully earned the right to be suspended from play, and if it’s the one thing that gets him to realize he needs to make better decisions in his life, it’s worth it.
Already, talking heads are saying they wouldn’t draft him to play for their NFL team. A year ago, it was all but guaranteed he’d be the No. 1 pick whenever he went pro.
But for me, this isn’t about his draft stock, or even whether the Seminoles win on Saturday night. This is about a person, one person, making everyone who has ever walked on that campus look bad. And that needs to stop.
Every time he messes up, we hear him say the same things. “I can’t keep doing this.” “I have to learn from my mistakes.” “I told my teammates and myself that it’ll never happen again.”
At some point, this guy needs to put his words into action and start growing up. We’re tired of seeing his name in the news, because it’s never for good things.
And while it isn’t all about me – he’s a kid with a long, (hopefully) prosperous life ahead of him, so he needs to figure it out for his own sake – it’s no longer possible to explain for a star player who does really dumb things really frequently.
Get it together, kid. We all need you to be a better human being, and it has nothing to do with wins and losses.
* I didn’t link to the story because it’s both highly-publicized and extremely vulgar, but if you need a reference, you can find it on Deadspin.com