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A Bad Trend, Jameis

Nobody has accused him of being smart.

June 22, 2018 - 11:14 am

Smoke started rising yesterday and it’s getting thicker today – the NFL is preparing to suspend Jameis Winston for three games. Multiple outlets are reporting that the suspension is for violating the league’s personal conduct policy as it relates to a 2016 incident in Arizona. While Winston has not been officially informed of the suspension, he reportedly is bracing for it, and it could come as early as today.

You’ll recall that the 2016 incident first became public in November 2017 when Buzzfeed reported that the NFL was investigating Winston for groping a female Uber driver. According to the driver, Winston got into the front seat of her car and was allegedly shouting homophobic slurs at pedestrians. He asked that they stop for food and when they went through the drive through of a Mexican restaurant, Winston allegedly reached over and grabbed the driver’s crotch and kept his hand there for three to five seconds.

Again, all of this is alleged and the league has been investigating it. Winston’s friend and former FSU teammate, Ronald Darby, said that he was in the car and the incident did not happen, but according to reports, the league’s investigation revealed that he was not in the car the entire time. 

Initially, the thought was that Winston was not being suspended for the incident, but was being suspended for failing to report the incident. However, Rick Stroud who covers the NFL and the Buccaneers for the Tampa Bay Times, tweeted: ‘Winston will be suspended for violating the NFL's player conduct policy and not for failure to report the incident.’

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo followed that up with: ‘Told same on the impending Jameis suspension. Nothing to do with failure to report.’

Look, I don’t know what Jameis Winston did or did not do. Just as, at the moment, we don’t know what Jameis is or isn’t being suspended for. 

He may be innocent. Maybe he didn’t do what he’s been accused of.  

But certainly nobody has accused him of being smart. Or of learning from his past mistakes. And there’s quite a list. There was the rape allegation and civil suit in college, standing on a table and shouting an offensive phrase in public, stealing crab legs, and now this. Not only is he not learning from past incidents, he’s continuing to do variations of them. Allegedly. 

I do not know what did or did not happen in the car that night. But I also know that I have done a lot of takes on Jameis Winston that include phrases like “I do not know what he did or did not do” and “I do not know if he did what he’s been accused of doing.” Too many times I’ve had to use the word “allegedly” as it relates to Jameis Winston. Too many times I’ve had to use the words “reportedly” or “investigators” or “investigation” as it relates to Jameis Winston. And that’s not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. 

Not only is it not a good sign, it’s a bad trend. Does that mean that he’s guilty in this situation? No. But it does mean that he’s consistently found his way into bad situations time and time again. Either he’s the unluckiest guy in the world or there’s something going on here. And he really isn’t changing in the ways that people hoped or expected.  

There were questions about him in college, there were questions about him coming out of college, and now there are questions about him again. And he never really has very good answers.

And if nobody inside the Bucs organization has questions about Winston, that's a problem, too. I get that a team and organization would want to have their guy's back, but at a certain point, they have to be wondering if this is the right guy to back. 

If it was all about stealing crab legs and then he got caught stealing lobster claws, we’d all shake our heads, and say, what a dummy. Will this guy ever learn? But this is now the second allegation of assault. And if the suspension is really for more than just failing to report, that’s very, very concerning because that would point to the league believing the driver’s claim. In other words, it wasn’t a paperwork issue or a failure to report, it was improper conduct or worse.

Maybe he didn’t do anything wrong here. But the problem is, he has a history and that history is becoming his present, and that present is becoming a problem. Again.