If a Rapist Wins the Heisman Does Anybody Care?

by: HappyinVT

Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:03:17 AM EST

For non-football fans the Heisman Trophy is given each year to the "best college football player" although it usually goes to a quarterback or a running back so that title isn't completely accurate.  Also winning the trophy usually dooms your NFL career (see Tebow, Tim and Griffin, Archie [the only player to win it twice]).

The Heisman is being presented Saturday night to one of six finalists including last year's winner, Johnny Manziel.  Another finalist, and front-runner, is Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston.

(Full disclosure requires me to stop here and say that I hate Florida State ~ have for years so I may have some slight bias in this case although I have nothing particularly against Jameis Winston minus the fact that he may have gotten away with rape.)

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HappyinVT :: If a Rapist Wins the Heisman Does Anybody Care?
We'll never know what happened between Winston and his accuser; Winston's camp claims the sex was consensual while his accuser obviously disagrees.

The issue largely is, as it always is, the initial investigation and how it appears that the police screwed it up from the get-go:

... experts familiar with the case say Tallahassee police botched critical aspects of the investigation from the start.

If police had conducted the inquiry better, they said, prosecutors might have closed the case months ago - and without so many unanswered questions. http://www.tampabay.com/news/p...  

One expert wonders if the Tallahassee police actions were "incompetent or willful."

College football in Florida is huge as it is in most of the South.  Jameis Winston is a freshman star who has helped lead a resurgence of the once-great Florida State program.  Was that a factor in the lack of a thorough police investigation?

Did the fact that the woman had been drinking in a bar and admits getting into a taxi with men she did not know mean she was asking for it and therefore got what she deserved?  The Tallahassee Police aren't talking.

They did talk to the accuser early on but they did not talk to "Chris" who she named as someone she met at the bar and who walked in, and videotaped, the attack.  The police knew from the beginning that there was video evidence and didn't bother to look for it.  But, come on you might say, how many young men named Chris are there in Tallahassee.  In this case finding Chris was easy:

Back then, police also didn't look for the freshman football player named Chris. A simple review of the Seminoles' 2012 roster shows Chris Casher was the only true freshman on the team with that first name. Investigators later learned that Casher was Winston's roommate and had walked in on the sexual activity - in part to record it on his cellphone.

Police also didn't take the bar's video surveillance tapes which were eventually overwritten.  They did not actively look for the taxi driver who took the accuser and, presumably, Winston from the bar.

We could also suggest the woman wanted to cause trouble for Winston for some reason except:

Winston was not identified as a suspect until Jan. 10, when the woman recognized him in a class and called the detective.

I don't live in Tallahassee so I don't know how much exposure Winston got from the local media or how well known he was in the local area as the FSU quarterback but I do know the season hadn't started yet so he certainly wasn't the national name he's become in the college football-following circles; that came maybe midway through the season when he was playing really well and had FSU undefeated.

The case was eventually deactivated in February and was reactivated only after media outlets reported the incident.  Of course, the timing of that has brought up the question of motivation of "going after" Winston since the story came out when his name was being included in Heisman talk.  I was a bit skeptical myself until I read more about the timing of the alleged assault.

Then there was the behavior of State Attorney Willie Meggs during his announcement that no charges would be filed which led to:

The Seminole alum-turned-prosecutor decided, then, to turn it into his own amateur hour at the Improv.

That he had a willing audience of journalists laughing along with him-and, inexplicably, a former state senator (now lobbyist) named Al Lawson prompting the guffaws-is equally, if not more, offensive. Twitter certainly took notice of the lighthearted approach to a rape case, with observers from Samantha Ponder to Luther Campbell taking umbrage at the jokes. We'd like you to focus on one part, though: at the 18-second mark, one perturbed female journalist utters a loud "COME ON." If only someone else had spoken up, or asked Meggs why a rape investigation is ever a laughing matter. [ESPNU] http://deadspin.com/pols-press...

Remarkably, at a later press conference with Winston's attorney, a reporter asked if he knew of any affiliation the accuser might have with the University of Alabama (one of the teams at the time vying with FSU for #1 in the rankings).

And we wonder why more women don't come forward.  We wonder why celebrities feel like they can get away with anything.

I don't claim to know what happened on December 7, 2012 between the woman and Jameis Winston.  Frankly, it smacks of Kobe Bryant to me with maybe some Ben Roethlisberger tossed in.  Winston may not have been the Heisman frontrunner, and by all accounts shoo-in or the QB of the undefeated top-ranked team in the country (FSU was preseason 11-12 depending on the poll) but again football is huge in Florida.  That area is filled with FSU alum looking for a return of the glory days.

