Jameis Winston is a star quarterback on the field. Off the field, his character and alleged actions have raised a red flag for concern. What’s even more alarming however, is how university officials and local police have reportedly handled these allegations.
According to Fox Sports, Tallahassee police reportedly hindered the Jameis Winston rape investigation from last fall.
“Florida State University officials and Tallahassee police took steps to both hide, and then hinder, the criminal investigation into a rape allegation against the school’s Heisman-trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston last fall, a FOX Sports investigation has found.”
The details of its findings into Jameis include the university’s police chief forwarding the reports of the alleged crime to “a high-ranking administrator in the Florida State athletic department, and within days they ultimately wound up in the hands of Winston’s defense attorney…before [the prosecutor] was notified of the case and launched his own investigation.”
FOX Sports also found, “Two critical witnesses — Florida State football players who said they were present the morning of the alleged assault — discussed the case with Winston’s lawyer and ultimately signed affidavits at his behest backing the quarterback’s version of the incident…before law enforcement officers tried to talk to them about what they saw and remembered.” This kind of interference was labeled “a dramatic road block in the state attorney’s effort to determine whether Winston should be charged with rape.”
The New York Times also released a separate story of university mishandling when it comes to Florida State football players. In one case, a charge of sexual assault was levied against another unnamed Florida State football player, but the report was ultimately dismissed without a proper investigation.
“Officers responding to a domestic violence call have a legal duty to investigate thoroughly, seek written statements from witnesses and from the victim, instruct the victim on how to seek help and, finally, forward their report to the local domestic abuse crisis center. But, according to their brief report on the episode, the officers did none of that.”
These reports have left many to question whether Jameis Winston should be suspended from playing football altogether. Winston had been disciplined weeks earlier for shouting offensive remarks in the school cafeteria. But any further discipline seems unlikely to occur.
Sports – especially college football – is a results driven business. And until Jameis Winston stops performing on the field as he did yesterday as Florida State defeated Syracuse 38-20, these kinds of allegations will continue to generate controversy and lack of trust in the legal system.
[ Jameis Winston photo courtesy USA Today ]