Jeremiah Short, Feature Writer
Jameis Winston learned a lesson that most young, black athletes need to learn. As quick you can be built up, you can be torn down.
It’s not the first time a young, black athlete has fallen from grace. Mike Vick. Kobe Bryant. Tiger Woods. Ray Lewis. But it’s one of the more troubling cases. The way Winston’s issues were revealed is the most upsetting part.
Let’s play a game of guess the news source. Here’s the first line of the story: “Florida State QB Jameis Winston — frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy — is being investigated for felony sexual assault.”
Oh that’s ESPN all the way. Right up their ally. They break everything.
Nope. TMZ broke the story. Not ESPN. Not CBS Sports. Not Fox Sports. Not Sports Illustrated. But TM Freaking Z!
A story that should have been broken by a reputable news source was first reported by a gossip site that specializes at Keeping Up With The Kardashians and posting Miley Cyrus’ latest twerk.
The whole ordeal was disheartening. Why was this kid, who had become the face of college football, life being destroyed? A few more web page hits. Because it darn sure wasn’t’t for the sake of journalistic integrity.
Winston was legally cleared, but the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner’s reputation is forever sullied, though. He’s not the two-sport star or Heisman Trophy winner or the energetic freshman who led his team to national championship berth.
He’s the irresponsible, arrogant and black football player who raped a white girl.
It’s not that deep.
It is that deep. No one wants to say it. But I will. If the girl in question wasn’t white, the case would have never seen the light of day. It would have been another crazy and wild college night.
Here’s what other young, black athletes need to realize: Your career and life can be destroyed, too, if you’re not careful.
I have friends and relatives who played major division one sports. I’ve heard all the stories of how easy it is to get sucked into the lifestyle of being a college athlete. The girls. The money. The prestige.
You may think you’re the man. But in reality, you’re a target. You’re young, black and have the potential to make millions. That means you have something to lose. And you WILL lose if you make the wrong choice.
Winston made the wrong choice. He cheated on his girlfriend. That wild college night turned into a rape allegation and a permanent stain on his reputation. A reputation he’ll never fully regain. He could win the three Heisman trophies, five NFL MVPs and win multiple Super Bowls.
None of it will matter.
His narrative will always read: “Jameis Winston revolutionized the game, was a great leader and will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game…BUT.”
Not an and…a BUT.
Everybody knows that girl was lying. He’ll be fine. He’s going to win games and people will forget.
Have people forgot about what Mike Vick, Tiger Woods or Ray Lewis did? No.
Vick has done his best to rehabilitate his image. He’s a humanitarian off the field. He’s a leader on his team. He’s owned up to his mistakes. BUT he’s still the “dog killer.”
Woods has tried to return to his dominate form. BUT he can’t get his “mojo” back because he’s worried about recapturing his tarnished image. He’s resorted to a fake relationship with All-American girl Lyndsey Vonn to garner public favor.
What was his crime? He cheated on his wife.
Morally wrong. Yes. It doesn’t have anything to do with the game of golf, though.
Lewis is a great family man, two-time Super Bowl Champion and an ESPN analyst. BUT there are fans out there that still look at him as a murderer, even though he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Why? He associated with the wrong people and lived a dangerous lifestyle.
What was the end result? He got caught up, and he’ll pay the rest of his life for it.
Vick, Woods and Lewis didn’t have the luxury of being white athletes. Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger can face two rape allegations and move on with his life. BUT Ray Ray can’t get acquitted of a crime and do the same.
I hope these young, black athletes with their whole futures ahead of them start thinking of Ray, Tiger, Mike and Jameis before they go out for a wild night of debauchery.
I hope they think twice before running that “train” on some half-drunk, lil freak. I hope they think twice before getting into that club fight trying to prove how tough they are. I really hope they think twice before they decide to kick it with the troublemakers from back home on a Saturday night. If they don’t, it will come back to haunt them.
Ask Ray. Ask Tiger. Ask Mike. And if you run into Jameis, ask him, too.