It started with a rape accusation, and the next step for many national media news outlets was as cloudy as what happened that night in that bedroom.
Did they do their investigating from afar, or did they camp out in Tallahassee? When they filed their FOIA requests, did they ask for thousands of emails from university officials or the police?
Whatever they did to investigate the Jameis Winston rape accusations, it didn’t result in Pulitzers or groundbreaking new findings. So they had to move on to other means of convincing the public that Winston is bad news.
Tell sports fans – who are the easiest humans to mold on the planet, dragging them whichever direction they want with relative ease, at least in terms of their opinions on athletes – that a college kid stealing sips of soda or a few crab legs is akin to raping an innocent girl. Assign an intern to camp out on Twitter all day, searching Winston’s name, just in case some fellow students tweet about him misbehaving on campus.
(Also read: Meet Bryan Allen, the guy who ratted out Todd Gurley)
Devote nonstop coverage to Winston while doling out hot take after hot take online, reminding everyone that Florida State is letting this kid run roughshod all over the university and everything it stands for. When Jimbo Fisher, Winston’s head coach, suggests that he knows something none of these reporters know about Winston’s ongoing investigation into the rape for which he was never even charged, write another article convincing sports fans that he’s a part of the cover-up.
Send your best sports business expert to convince the public there’s no doubt Winston was paid for his signature. Get your legal analyst to tell the world Winston would be better off quitting instead of fighting all these ridiculous allegations. Have a former NFL executive tell sports fans no NFL team would want Winston.
Hell, even dispatch a writer who was famously so horribly wrong about everything in the rape case involving Duke Lacrosse so she can write nearly the same thing about another college athlete, because sports fans are too dumb and blinded by their own Jameis outrage to remember that.
Let’s just assume for a second that nothing I just wrote is the truth and is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. However, if the sports media did want to bring down a 20-year-old controversial college football player, let me ask you this one question:
What would they do differently than they did in this situation?
At this point, they’re taking a book out of the FBI and Al Capone – he might get away with murder, but we’ll bring him down on tax evasion. With Jameis, it’s more like BB guns and autographs, but the media’s methods have been much the same.
Not that Jameis is Al Capone by any means – the only thing on his rap sheet, believe it or not, is the crab-leg-shoplifting incident.
I’ve made no secret on this site or elsewhere that I’d fully support Fisher getting rid of Winston today if he knew something the rest of us didn’t, and he felt it was too much to defend. So far, that’s not the case, and the university hasn’t buckled under the weight of Winston’s missteps either.
So the hot takes will keep coming, and the college football world will keep spinning, even as sportswriters try to convince you that Jameis Winston is the black hole who could be a threat to us all.
Above all else, I hope the kid cleans up his act and becomes the good person we all want him to be. It’s exhausting being an FSU fan these days with all the bad news, so I hope we’re done with negative stories, for Winston’s sake.
Sports fans love to feast on a villain, but they love a comeback story even more.