I'm a diehard Florida State football fan. I've been a fan since I was a kid.
You can imagine that I had more than a passing interest in the case against Jameis Winston.
Winston is Florida State's 19 year old redshirt freshman quarterback who has led the FSU team to being ranked number 1 in the country. Winston's phenomenal play has led him to being the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Florida State, who is undefeated with 12 wins, is one win away from playing for the national championship game. On December 7th, 2012 a FSU student files a sexual battery incident report with the Tallahassee Police Department after initially contacting FSU Police Department. In January 2013, the complainant identifies FSU redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston as the suspect to Tallahassee police. Tallahassee attorney Tim Jansen, representing Winston, is contacted about the case in February of this year. A week later, Jansen says, he was told by a TPD detective the case was closed. Winston was not interviewed by police or prosecutors. It wasn't until November that the case was reopened after several media outlets had inquired about the case.
On December 5th, it was announced by the district attorney that Winston would not be charged. There is a lot that happened here but I will spare you the details. After reading the police report, you have a 19 yr old female who said that she got into a cab and went to an apartment with Winston and 2 other men. She said she had been drinking and was raped. Winston's attorney said that Winston had consensual sex with the female. His story was backed up by the two men in the apartment, two Florida State teammates. They said that the door was open and they saw the female perform oral sex on Winston then voluntarily take off her clothes and have sex with Winston. At one point, the men said they walked in the room to "embarrass" Winston only to be yelled at by the woman who told them to "get out". The sports world was a buzz when a report leaked that they found Winston's DNA in the woman's panties that night. But they did not report that there was another man's DNA in her panties as well. It was from her boyfriend. This was all found in the report. The district attorney stated that they could not bring forth a case because of inconsistencies in the accuser's story. She had memory lapses and could not remember much of what happened that night.
She has a story.
Winston has a story.
The case took an ugly turn in two separate press conferences. Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, announced the move during a news conference at the Leon County Courthouse. Winston had faced felony charges after being accused of sexually assaulting the woman at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.
"We've carefully examined all the evidence in this case and have concluded that no charges will be filed against anyone in this case," Meggs said.
Meggs began to take questions from the media and things got bad. Meggs had several jokes and there was laughter in the room. My thought was..."Why are you joking?" Even if you didn't believe her story...that's HER story. She said she was raped. Tell me the last time you've heard a good rape joke. It was tasteless.
Forty five minutes after Meggs' presser ended, Tim Jensen began his press conference. He stood and answered questions from the media. When responding to one question, Jensen began to insinuated that the accuser could be "like some women who go after athletes because they are targets." Huh? She said she was raped. I don't think she ASKED to be raped.
The sad thing about this case is that we'll never know what happen. Rape is always hard to prove. Based on what I've heard and read, I believe that Winston. That's not the fan in me. That's just what I see. I was once a football player at South Carolina State University. I was a high visible athlete on our campus...similar to Winston. I also found myself in a situation where I could have had sex with a woman who had been drinking...just like Winston. I didn't...but I could have. But I don't know the accuser nor do I know Winston. He seems to be a charismatic young man who happens to be a phenomenal athlete. But I know that as an athlete, you wear two faces. There is the face that you want people see and the face that you really have. It doesn't matter if I think this young lady is telling the truth or not. She said she was raped. That's no laughing matter. Her life will be changed forever. I feel for Winston. His life will be changed too. People will always associate this with him. Winston was never charged nor was he ever questioned by the police. If you believe his story then you see a young man who feels like he did nothing wrong.
There are no winners in this case. Judging from both press conferences, as a society, we have all loss.