Winston deserves delay in judgment

In a scandal that has rocked the campus of Florida State University, Jameis Winston appears to have risen above the accusations of him being involved in some type of sexual assault.

This was demonstrated in his outstanding performance at Saturday’s game, where the Seminoles destroyed Syracuse University by a brutal 59-3.

Winston held up to his usual greatness, completing 19 of his 21 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns during the game. If he were at all affected by his less-than-perfect week, he certainly did not let it show on the field, a true testament to his dedication to his team.

Last week, TMZ released an article accusing Winston of sexual assault. The story – and the allegations in general – have since raised suspicion and skepticism.

First of all, the Tallahassee Police Department incident report, which can be found on TMZ’s website, is shaky at best. The description of the perpetrator does not even loosely fit that of Winston. The victim described her assailant as between 5-9 and 5-11 and 240 pounds. Winston stands at 6-4 at around 220 pounds. That is nearly a half-foot difference and seems difficult to botch.

Also, the timing seems suspicious. Why now is this story coming to light? FSU’s football program is in the height of its reign, and Winston has been leading the team to victory all season.

So, why is a seemingly idle investigation on an incident that occurred 11 months ago now such a pressing matter?

It’s no secret that Winston is one of FSU’s biggest athletic stars in years, and his fame is not undeserving. The 19-year-old redshirt freshman has been leading his team to win after win the entire season.

Before the scandal hit, there was serious talk of Winston being the recipient of the coveted Heisman Trophy. A week ago, an undefeated season followed by a BCS National Championship was most definitely not out of the question. However, this story may have a negative effect on the team and Winston’s morale. Only time will tell.

As for Winston’s team, coaching staff and FSU leadership, no one is saying much of anything. For now, it appears that those close to Winston and the FSU athletic department do not want to feed into the media frenzy and gossip piranhas that this story has brought about. 

So what really happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2012? The truth is, I do not know. You do not know. TMZ does not know. In fact, there are only two people who really do.

Sexual assault is a serious issue among our generation fueled by alcohol and an overabundance of “he said, she said.”

This problem does not garner the attention it so desperately calls for. However, until someone is charged and sentenced for committing this type of crime, it is his right as an American to be considered innocent until proven guilty. In a time where rumors are often considered proof without evidence, we must remember that every suspect deserves to be treated with that same respect – even star athletes.