What’s gotten into you, Jameis?

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014

These things always end up coming full circle.
Back in August 2013, before the college football season had started, reporters were interviewing Jameis Winston about battling to become Florida State’s starting quarterback.
“If I ever get Manziel disease, I want all of you to smack me in the head with your microphones,” Winston joked, according to Sporting News.
Winston was talking about the spotlight and constant criticism that followed Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel after his breakout 2012 season and Heisman Trophy win. From getting kicked out of fraternity parties, a slew of rather unadvised tweets and allegedly taking money for his signatures, “Johnny Football” was under the microscope.
It’s starting to look like Winston has joined the party.
Reporters need to get in line with microphones in hand and get to whacking.
Last Tuesday, the Seminole red-shirt sophomore quarterback and closing pitcher for the baseball team was issued a citation for allegedly stealing crab legs from Publix in Tallahassee, Florida. The punishment? A $30 fine, 20 hours of community service and a suspension from the baseball team.
The excuse? “In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items,” Winston wrote in an official statement released by his attorney.
He goes on to say the success he’s seen on the field is amazing for his team, family, friends and school. He also said he realizes any and every mistake he makes is magnified and can bring embarrassment to his supporters.
There are accounts of what actually happened flying all over the Internet. Stories of how he got mobbed by fans; tales of how he was leaving the Publix speaking to a police officer with crab legs in hand.
I don’t really care what happened. The real story to take away from this is how big of an impact stars like Manziel and Winston have on us when they make mistakes, and how quickly charges can disappear.
Winston’s citation was dropped for his theft. He was let back on the baseball team after a short three-game suspension. He wrapped up his community service in a couple days. Everything is virtually back to normal.
On the other hand, when John Doe gets caught stealing a box of Ritz crackers from Publix tomorrow, he’s most likely going to jail. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident, a lapse of judgment or a cold-blooded, pre-meditated crime. He left the store without paying, and he’ll face the repercussions.
But Winston won’t. Is this justice? Not really. But it’s better than having Winston kicked off the team like most other schools would.
Even the Tallahassee Police are star struck around this guy.
Winston is a stunning quarterback, but this is the second strike he’s had, the first being his sexual assault case last fall. He’s a baseball player, I’m sure he’s familiar with the “three strikes and you’re out” rule.
How many more times are these things going to slide by? Public officials are held to a higher standard, and so should Division 1 college quarterbacks. We’ll see what happens next time, because I have a funny feeling there will probably be a next time.

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