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

  • Al Jefferson