The Florida State football program hasn’t had an ideal last two weeks. Two players were charged with misdemeanor battery against women. One player, Dalvin Cook, was a former five-star recruit that became the first freshman in Florida State history to rush for over 1,000 yards. The other, De’Andre Johnson, was a three-star recruit that was named Mr. Football in Florida for 2014.
In both cases the players were immediately suspended from the football team once they were charged. Johnson was dismissed from the team within hours of the video showing him strike a woman being released. Cook is still indefinitely suspended as details of that night are still being evaluated.
The school president and head coach Jimbo Fisher met with the team following the Cook suspension and, per a report by the Tallahassee Democrat, have banned the team from going to bars in the foreseeable future.
Despite Fisher’s response to the issue many feel that he is not doing enough to stop these incidents from happening. The problem is what else could he have done in this situation? Fisher is not going to dismiss any player until he has received all of the information.
In the De’Andre Johnson case the video clearly showed Johnson striking the woman. Fisher then dismissed him. The details of the Cook incident are murky and Fisher is waiting to see exactly what the police find before making the decision of whether or not to remove him from the team. He is taking the innocent until proven guilty approach and the public is not happy about it.
Fisher has shown that if a player deserves to be dismissed from the team he will make the decision to do so. Greg Reid, Greg Dent, Arrington Jenkins, Jarmon Fortson, Markuss Eligwe, and Ira Denson have all been dismissed by the program since Fisher took over. Fisher is still dealing with the perception that he enabled Jameis Winston despite the fact that Winston was never charged in the sexual assault allegation that was brought against him.
In addition, many people on social media, including Dan Wolken of USAToday, are saying that Jimbo Fisher needs to recruit people who won’t get into these types of situations. How was he supposed to know that De’Andre Johnson, who was considered a model citizen, would make this horrible decision? Where is the outrage at the other seventeen schools, including Princeton, that offered him a scholarship? How about all the schools that offered Dalvin Cook, a kid from one of the most poverty filled areas in the country? There have been plenty of players from that area that have come to Florida State and not gotten into trouble. How do we differentiate between the two?
The answer is that Fisher doesn’t have the ability to see the future or the ability to watch over every individual player every second of the day. He does the best he can guide his players into making the right decisions, but he cannot make those decisions for them.
Fisher has been put into a situation where everything he does will be questioned and many people will disagree with. Fisher just needs to do what he thinks is right and ignore everyone else because nothing is going to be good enough right now.