By Billy Perlmutter

bp initialsLet’s face it, we love talking about quarterbacks. Fans, players, media. Everyone. We’ll talk about them when they throw a game-winning TD, when they slip-up at their press conferences, or when they show “bad body language” (looking at you, Jay Cutler).

We’ll even talk about quarterbacks when they’re not talked about. When Robert Griffin III was left off the Washington Professional Football Team’s letter to season-ticket holders, the media had a frenzy, covering the story for over a week.

So, yeah. We love quarterbacks.

With this year’s NFL draft approaching, quarterbacks are, once again, all anyone can talk about; two quarterbacks in particular, both vying for the number one overall pick: Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.

From all accounts, Mariota might as well be a choir boy who turned in his robes for pads. Coming off a Hiesman-winning season, the only question mark that surrounds Mariota are over whether he can adjust to an NFL-type scheme, as opposed to the shotgun, passer-friendly offense he played in at Oregon. Other than that, he’s tall, athletic, fast as hell, smart, and has a good arm. He’s somewhat of a project for whoever that drafts him, but he’ll be a starter in the NFL one day, and a damn good one too.

Winston, on the other hand, well, it’s a little more complicated. He’s another Heisman Trophy winner, and unlike Mariota, he has a National Championship under his belt, winning it his redshirt freshman year.

He has the competitive fire of Tom Brady, the football smarts of Peyton Manning, and the arm strength of Aaron Rodgers. He’s the best prospect since Andrew Luck.

And I still wouldn’t take him number one overall.

In fact, I wouldn’t take him in the top ten.

Depending on my team’s needs, I might not take him in the first round. Here’s why.

Dating back to his days in high school, “character issues” have surrounded Winston off the field. Yet because of his supreme, and sometimes awesome, on-field performances, these problems have been overshadowed, swept under the rug, as if everyone is saying, “Yeah, we know there’s some stuff in his past, but did you see that out-route he threw the other day?! Unbelievable!!!” 

Speaking of crap, it’s time for all of us to cut it. This guy has some issues.

But, wait. These numbers that everyones talking about, they can’t be that good, right? (Actually, they are.)

He won the Heisman his first year starting, threw for 40 touchdowns that same season, completing 67% of his passes, in what was one of the most dominant seasons we’ve seen from a quarterback this century. Winston also played two years of baseball at Florida State, where he was a closer, maintaining a 1.08 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in 24 appearances last season.

Simply put, he’s an athletic freak.

So we’ve looked at his numbers and his accolades. OK. Pretty impressive. Hard as it may be, let’s look past them for a moment.

  • In November 2012 Winston and his roommates engage in a BB gun fight on a school bike bath. Police arrive and pull their guns out Winston and Co. Later that night, Winston and the same two other players part take in yet another BB – and pellet – gun fight, this time in their apartment, resulting in $4,000 dollars of damage. Charges are not pressed after the FSU athletic department steps in, and vows this sort of incident won’t happen again. This will become a common theme in Winston’s history.
  • Two weeks after the BB gun incident, in December 2012, Winston is accused of raping a woman at his off-campus apartment. The woman calls the police the day of the incident, calls a detective five weeks later after she didn’t think enough was being put into the investigation, and identifies Winston as her attacker. Tallahassee police later drop the investigation, claiming the woman refused to cooperate in the investigation. (This is the same woman who called the police the day of the attack, and called a detective identifying her assailant? Oh, it is? OK, just making sure.)
  • The investigation is re-opened nine months later in August of 2013, this time sent to State Attorney Willie Meggs. (Am I the only one who finds it somewhat humorous that the State Attorney of Florida goes by “Willie”?) A new investigation is launched under Meggs’ watch, and he finds that there is not enough evidence present to charge Winston. The lawyers of Winston claim that the encounter was consensual, thus admitting that the two did have sex.

So in December of 2012, Winston has a sexual encounter with this woman, that same day she goes to the police saying she was raped. She also went to the hospital for testing with a rape kit. Five weeks later, she calls a detective. Later, charges are dropped. Following public outrage, the State Attorney finds not enough evidence is present to press charges.

  • After the investigation by Meggs, the U.S. Department of Education steps in, launching a federal investigation on Florida State, over whether or not FSU handled the December 2012 incident correctly.
  • Then, in August 2014, nearly two years post-incident, after a county police department investigation, after an investigation by the State Attorney, and after a freaking investigation by the Federal Government, Florida State University finally launches their own public investigation against Winston, on whether he broke the student code of conduct, December 7, 2012. (It took them two years to realize, “Hey, this is a student of ours, maybe we should look into this?”)
  • Rewind a little from August, back to May 20, 2014, where Winston is expected at a code-of-conduct hearing, in which his teammates, who were alleged witnesses to part of the incident, will testify. Jameis Winston is nowhere to be found. He blows it off.
  • Now, to September of 2014, when Winston is still under investigation by the school for sexually assaulting another student, he jumps on a table, on campus, in a crowded student-section and screams an explicit, profanity-laced phrase made popular by the internet, “Fuck her right in the pussy!” Yeah, he says that. Under investigation and all, he still decides to say that.
  • Winston is later found to not have broken any code-of-conduct rules by Florida State.

I don’t know if Jameis Winston did or did not rape that woman on the night of December 7, 2012. I don’t know and I’m not sure any of us will ever know. There are different stories that have been disputed by different lawyers who represent different witness who all have different interests. There’s a lot of variations to a story that we will most likely never sort out.

Something we do know, though, is that in September of 2014 Jameis Winston was, quite publicly, under investigation for sexual assault. I knew it. You knew it. And most importantly, Winston knew it. Regardless, he decided to stand up on a table, and shout a vulgar, offensive, phrase, probably just to impress a few friends.

In between the various investigations, Winston was accused of stealing some soda, and stealing some crab legs, which just shows how entitled he thinks he is.

You’ll hear throughout the coming months leading up to the NFL Draft that Winston has had some “immaturity issues” and will have to “work on those” to become a better NFL quarterback.

Well, I’ve got news for you.

Jameis Winston doesn’t have an immaturity problem, he has an intelligence problem. One that might not be fixable.

Whether it’s the minor shoplifting incidents, the BB gun scenes, or the sexual assault investigations, Winston has shown a continuous pattern of not being able to learn from his mistakes. That worries me.

And once he gets drafted on April 30, most likely with the first pick, why should we expect him to change? All that’ll be different is he’ll have more money and more free time on his hands.

At least he’ll be able to pay for his crab legs.

Filed under: Billy Perlmutter, NCAA Football, NFL

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