Jameis Winston apologized Wednesday afternoon for yelling an obscene phrase on the Florida State campus on Tuesday. He met with the media not long after the school announced he had been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Clemson.
The phrase, which we cannot repeat here, is a vulgar meme that has been shouted by videobombers during live newscasts before.
"First of all I want to apologize to the university, to my coaches and to my teammates," Winston said. I'm not a 'me' person, but in that situation it was a selfish act and that's not how you do things around here. I really want to apologize to my teammates, because I've now made a selfish act for them.
"You know, you've got to overcome adversity," Winston later said. "And that's one thing at Florida State that we do. We're going to overcome adversity. And when I do get my opportunity to play, I'm going to do everything I can, because I have to accept that. That's going to eat me up. I want to be out there on the field. You understand what I'm saying? I want to be out there on the field with my team. But I did something so I've got to accept my consequences and I'm going to apologize to my team. So we're not going to think about that. We don't think about negative things, we're going to think about moving forward and having to win the game."
Sean Maguire, Winston's backup, will start in his place.
In August 2013, before he started his first game for Florida State, Winston told reporters that "If I ever get Manziel disease, I want all of you to smack me in the head with your microphones." Well, one could make the argument that the off-field drama surrounding Winston has exceeded the drama surrounding Manziel in his time at Texas A&M.
Winston's apology Wednesday also had a similar tone to previous apologies he's made about his off-field behavior.
News of a December 2012 accusation of sexual assault against Winston emerged in November 2013. After Florida state attorney Willie Meggs announced in December 2013 that Winston would not be charged in the case because of a lack of evidence, Winston released this statement.
"I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for standing by me during a difficult time," he said. "I also want to thank the State Attorney's Office for examining all of the facts and reaching a decision in a conclusive manner. It's been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I'm very relieved I'll be able to continue my education at Florida State and I'm excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals."
As Florida State went on to beat Auburn for the BCS Championship and Winston won the Heisman shortly after Meggs' announcement, Winston admitted he had talked with Manziel about how to handle distractions off the field.
“I did have an opportunity to talk to Johnny. He just told me to stay myself,” Winston said before the BCS Championship Game. “When you think about the things that Johnny went through and then you see the things that he does on the field, it makes you forget about the things that's happening, and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to make football be my getaway, and that's what he's done a great job of. And that's why I'm glad I've got a team like this because they allow me to let football be the getaway because when I look in their eyes, they're like, we're ready to fight.”
Both spring football and baseball were Winston's getaway following the BCS title. And he briefly lost the baseball getaway April when he was cited for shoplifting crab legs and crawfish from a Tallahassee, Fla.-area Publix.
"As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket," Winston said in a statement after his citation. "I went to the supermarket with the intent to purchase dinner but made a terrible mistake for which I’m taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.
"I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach. Over the last year I’ve learned that my accomplishments on the fields can be a wonderful thing for my school, teammates, friends, and family. At the same time, I must realize that my mistakes are magnified and can bring great embarrassment to all those who support me every day. I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation.
After the seafood swipe, details emerged surrounding an incident from when Winston was a redshirt freshman in 2012. He and teammate Chris Casher were "briefly detained" after being confronted by campus police at gunpoint for having a pellet gun to shoot squirrels at an area adjacent to campus. The gun and pellets were detained and neither player was charged. This happened two days before Winston was questioned in an incident involving damage to apartment complex windows from an alleged BB gun fight.
At ACC media days in July, Winston said he had to hold himself to a "certain standard." He must have forgotten these comments on Tuesday.
“I've got to hold myself to a certain standard that the media may view me in, that the regular people may view me in, but I know I can do that because I've learned the true definition of being a leader and being a leader on and off the field,” Winston said during ACC media day on Sunday.
“As a leader for the Florida State Seminoles, I not only have to respect the name on the back of my jersey, but I have a great university that is looking for me to be a great student athlete, and more importantly I have teammates that are counting on me,” Winston said. “Accountability is something that's very important to me, and so, yes, I have learned, and I've learned that leadership is more important playing the quarterback position than anything else.”
Now, with a first-half suspension, we'll see if Winston has truly learned about accountability. Until this point, his presence on the football field has been unaffected by anything off the field at FSU. Will missing 30 minutes of football be a proverbial kick in the pants for Winston? His words certainly haven't been very meaningful so far.
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