TAMPA — And here you thought those garbage pails around training camp fields were just for players to throw up in.
The electric light parade of Jameis Winston well-meaning apologists is off and marching, to the same tune, as the Bucs have reported to training camp. Having their suspended quarterback's back seems to be front and center. Unfortunate.
"Oh, we support him fully," Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet said. "Again, as corny as it is. we are one family. When one of us is down, we've got his back."
And there was Bucs star receiver Mike Evans.
"That's my boy, one of my best friends," Evans said. "Obviously, I was hurt by it. But we've been going to war together for three years, it will be four years now. Missing those first three games … that's it. Stuff happens."
And there was Bucs linebacker Lavonte David:
"He's disappointed himself for doing that," David said. "It was just an unfortunate situation. No matter what, we got his back. We had his back from the beginning and we're going to continue to have his back. Just a silly mistake back in the day. Just a silly mistake. He knows it. We all know it. But we got his back,"
He always wants to do things right?
Just a silly mistake?
Wednesday was embarrassing. I'm not sure I can take an entire training camp of teammates having Jameis' back. I'd prefer "no comment" or some tough words. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter could address it today. He could have addressed it Wednesday. but he didn't speak. Nor did Winston. Unfortunate.
Marpet, Evans and David are good men. Yes, they were only answering questions put to them by media. What are they supposed to say? It was still a tough position for them. This is on the Bucs. Winston should have been the one up there. Wednesday was a no-win situation. And no one won.
A silly mistake?
As if Winston was accused of leaving the scene of a fender bender.
As if he had walked out of a Publix with … oh, forget it.
I hope something is at work behind closed doors, like straight talk from teammates whose season has been imperiled by the quarterback's behavior. I hope Evans, whose charity helps fight domestic abuse, is privately enraged at his friend. I'd rather see Evans kneel for the national anthem than stand up for Winston.
I don't want anyone having Winston's back anymore, at least in public. Can't listen to it. His teammates are trying to help Winston, but Wednesday won't help.
Nobody is out to get Jameis Winston, despite those imbecilic "Jameis Against The World" T-shirts that have made the rounds.
He got himself.
Beginning today, it's Bucs against training camp.
Contact Martin Fennelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 731-8029.