But it isn't just Florida or college; Steubenville OH is still dealing with the fall-out of a case where the behavior of the adults in the community are as much in question as the actions of the rapists with allegations of a cover-up.  Just yesterday,

Four adults in Steubenville, Ohio, including the school's superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges stemming from the handling of the investigation into the rape of a teenage girl in August 2012.

The rape case drew national attention to Steubenville, a town about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, after a photo and video that appeared to document the assault of the 16-year-old girl were posted online. http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-sch...

Steubenville, as is much of Ohio, is also a huge football town.  It is also not a thriving community, to be kind, so there is much enthusiasm and likely a sense of escape and pride in the team.  Is that enough to overlook or cover-up a crime?  Apparently some folks think so.

Then there is the notion that a drunk woman is fair game; somehow she asked for it or deserved it.  Blaming the victim is easier than confronting the behavior of the attacker.  And quite frankly how disgusting does one have to be to want to engage in a sex act with someone unresponsive or so stinking drunk she won't remember?  In the case of the Steubenville teenager a witness testified that one of the attackers tried to get her to perform oral sex on him but she was too damned drunk to do so.  I realize these guys were 16 and most likely spend most of their time not on the football field thinking with that head south-of-the-border but that doesn't excuse taking advantage of someone too drunk to defend herself.  

That certainly doesn't excuse the adults who were willing to look the other way in order to presumably protect the players.  The doesn't excuse the media who are often too quick to assume the player's celebrity automatically means the accuser is in it for money or celebrity of her own.  Or for lumping every accuser into the "she's making it up" category when in 2010 Violence Against Women published a ten-year study that found the percentage of false allegations was ... 5.9.

We've come a long way, baby, but we are still too often see as sluts, whores, asking for it while men are too often forgiven for being men or misunderstood or too important as a sports or entertainment celebrity.  We change this partly by education and consequences.  We change this by recognizing that we need to effectively protect ourselves from being victims before an assault and afterward as well.

Jameis Winston may or may not be a rapist; we'll likely never know.  That he'll win the Heisman Trophy tonight like nothing happened while his accuser will know that those who might have kept her from being a victim a second time by doing a competent investigation is a travesty to me.  Jameis Winston says he knew he'd be "vindicated."  Not by me; he'll always have an asterisk by his name ~ Jameis Winston *rapist?

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I didn't proofread the whole thing so bear with me. (2.00 / 6)
I've been sucking down coffee and am about to pay the price for it.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Awww Hell! (2.00 / 4)
I didn't mean for this to go on the front page.  I thought I clicked that button off.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

She is a victim a third time, actually. (2.00 / 6)
The happy-hoo-ha-ing and high-fiving that went on after the state's "attorney" called a freaking press conference to announce that they were not going to prosecute the star athlete was awful.

And this probably didn't feel very good either:

The alleged victim first went to Florida State Police on December 7, 2012, saying that she had been raped early that morning, but did not know the identity of her alleged attacker. Initially, according to the case file, she described the suspect as a black male with a "'short afro' that looked like it needed to be cut." Then, on January 10, 2013, she left a voicemail for the investigating detective saying that she believed her alleged attacker was Jameis Winston, and that he was in one of her classes.

On the initial incident report, the officer observes that the accuser "was very cooperative during the investigation." Once she identified Winston, however, police notes indicate that, on the advice of her attorney, she was seeking counseling and deciding whether she wished to pursue a case "because Winston is a big name on campus and she is afraid of the consequences of pressing charges."

There are two sets of justice in America: one for those who are rich or famous or important to someone's sports fantasies. And one for the rest of us.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

i would think there is a third set of justice (2.00 / 4)
3% of all rape cases result in a confession.  but i don't know at what stage the data is gathered.  

[ Parent ]
I suspect sooner than "11 months after the crime is reported". (2.00 / 3)
That is unconscionable

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Nobody deserves to be raped. (2.00 / 2)
I've never seen this kid play. The sports media types were pretty vocal about not voting for him if he was indicted. That being said, sport writers are either wanna be jocks or retired jocks. So their inability to take his at best boorish and worst criminal behavior into account is not surprising.
Indicting a sports hero in a college town by a male alumni DA, with a male dominated police department in the deep south, failure is predictable. If you assume the woman was African American, you might even assume the police department was indifferent at best. The greatest fail might be the State DA not intervening, considering the seemingly obvious issues.

Haven't we learned (0.00 / 0)
One expert wonders if the Tallahassee police actions were "incompetent or willful."

There is no such thing as justice in Florida  


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