I don't think it's a stretch to believe that Jameis Winston turns his charisma and personality on when in front of people or cameras. This isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. Hell, most people do the same thing whether they believe they do it or not. For Jameis, it's refreshing to see him when his personality is dialed down. That's what ESPN's "Draft Academy" gave us on Tuesday night.
In this week's episode of "Draft Academy," we were showed a very long and in-depth discussion between Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Jameis Winston. Harbaugh was training both Winston and Bryce Petty for what to expect when meeting with teams at the combine, and the conversation turned very candid.
"I was disciplined in for one game against John Carroll for laughing at my coach because he cried," Winston started when asked by Harbaugh if he's ever been disciplined. "He felt that I disrespected him."
"In college, I got disciplined for a game against Clemson for standing up on a table and saying something wrong," Jameis said.
Harbaugh then asked if Jameis Winston had ever had any encounters with the police.
"I had one encounter with the police over a bb gun," Winston said. "I was in the trail hunting squirrels and the police had rolled up on us and thought that I had an assault rifle and they arrested us."
At this point, Harbaugh's QBs coach Jedd Fisch jumped in and asked about the crab leg incident at Publix.
"A week before it was my buddy's birthday," Jameis Winston started describing the crab incident. "We had got a cake and met a dude that was inside Publix, and he said, 'any time you come in here, I got you.' That day we just walked out and he hooked us up with that. When I came in to get crab legs, did the same thing, he just gave them to me, I walked out, and someone from inside the store had told security that I didn't pay for them."
Personally, I'm tired of hearing about these petty things that Jameis Winston did. Any time I've been offered something for free, I have taken it. Hell, when I was first starting out in radio 13 years ago, I became friends with a bartender in Channelside. Every Friday and Saturday night for two years, he would hook my friends and I up with as many free drinks as we wanted as long as we tipped him. That's just one of the thousands of examples where I have taken free stuff from an employee when perhaps their boss did not know.
I know, but I'm not a celebrity quarterback. Well, like it or not, we were all 19, 20, and 21. The dumbest mistakes I have ever made in my life came during those years. If I wasn't allowed to have 2nd and 3rd chances, I would never be here typing this with a wife and child of my own. Like most people, I learned from my mistakes, and it is up to Jameis Winston to learn from his.
"I believe that a person should not be thought of as a bad person because of some senseless mistake that they made."
That statement was made by Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in 2010. Newton had his run-ins with the law. Newton was charged with felony theft after he stole a laptop. Those charges were dropped after he completed a pre-trial diversion program. Newton was allegedly also facing expulsion from the University of Florida for cheating before he left the school on his own.
Cam Newton is now highly respected as the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise.
Jameis Winston has done a lot of petty childish things. I do not believe that makes him a bad person or even a stupid person. I believe a person can do stupid things, but not be a stupid person. The Buccaneers have done more research on Jameis Winston than you and I could ever fathom. I'm sure they've talked to the high school coach Jameis Winston laughed at and got disciplined for. I'm sure they've talked to people who witnessed him standing on a table and yelling a vulgar phrase. I'm sure they've talked to the manager at that famous Publix who had no idea his employees were handing out free crab legs.
This decision is not for you or I to make. All we can see is the film and the way Winston and Mariota play on the field. Neither you or I know anything about these human beings off the field. The Buccaneers have to make that judgement, not you. Shame on anyone that would chastise a college student for doing stupid college things. We're not all perfect like you.
As for the sexual assault allegations that have been rejected time after time already. I guess you can believe what you want, but at some point, not being charged at all in the incident because of changed stories and lack of evidence should carry some weight.
Also, kudos to ESPN for delivering this episode of "Draft Academy." I think this is one of the first times most people have gotten a chance to see a vulnerable side of Jameis Winston. It was a side of the 21 year old young man who didn't know everything, and it was refreshing.
Click Here to see Jameis Winston's conversation with Jim Harbaugh. Here's a little tease for what you can expect:
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