Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jameis Winston's Character Concerns

Jameis Winston's character has been one of the biggest news stories of the past two years. He has been an incredible college football player, and despite that, his off the field activities have gotten as much publicity as what he has done on the field. Winston's character concerns have been something on my mind for a while, and as I am getting ready to start scouting the potential QB prospects for the 2015 NFL I draft, I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. 

To start off, most of the things he was accused of or caught doing are just dumb. Is he entitled? Yes, but that's not that shocking. I am sure everyone treats him like a god on that campus; it's not surprising that he has let it go to his head. If I were treated like a god between ages 18-21, I would have been a gigantic prick (I didn't have the benefit of being treated special, and I still did some stupid things that I'm not proud of during this time in my life). It's tough for me to worry too much about the following three acts.

Yes, he stole some crab legs. This is something a young guy does on a dare or just because he thinks he's entitled. Does the sense of entitlement worry me? Considering there is no concern over his work ethic, it's not a long-term concern for me.

Then he yelled something vulgar on campus. If any other student had done this, people would have laughed/been disgusted and moved on with their day. College students say and yell stupid things. 

The last small event that got way too much publicity was Jameis Winston dressing when he was suspended. This was given the most negative spin, but this could have easily been given a positive spin under the right circumstances. If it were a quarterback with a good image who maybe got suspended for some dumb NCAA rule and he came out to get his team ready for the game, he would be seen as a gamer who even though he wasn't able to play, wanted to do everything in his power to help his team prepare for victory. Since it was Jameis Winston, he is a selfish player who always wants the spotlight. It's not like Winston thought he was going to play if he dressed for the game, but him being out there to run drills can help his team win, so it could pretty easily be conveyed as an unselfish act of him putting the team first.

These acts may be dumb, but ultimately, none of these things really matter to me.

Then there is the sexual assault allegation. He's definitely guilty of the other three, but this one that we don't know about is my only concern, and it would definitely haunt me. There is a very good chance that we will never know the truth. I am someone who will gladly ignore things in order for my chosen team to win. I would gladly take steroids users on my team, as I see very little issue in performance enhancing drugs. Still, if the allegation was true, I would rather take a crappier quarterback and lose than win with Jameis Winston.

But as I said, we don't know. On the field, there are some question marks, but they pale in comparison to those question marks off the field. He's one of the two best quarterbacks going into the draft this year, and he has first round talent. But how can you pull the trigger on a guy like that? Can you really go to sleep easy making this guy a millionaire? At the same time, do you feel good about punishing a guy for something you don't know he did? It's probably easier to sleep knowing you let a talent pass through your fingertips because of those concerns, but that doesn't mean he won't be haunting your team down the road.

What would I do? Obviously, if I was with a team, I would talk to him and get all the information I could. But just off of the information I know, I'd draft him if he was the top guy on my board. I believe in innocent until proven guilty, and I'd rather see ten guilty people go free than one person be falsely imprisoned. It's easy to hypothetically say you wouldn't draft the guy, because there is really no downside, and you can look like you value character over results. But honestly, if I did my due diligence and didn't find any damning information, I would take him.

But I'm not sure how well I'd be able to sleep after I did it.

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