What Are The Ethics Of Not Voting For Jameis Winston's Heisman Trophy Campaign?
Former Georgia Bulldog running back Herschel Walker wouldn't vote for Todd Gurley or Jameis Winston in their Heisman Trophy campaigns due to off-field trouble for both players. Gurley's case for the Heisman is nail-in-the-coffin dead. However, Winston's Heisman flame seems to be reignited -- especially if Winston and the Florida State Seminoles can defeat Notre Dame in primetime.
So how should Heisman voters deal with all of this unproven scandal as they consider who deserves the Heisman Trophy? It's a sacred Trophy. To preserve that object's sanctity, they've taken it from players like Reggie Bush, who was later proven to violate NCAA sanctions following his college career. But in the USA, where we are innocent until proven guilty, should players like Jameis Winston be allowed to make a case for the Heisman without being judged for the pending off field allegations?
The Trophy recognizes "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." Does Jameis Winston deserve that?
The initial answer is no... followed by a yes... followed by a no. Onto the first no.
There are transgressions of which Winston has been proven guilty. He stole crab legs from a grocery store. He's also guilty of being a Class A idiot that is stupid enough to dress for a game for which he been suspended. In what world is that the right thing to do? Winston has also been awful with the media, and he's showed a general lack of empathy with few apologies while he deals with these allegations. Guilty or not, he needs to show some sensitivity. For example, he shouldn't yell "Fuck her right in the pussy" in the student center. That would be a good start. At that point, his sexual abuse scandal had already begun. So, Jameis Winston is guilty of all of that. And thus, the Heisman voting committee can take those things into effect.
The rest -- which includes sexual abuse charges -- remains unproven. Let's be clear: Sexual abuse is a very serious crime. However, in accordance with our legal code, Winston is innocent until proven guilty. So while I have been incredibly critical of Winston in the past, I'm not sure the committee can hold these pending violations of the FSU student code against him. As of now, we can't burn the witch.
Apparently Jameis adopted a stray puppy this week. So a dog fighting investigation should be any minute now...
— LostLettermen.com (@LostLettermen) October 18, 2014
But if Winston gets proven guilty only a few months or a few days after the voters hand him a trophy that says he exemplifies integrity, it would bring the embarrassment of the NCAA to a new level. So let's say that if Winston has the best stats in the nation, and he doesn't win the Heisman Trophy. It will probably be a case of the NCAA voters protecting their butts.
In situations like this, it's never as simple as saying that it's right or wrong to vote for Winston. He hasn't been proven to lack integrity. He may lack a brain, but plenty Scarecrows have won the Heisman.
Here's a curve ball: They've also already given him a Trophy.
So if he's guilty, will they take that trophy away no matter what, right? If the NCAA didn't strip him of those accolades (in a hypothetical situation where Winston is proven guilty), the sporting world would explode. It would be Ray Rice-gate all over again. The sentiment would be this: They took it from Reggie Bush who took money, and they don't take it from Winston who was proven guilty of sexual abuse? Considering that, you've got to think the NCAA would strip him of the Trophy.
The likely outcome is that Winston does not win the Trophy if there are other comparable players. If he's clearly the best candidate and he's on an undefeated Noles team with stats that surpass all other candidates, then it puts voters in a tough spot. I wouldn't vote for him -- and would kick myself if Winston gets proven innocent. But I'd rather kick myself over a kid who didn't win a second Heisman Trophy, than give a sexual abuser two of them. I'm guessing the Heisman voters are in the same camp.
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