Regardless if Jameis Winston is charged with rape the Seminoles’ QB should be allowed to play

Florida State Seminoles fans hold up signs supporting quarterback Jameis Winston

Photo credit: Melina Vastola

Unfortunately the biggest news on a chilly football Saturday is news about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and what happened on the night in December 2012. The family of the alleged victim has spoken, the Florida State Attorney General has spoken and the attorney for Winston has spoken; the person who has not spoken? Jameis Winston, he has not said a word.

Many think that is a bad thing that Winston has not come out to defend himself or said anything about anything. Actually it is not a bad thing that Winston has not said anything, it is exactly what he is being told to do and should do.

When the police arrest someone, the Miranda Rights are read to the person, not to get into all of what the police officer will say, but the part that is important per this situation is “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of Law.”

The importance of this is that if Winston comes out and has a press conference and says anything, he runs the risk of anything he says being used against him. Just like in life, often times when a person says one thing it could be interpreted by 10 people differently. If Winston comes out and says anything he runs the risk of what he says being taken totally wrong, he also opens himself up to having to answer about what he said if this would go any further than where it is now.

Where the potential case stands now is that the state attorney’s office is weighing whether it believes it has sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Winston. ESPN.com reported that a DNA analysis completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that DNA provided by Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of the woman. According to the DNA analysis report, a copy of which was viewed by ESPN.com on Wednesday, the Florida state crime lab determined the chance of the DNA in the woman’s underwear being a match for someone other than Winston was one in 2.2 trillion.

The Seminoles play a cup cake game this weekend and Winston will most likely be out after the second quarter, after today the games get stronger and a bigger question is, will Winston be the quarterback for the Seminoles the rest of the season?

There is a strong chance even without being convicted of a crime that Winston could be out as the quarterback. There are rules in the Florida State Intercollegiate Athletics Policies and Procedures handbook student-athletes follow and there are rules set by the school.

If athletes do not abide by those rules there are ramifications, regardless if the player is convicted. The big one is with a felony. If a student/athlete is charged with a Felony he/she “will not be permitted to represent FSU Athletics in-game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”

But….before Seminole fans and CFB fans start flipping out; the school also has a loop-hole in said document that if a player is arrested FSU’s policy does include a stipulation that allows the suspension to be waived for “extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration.”

Things may have only just begun legally and may be far from over from a legal standpoint, but in the very immediate future, the Florida State Attorney General’s office will have their hand forced and will need to make a decision whether or not to pursue charges against Winston, especially after the family of the alleged victim came out this week speaking about the DNA results and the case in general. Add to that the response from Winston’s attorney after the results were leaked, which is another story, but another group that will be forced to make a decision about what to do is the decision makers at Florida State University.

Those at FSU, not the football coaches, but the FSU administration, will need to decide if Winston is charged whether or not they will let him play until he is proven innocent or guilty.

This is where I have an issue with all of this. The country most of us live in should protect the innocent until they are proven guilty. Instead, many in this country have lost the grasp of this, especially when it comes to athletes.

What is so hypocritical about this situation and many people’s reactions is how those same people who will be calling for Winston’s head, and FSU Administration’s for letting Winston play if he is charged, not convicted, but charged, would be the same people demanding their right of innocent until proven guilty if they were in trouble and the arrest could lose them their jobs.

The Florida State Attorney General Office is being put in a tough spot and they seem to be forced to rush into a decision because the alleged crime involves someone who has a big name, a superstar, an athlete. Would the Attorney General be forced into making a decision if this was just a “common Joe” in this same situation? Also why would the school not let him play? Why should they have to suspend a player for being changed for a Felony, not convicted?

So now the FSU administration will lose no matter what they do, if in fact Winston is charged. If they let him play they will get, “you are letting him play because he is the starting quarterback on FSU’s #2 ranked football program.” If they do not, they will get, “you are not letting him play and he has not even been convicted of a crime.”

Right now regardless of whether or not Winston did in fact commit this crime, he should be allowed to play the season out even if he is charged with rape. He is innocent until proven guilty. What some in the United States of America have forgotten is what this country is about, especially when it comes to a big name athlete and it’s beyond me why.

If Winston is not allowed to play, if he is charged, there is something seriously wrong with a lot. Even if he did commit this horrendous crime, if he is not convicted by 12 of his peers in a trial he is innocent, innocent people should not lose privileges they have earned by being a citizen in this country because they are a superstar athlete.

 

 

About The Author

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I’m a huge sports fan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Penn State University. I have had the privileged to be an Editor and writer since 1999. I have worked at eight newspapers, co-owned and co-founded a pretty cool music zine FistFullOfMetal. Great to have a chance to be a part of a great Player’s View team and contribute anyway I can to make Player’s View the best site on the net. I also have a Master’s Degree in Psychology from PSU, which oddly helps a lot with writing on sports. I have been working as a counselor at a rehab for six years. I am married, have two great kids who are 15 and 4 years old and a son on the way in March 2014

  • greg reasoner

    I have always believed that if people are innocent until proven guilty then no punishment should happen before it is adjudicated. Sounds like a frat party where drinking was involved and one thing led to another by both people not just him.

  • mike

    this guy should have been arrested and then let him fight the charge. oh thats right he is a qb for a div 1 team who is looking at the national title. we can’t arrest him because then we wont have a chance to win the title. what a joke. that $ss should not be playing. the cops are dragging themselves or are they waiting for the end of the season. cover up!

    • ivan

      You are right this guy should have been arrested AT THE TIME of the infraction (which was Dec of 2012) NOT NOW! The happening occurred before Winston had won the starting QB position from Clint Trickett.

      Not all the truths have been posted about this situation. How about the girl in question being friends with Winston’s girlfriend? There was more in her fb and tweets (probably taken down by now). As well as the attorney representing her being a relative.

      I sure hope no girl eventually ruins you by claiming rape almost a year after the fact. Almost a year after you have worked hard to prove yourself either at work or school or as a qb. If he is guilty then he will and should be punished. However, until then he is innocent until proven guilty by a 12 person jury.

    • tell me how the crow tastes?

      I hope you have the Balls to come back to this site and apologize when this case is dropped… how much of an idiot are you? can you not read between the lines? I wont go into detail; However, this case will be dropped before thanksgiving and all of you who are Judge, Jury, and executioners will be ashamed…wait! no you won’t.. you will cry conspiracy!

    • sports chick

      Of course some people think its a cover up just bc hes a football player, who wasnt even the starter at the time of the alleged incident. Even though the Tallahassee PD might have some problems, they have Never had a problem of arresting Football players or any other athletes! And isnt everyone inocent until proven guilty?

  • ryan

    So, you would have no problem with a police officer under investigation for a serious crime like rape or murder patrolling the streets either. Police officers and fireman are fired everyday for situations similar to Winston’s, many are never convicted of a crime, but still are not allowed to keep their jobs. A few of the cops in the Rodney King beating were never convicted of a crime, should they keep their jobs. Well according to you they all should have been allowed to keep their jobs, at least until they were convicted. Suspend Winston until this case is resolved in a year or two, then if exonerated give him back his playing time via hardship redshirt. Sorry, this case is bigger than college football. The heisman can wait, justice cannot. This article disgusts me.

  • billybuck

    Winston has been found guilty of nothing. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty. Today anyone can make an accusation and some people immediately want you treated as guilty.