Jameis Winston is going to be suspended by the NFL for the first 3 games of this upcoming season for improper touching, that was how I read it being described, of a female Uber driver last year. This is not the first time that Winston has faced charges of assault, rape, sexual misconduct of any kind with a lady that did not want it. As you all should remember, he got charged with rape while in college. He was also charged with using lewd language while in a dining hall in college. I believe, he has faced similar accusations since joining the NFL. Oh, and he was also charged with stealing food, crab legs, from a grocery store in Tallahassee. His punishment for these many discretions, and these are the only ones that have been made public, have accumulated to, I'm not sure the exact number, but 5 or 6 missed football games, and that includes the 3 that are upcoming.
This is disturbing and disgusting. Jameis Winston clearly has a problem. I'm not one of those people that believe there are "sex addicts", but in Winston's case, he seems to have an addiction to women that want nothing to do with him. This is a problem. But, the powers that be, when he was in high school, college and now the pros, have given him nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
This is part of the problem. Winston continues to do these things because he now knows that he can get away with it, with little to no punishment. When he was charged with rape in college, and yes it was rape, he missed one game. His coaches thought that missing one meaningless game in the middle of November was punishment enough for rape. That is sickening. And, to make matters worse, the game he was suspended for, he dressed and warmed up with the team. It was only when the cameras noticed that Jimbo Fisher finally did something, and told him to get out of his uniform and dress in street clothes. They would both be seen laughing an hugging each other at the end of that game. How is that a lesson? He clearly didn't learn anything because he went out and made the lewd comments in the dining hall, and he shop lifted. The shoplifting I don't care so much about, every kid does that. But, the comments that he made, after being accused of rape, where lewd and scary and wrong. But, FSU felt he served his time, his one game suspension, and did not further discipline him.
Winston went on to win the Heisman that year, then declare for the pros. When he entered the draft, he was the consensus number one pick, even with all these red flags. He was to be the Buccaneers QB of the future. They all but bypassed all the problems he had in college and decided he was the guy that they wanted to lead their team into the future. This upset me. The number one pick in the draft should be a role model, or a really, really good player. They should not have all these allegations and accusations and charges brought up against them. That didn't matter though.
Then, after being the first pick, I had to hear the ESPN's and the NFL GM's praise this kid. They talked about all the hardship and pain he dealt with in college. They put this kid on a pedestal once again, basically recusing him of anything he had done wrong in college. That is scary. I know in college, and I think this is a big time problem that needs to be dealt with, players can get away with almost anything, especially at the big time schools. But, when you are a pro, and this game becomes your job, and you are on TV every Sunday or Monday, and you do commercials and appear on HBO documentary series, you should be held accountable, and know better. Winston clearly doesn't. I'm pretty sure he got accused of some kind of indiscretion his first 2 years in the league, but it was swept under the rug. In fact, HBO heavily featured him as the "leader" on their show "Hard Knocks". The writers built this kid up as some kind of savior in Tampa Bay. He was always shown in a good light, and he was almost always with his girlfriend when he wasn't at practice. At the same time, the big time prognosticators started to talk about him as the future of the QB position. Him, Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, all these young and mobile QB's, were the future. And, when Mariota struggled, and Watson went down with injury, they fully put the spotlight on Winston. Then, he underperformed, and he himself, got hurt. He was then not really heard from until this recent incident.
What surprised me the most was how much this didn't surprise me. I believe when I heard about the improper touching I said, "it was only a matter of time", to no one in particular. The NFL decided they needed to step in, and they did. But, they gave him a 3 game suspension. That is less than what Tom Brady got for some under inflated footballs, and less than Ray Rice was to receive when he knocked his fiancée unconscious. The NFL clearly has a discipline problem. Only 3 games for improper sexual conduct? After all this kid has done in 5 short years that we know about? What the hell NFL?! I even saw Damien Woody, ESPN's own, go on TV and say this suspension is ludicrous, in how miniscule it is. He said, and I agree, that the Bucs should cut him. He has never faced real adversity in his football life, and that should be a big time wake up call. A three game suspension will not teach him anything. He will be on the sideline yukking it up with his coach and teammates the whole time. But, if the Bucs cut him, then he is a player without a team. And, I don't think a ton of teams will be antsy to sign a troubled QB that has had a very sub par career so far. He wouldn't start for any other team. Hell, I would cut him if I were the Bucs and go sign Colin Kaepernick.
This suspension is a joke. The NFL is a joke. They need to get real with this stuff. They need to come down way harder on players like Winston that commit horrific crimes all the time. This is scary and disturbing. Jameis Winston and the NFL think they are above the law. It is time they learn that they are not.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.
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