Jameis Winston’s tumultuous off-field time at Florida State has been well documented, and it’s been one of the most scrutinized aspects of the potential No. 1 overall pick as he prepares for the NFL draft.
In two seasons at Florida State, Winston was accused — and eventually cleared — of sexually assaulting a fellow student. He was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a local supermarket and he was suspended a game for jumping on a table and yelling an obscene phrase in the middle of the student union.
And through it all, coach Jimbo Fisher has defended his now-former star quarterback and he continued his vigilance Friday to Tampa Bay radio station WDAE-AM 620.
WDAE hosts Tom Jones and Rick Stroud asked Fisher about NFL teams focusing on Winston’s character issues. Fisher told the hosts that Winston’s image was a product of media coverage that portrayed him as a bad person.
“Why is there a question?” Fisher said. “Because of the character assassination that he’s lived through in the media, and the (misinformation) and half-truths that have been printed. What amazes me about this whole process is the un-professionalism of a lot of major newspapers, and a lot of major outlets that did not report the whole truth of the situation and only slanted it for their own opinion.”
Fisher said one of the media’s most egregious errors came when allegations of Winston accepting payment for autographs surfaced shortly after Georgia running back Todd Gurley was suspended for the infraction. However, Florida State found no evidence Winston violated NCAA rules, but Fisher said the damage in the media had already been done.
Fisher reiterated to WDAE that Winston’s character should not concern NFL teams. It’s the same thing Fisher has maintained about Winston since the Heisman winner started making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
“Jameis has great character,” Fisher said. “Did he make mistakes? Yes. Did he make silly mistakes? Yes. I mean, he’s still a 20-year-old kid. He and Johnny Manziel are the only two who have ever gone through that pressure of winning a Heisman (as an underclassman). Plus, he won a national championship. No one had ever done what he had done.
“Some of his mistakes come from wanting to be normal. … He likes being seen as a normal student, and not Jameis Winston. … That got him in trouble by making some poor choices. … It wasn’t from malice, but just from a little bit of immaturity. He’s still just 20 years old. He’ll grow through that.”
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