And while I know of the evils of big time college football, including many incidents that occurred at FSU, I am still a fan of the team. More than that, I am a fan of its freshman phenom QB, Jameis Winston.
I mean, this young man is not only an amazing football player and athletic talent (e.g., check out his baseball plays on YouTube), but he is also an amazing young man. Read about it here.
So this story that is now one of the lead stories in the nation is deeply troubling. Here is the account from USA Today (as you read it, see if you can find what is fishy about this story):
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Tallahassee Police Department last year received a complaint of sexual battery against Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston.
No charges have been filed against Winston, and the investigation remains active. An attorney representing Winston denied the allegation.
"We've been cooperating with the law-enforcement agencies and we're hoping to get a quick resolution in favor of Mr. Winston," attorney Tim Jansen said Wednesday.
The school said in a statement that Winston's status with the Florida State football team, which he has led to a 9-0 record and No. 2 rank in the Bowl Championship Series standings, has not changed.
The complaint was filed Dec. 7, 2012, according to Tallahassee Police Department reports. The complainant is cooperating with the State Attorney's Office, said Officer David Northway, spokesman for TPD.
"The case is open and active and the victim is working with the State Attorney's Office," Northway said.
Jansen said he was told by Tallahassee police last February, about a week after they first contacted him, that the case had been closed. "I talked to the police officer," Jansen told USA TODAY Sports. "He said the case had been closed. I don't know of any reason for reopening it."
He said he found out Monday that a media outlet had requested relevant police records last Friday.
Jansen said Winston has not been interviewed by police or prosecutors.
Winston's regular weekly media availability was canceled earlier Wednesday. Shortly after the incident report had been released, Florida State issued a statement that said Winston and coach Jimbo Fisher would not address the topic. After practice, Winston spoke with reporters but would only discuss football-related topics.
"We are aware of a matter that was investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department almost a year ago," the school said in a statement. "Because the investigation has not been closed by TPD, we cannot comment further at this time. We look forward to a speedy resolution of the issue. There is no change in Jameis Winston's status."
At the site of his weekly radio show, Fisher did not mention the allegations. But he said of Winston: "I think the world of the young man. Always have."
Jansen said he provided eyewitness affidavits Tuesday to the State Attorney, William Meggs. Though Jansen would not disclose the details of the affidavits, he said, "They're witnesses who were present who can provide vital information."
TPD released an incident report on Wednesday in response to a request from the Tallahassee Democrat for any and all reports related to Winston.
The report, which was heavily redacted, does not mention Winston by name. It says the complaint was received at 4:01 a.m. and the alleged victim said sexual battery occurred earlier in the morning of Dec. 7, 2012, between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. The exact location was not listed, though the report says it happened at an apartment.
The suspect – name listed as "Unknown" – is described as a black male with a muscular build between 5-9 and 5-11 and 240 pounds, with "straight" black hair and brown eyes. Winston is listed by Florida State as 6-4, 228 pounds.
The narrative description from the investigating officer is redacted. The incident report indicated that evidence was collected from the complainant's body. Photos also were taken of the complainant. She told police she had been drinking alcohol "before/during offense."
Georgia Cappleman, chief assistant state attorney, said she can't discuss the case because it's an open investigation.
In a news release sent Wednesday night, Northway said TPD had received several requests from local and national media about the complaint of a sexual battery.
"The case was assigned to the Special Victims Unit," Northway said. "TPD is continuing its investigation and has consulted with the State Attorney as to the direction of the case."
The Democrat on Wednesday morning requested police reports involving Winston. Throughout the day, TPD officials said they were redacting documents in response to the request. At 4:59 p.m., Northway sent an email to a Democrat reporter containing the incident report. Minutes later the police department released the incident report, without reference to Winston, to other media.
Winston is a redshirt freshman and is widely considered the current frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy.
Winston, who grew up in Hueytown, Ala., came to Florida State as one of the top recruits in the nation, choosing the Seminoles over Alabama. He was also rated as one of the top high school baseball prospects and played baseball at Florida State last season.
Despite redshirting last season while E.J. Manuel played quarterback, Winston was considered a future star by Florida State coaches, and he has not disappointed. From his debut in a victory at Pittsburgh in which he completed 25-of-27 passes, his star has only risen. He has passed for 26 touchdowns with only seven interceptions, rising to the top of the Heisman conversation.
Winston has also delivered impressive performances on the Seminoles' biggest stages, leading Florida State to a 51-14 victory at then-No. 4 Clemson and a 41-14 victory against then-No. 6 Miami. Several NFL draft experts project Winston to be the No. 1 overall pick when he is eligible in 2015.
Do you see it? The clear evidence above that this could not have been Winston?
Now, granted, the alleged victim had reportedly been drinking. So perhaps she got the guy's measurements wrong.
But I've seen this too many times before. Look up the case of Delbert Tibbs. Or Ronald Cotton. Or ... there are just so many more of these.
When a suspect does not match the description of the offender, he should not be a suspect. More importantly, the media should do a better job of making this the story rather than smearing someone's good name and character.
Instead, ESPN, which is owned by ABC, runs this headline: FSU QB Winston tied to 2012 sexual assault
"tied to"??? As in did it?
No, in their story, ESPN says "Winston part of investigation" and it notes: "The incident report does not name Winston and describes the offender as being between 5-foot-9 and 5-11. Winston is listed by Florida State as being 6-4."
So why the suggestive headline? And what about that presumption of innocence we supposedly value?
|Does it look like I have straight hair?|