Jonathan Zimmerman, a historian at New York University and a prolific op-ed writer, does not believe that Jameis Winston deserves the coveted Heisman Trophy. The Heisman is given to the “outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.” Here is a taste:
And don’t just read the statement by the alleged victim, who claims that Winston kept assaulting her even when another male entered the room and told him to stop. Look instead at the statements by Winston’s roommate and football teammate Chris Casher.
In the first one, submitted by an attorney, Casher said he accompanied Winston and a woman home from a bar. After Winston and the woman went to a bedroom to have sex, Casher decided to play a “joke” on them. “I busted into the room to embarrass Jameis,” Casher says.
But in his next statement, given directly to police, Casher said he went into the room to see if the woman would have sex with him, too, “as has happened with other females he and Winston have brought back to their apartment,” the police interview says. The woman told Casher to get out, but he returned and tried to videotape her sexual encounter with Winston.
Noticing the discrepancy between the two accounts, police asked Casher to clarify them. Casher confirmed that “he did indeed go into the room to have sex with [the woman] as well,” according to the police interview.
Both statements counter the woman’s claim that Casher – or another male – had told Winston to stop. And, of course, both of them were offered to exculpate Winston from the criminal charge against him.
They just might do that.
But we also need to distinguish between the legal case against Winston and the question of “integrity,” to quote the Heisman Trust. By the seventh-largest margin in football history, sportswriters just voted to give the Heisman Trophy to a man who – by the admission of his own roommate – routinely brings women to his apartment to have sex with both of them, one after the other.
But once the Florida state attorney decided not to charge Winston with a crime, most of America’s sportswriters apparently decided he was good to go.
“I knew I did nothing wrong,” Winston told reporters in New York on Friday. Nothing criminal, perhaps. But nothing wrong? That statement alone should make you question the integrity of Winston, and of the hundreds of reporters who cast their ballots for him. So when the BCS title game comes on TV next month, I hope you’ll do the only right thing: Turn it off.
I wonder how many of the charities
supported by The Heisman Trust would approve of Winston’s behavior.