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NFL Suspends James Winston for Six Games: Is that fair?

Is Winston's suspension fair?

Add Jameis Winston to the growing list of NFL players who will start out the season suspended. What did Winston do? He allegedly grabbed a woman’s crotch against her will. That’s sickening and reprehensible. This was more than partying that got out of control. We need to call it what it was: sexual assault.

And this isn’t the first time those awful two words have been associated with Winston. He had a history at Florida State of being a disgusting human being, and it seems nothing has changed since college.

Winston Past Incidents?

Nov. 25, 2012: Winston engages in two BB gun incidents. Damage to a Tallahassee apartment complex is reported to be $4,200.

Dec. 7, 2012: Then-Florida State student Erica Kinsman of Zephyrhills reports being sexually assaulted by a man she later identifies as Winston (then an FSU freshman). Winston maintained that the encounter was consensual. A year later, the State Attorney’s office decided not to charge Winston, citing Kinsman’s “problematic” testimony, and a university Title IX hearing found him not responsible of wrongdoing in 2014.

July 2013: A Tallahassee Burger King accuses Winston of stealing a soda, but the manager declines to pursue a criminal case against him. It’s good to be a sports hero!

April 30, 2014: Winston is suspended from FSU’s baseball team after being cited for shoplifting crab legs from Publix. He really stole crab legs? In his defense they are expensive!

Sept. 20, 2014: Winston, a redshirt sophomore, serves a one-game suspension in a prime-time football game against Clemson after making vulgar remarks on campus.

April 16, 2015: Kinsman files a civil suit against Winston from their 2012 encounter. They agree in December 2016 to settle the suit. My question is this: If you did not do it why settle?

March 13, 2016: An Uber driver alleges that Winston groped her in the drive-through of a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz. Winston, coming off his rookie season with the Bucs, denies the allegation, which becomes public through a BuzzFeed report in November 2017. The NFL begins investigating.

Feb. 22, 2017: During a talk to students at St. Petersburg’s Melrose Elementary School, Winston says that boys are supposed to be strong but ladies are “supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.”

June 21, 2018: The NFL will suspend Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after investigating the Uber incident.

Why Did the Bucs Draft, Winston?

That, of course is easy. They only care about winning. You could say that about almost any team, but drafting Winston was beyond a mistake. Who wants a thief in the locker room? Who wants the face of the franchise to have no moral character what so ever?

Plus on top of that, he is not a very good quarterback. He turns the ball over and he’s a poor leader. No redeeming value exists, especially now to keep Winston on the team if you are the Buccaneers.

In Winston’s Defense

The first sexual assault was removed because of a lack of evidence, this past one with the Uber driver was not even reported to the police. My main concern in all of this is that the NFL is becoming the judge, jury, and executioner. My fear is that this will lead to false accusations against players that lead to suspensions when they have done nothing wrong.

The case of Winston is made much harder by his past transgressions. Those transgressions make him an even bigger target for any opportunist looking to make some money from an athlete.

Roger Goodell and the NFL have way too much power here. Every case, in my opinion, should go to trial before punishing a player. In this case, it is just her word against his.

Should He Be Suspended?

I believe he should for the simple fact that he was suspended for six games and pleaded it down to three games. I don’t know about anyone else, but if it’s me and I am falsely accused – I would not plead this down. I would fight it. Especially when you have the history, or should I say, baggage that Winston has.

Final Thoughts

I feel that Winston was a huge risk for any team. The Bucs as an organization deserve a lot of blame here, They knew what they were getting, they took the risk and they have obviously lost. Maybe Winston someday wins them a Super Bowl, but I highly doubt it. My other concern is the NFL has no problem punishing a player even with no conviction, as I stated before. They have opened up a huge can of worms. It could be open season on athletes if it wasn’t already. Way to go NFL.

In the end, my biggest thought is maybe as a professional athlete you should keep your nose clean. Don’t hang out anywhere late at night where you have the possibility of getting into trouble.

Some will say he is being treated this way because society is racist. I say that is a huge load of B.S. Society did not make Winston steal. That’s on him, and while I do believe that an African-American NFL quarterback is under more scrutiny than others, in this case, Winston has no one to blame but himself.

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