As an athlete, Jameis Winston is one of the best in the country. He plays both football and baseball for the Florida State Seminoles, but most people know Winston for his work last year on the gridiron, where he quarterbacked FSU to a perfect 14-0 season at a mouth-watering 11-3 against the NCAAF lines. That was enough to make Winston the first freshman ever to be awarded the Heisman Award.
Unfortunately, that’s not all Winston is known for. He’s been a lightning rod for controversy pretty much since Day One, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Winston’s name has come up yet again in connection with a rape case that originally saw him facing felony charges. He was expected to appear at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for two of his teammates: DE Chris Casher and DE Ronald Darby.
Quarterback Currently Unavailable
One problem with that: Winston is in North Carolina, where the ACC baseball tournament is underway. And according to his attorney, Winston was never asked to attend Tuesday’s hearing, where Casher and Darby were expected to answer for their roles in the alleged December 2012 attack. A woman accused Winston of sexually assaulting her at an off-campus apartment in Tallahassee, but the state attorney, Willie Meggs, ruled this past December that there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges.
Casher and Darby were Winston’s roommates at the time. They’re not accused of rape, but they do face five charges of violating FSU’s code of conduct, including “conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person” and “acts that invade the privacy of another person.” In addition, Casher has been charged with “recording of images without consent.” The two claimed that they saw Winston and the accused having sex, and that they believed it was consensual.
In theory, Winston could also be expelled for violating FSU’s code of conduct. Florida State has been accused of not making a proper investigation into the matter, as required by Title IX. The Department of Education is now looking into the matter, and if they call for a new investigation, Winston could find himself facing discipline. He refused to co-operate with the initial probe and has refused to speak about the incident, on the advice of his lawyers.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles could lose two of their better defenders. Darby was the 2012 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, and was expected to be starting again this season after making two tackles at the National Championship Game against the Auburn Tigers. Casher was also in the starting mix for 2014; he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but he blew out his knee and had to redshirt the 2012 campaign.
Winston did end up getting suspended by the Seminoles this month – the baseball team, that is. He was famously caught trying to shoplift $33 worth of seafood from a local grocery last month. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Winston ordered “three pounds of steamed crab legs with Old Bay seasoning and one pound of steamed crawfish with Cajun seasoning,” then left the store without paying. Winston apologized for his conduct and was re-instated to the baseball team after completing 20 hours of community service.
This isn’t Winston’s first food-related incident. Earlier reports have Winston accused by a Burger King employee of stealing soda. Also, in 2012, Winston and Casher admitted to having been in a series of “battles” with other FSU players, after Tallahassee police found BBs and damaged windows at their apartment suite. No charges were filed in either incident, but again, this could all come back to haunt Winston if the school ever decides to drop the hammer.