Sunday, May 20, 2018
Colleges

No joke, Jameis Winston needs better judgment

What in the name of Fred Biletnikoff is going on up there in Tallahassee?

Goodness gracious. You mean there isn't one shady booster in town who could've slipped Jameis Winston some crawfish and crab legs?

Let's go, FSU. If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'.

How 'bout Burt Reynolds? He hasn't done anything interesting since Boogie Nights. Seems like he could have had some free time to swing by Publix.

Bobby Bowden? Dagnabbit, Bobby, "retirement'' doesn't mean "dead.'' Get out there. Do something. Our Heisman Trophy winner needs some cocktail sauce.

And what about Winston himself? What's the point of being the starting quarterback if you can't order the third-stringer to do your dirty work? Forget carrying my shoulder pads, freshman, go steal me some sushi!

Oh, and if it was me and I was stealing something from Publix, it wouldn't be crab legs. It would be fried chicken. Nobody makes better fried chicken than Publix. Just saying.

Okay, so we're all having a bit of fun at the expense of Winston. The Seminoles quarterback was busted for using a five-finger discount to walk out of Publix with $32.72 worth of seafood.

But, really, it is no laughing matter.

This is troubling.

Come on, Jameis, what are you doing? What were you thinking?

First off, no one is buying the "I forgot to pay'' excuse.

Please. Who goes into a store and forgets to pay?

Winston remembered that he wanted seafood for dinner. He remembered that Publix has seafood. He remembered how to get to Publix and how to go inside and how to pick it up.

He remembered everything except for the part where you pay for it. You would think that walking past the cash registers would have jolted his memory.

Ever go into a store looking for something in particular only to find out the store doesn't have it? You wish you had a bullhorn to announce to everyone why you're walking out empty-handed. So walking out with stuff seems unbelievable.

I know what many of you — particularly those with Seminoles bumper stickers on your cars — are thinking.

What's the big deal? It's just some harmless kid play. Why is everyone making a big deal out of this?

You're thinking that if this was the backup tight end or walk-on punter, no one would care.

And you're right.

But that's the point. This isn't the backup tight end. This isn't some scrub. This is the best football player in the country.

And, like it or not, this is a person with character issues.

When you think of Winston, you can't help but think of last year's nasty allegations of a sexual assault. True, it didn't result in a prosecution. But this also is true: Everyone pretty much agrees that the cops bungled the investigation. Some still have doubts about what happened.

Because of that, Winston must be on his very best behavior, even when doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.

There also have been a couple of other minor incidents: taking too much soda from a Burger King and getting in a BB gun fight and causing $4,200 worth of damage.

Seems small, almost silly, but add it on top of everything else and you just get a queasy feeling.

If I'm FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher, I'm worried about Winston. If I'm an NFL scout, I'm worried about Winston.

I don't trust Winston's decision-making. I don't trust his critical-thinking skills. I don't trust his character.

Simply put: I don't trust Winston.

What might he do next?

Don't give me this garbage that he's only a kid. A 20-year-old knows right from wrong. A first-grader knows it's wrong to steal.

I would suggest that Winston reads the statement that he put out. (I say that because I don't believe he actually wrote it.) In it, he says he realizes he is in the public spotlight and that his conduct needs to be above reproach. He says he must realize that his mistakes are magnified and bring greater embarrassment.

All of that is absolutely correct.

Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is dealing with questions about his off-the-field behavior and could see his draft stock drop because of it. And I don't find anything that Manziel did to be as eye-raising as Winston.

In fact, speaking of Johnny Football, wasn't it Winston who told reporters to smack him upside the head if he ever acted like Manziel off the field?

Well, here's your smack upside the head, Jameis.

Stop showing up in the papers for all the junk you do off the field and let us celebrate all of your achievements on it.

Time to grow up. Time to act like all eyes are watching you. Time to behave like a Heisman Trophy winner and a man who could have the world in the palm of his hand if he stops acting like a dummy.

Oh, and one final thought, this one for Gators fans: Try not to be too smug about Winston and FSU. Last I checked, no one from FSU is sitting in jail facing murder charges.

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