Jameis Winston gestures to the crowd after his Florida State team beat Miami on Nov. 15, 2014.
Florida State star Jameis Winston is the latest athlete to become something of a sports-media meme, joining LeBron James and Johnny Manziel as a player whose every action is hyper-scrutinized and often over-criticized.
But dang, the guy sure doesn't help his cause.
USA Today got a hold of Winston's full statement to Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding, which comes from a student conduct code hearing to determine whether the player violated Florida State's honor code the night he allegedly sexually assaulted a former fellow student in December 2012.
In his statement, Winston (or a ghostwriting attorney) gives for the first time his own account of what happened on the night in question. Winston confirms his accuser's account of how they met, how they got around and much of what happened that December night. He denies that anything that happened was anything other than a consensual sexual encounter, however.
Then, at the end of the statement, Winston drops this penultimate paragraph, which features something of a ham-fisted comparison in its second sentence.
Rape is a vicious crime. The only thing as vicious as rape is falsely accusing someone of rape. (NAME REDACTED) and her lawyers have falsely accused me, threatened to sue me, demanded $7,000,000 from me, engaged in a destructive media campaign against me, and manipulated this process to the point that my rights have and will continue to be severely compromised. (NAME REDACTED) and her lawyers' public campaign to vilify me guarantees that her false allegations will follow me for the rest of my life.
Did Winston rape his accuser that December night? We don't know. Was Florida State's initial investigation of the accusation against him bungled and listless? This exhaustive New York Times report from April makes that pretty clear.
A Florida state attorney decided in December 2013 not to file criminal charges against Winston. In the student conduct hearing currently wrapping up, final briefs must be filed to Harding by the end of next week, according to ESPN, after which he will have 10 calendar days to issue a ruling.
It's entirely possible Winston was falsely accused. It's entirely possible he did commit an awful crime. We don't know.
Either way, though, one might hope for a bit more tact from a star athlete months away from his NFL payday. This is, after all, the same guy who earlier this season drew negative attention for climbing onto a table on the FSU campus and yelling the tired Internet meme, "Fuck her right in the pussy!"
That's poor taste for any public figure. But for one whose prodigious athletic gifts have been clouded for more than a year by a rape accusation? It's downright idiotic.
Tags: COLLEGE SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS