When the news first broke of Jameis Winston's three game suspension a few weeks back, I remember hearing it in the car with my 13 year old daughter.
She saw my surprised reaction and asked me what happened? I was too ashamed and uncomfortable to tell her the specifics of what he did to a female Uber driver but "generally" explained the situation in that he "hurt" another woman's feelings.
Her reaction was immediate--- "The Bucs should get rid of him"
Can't say I disagree anymore.
Some people refused to like Winston before this incident, now the anti-Jameis crowd is growing and for good reason.
Winston's actions are a broken record. He had a short leash when he initially put on a Bucs uniform but now he's out of chances.
(photo credit: Getty Images)
Frankly he's lucky he only got three games. Figuring out Winston is as puzzling as trying to solve the NFL's suspension system which is as inconsistent as our President's tweets. How on earth does Winston receive less games than Tom Brady, whose biggest crime was deflating footballs---and we wonder why this league has lost all credibility?
Now Bucs nation is deflated, especially those who stuck with Winston while many didn't, including me.
I was wrong about Winston. I thought the Bucs should have drafted him number one overall over Marcus Mariota. I thought many of his transgressions in college you could just chalk up to immaturity. I also thought it was impressive that he seemingly spent his first few years as a professional staying out of trouble.
I was fooled.
The fact is just like politicians or actors or any other public figure--we don't know these people. They can be great in the community, great at a press conference but we don't see them behind close doors. I still believe most athletes are good people, furthermore I believe most people are good people, but the exceptions to the rule always hurt the majority.
As polarizing as Warren Sapp was in his playing days and even his life there after---you knew he was a bad guy but Winston was much tougher to peg.
You meet him in person, he's friendly and charismatic. You see him around kids and you want to believe this guy is the real deal. He's a unique personality in the way he would learn everyone's name in the building and seemingly cared---yet you have the other Winston off the field.
I remember covering an event back in April where Winston did an admirable job creating a "Dream Room" for a Tampa elementary school He donated projectors, iPads and several gadgets to kids who never had those kinds of resources.
His likeness was painted on the wall in the classroom where the kids were over the moon excited just to high five and interact with the Bucs young quarterback. Winston went on to give a passionate and inspiring speech to the kids about living their dreams.
What do those teachers and kids think about Jameis now? What do those teachers tell those kids now?
I kept thinking that day, I really hope this guy is for real, I hope this isn't all for show.
Many still defend Winston saying the Uber incident happened over two years ago and since then he's on his way to becoming a husband and father, he's a different guy.
One problem with that timeline, he sat in front of the media just a few months back when the reports broke of the "alleged" groping incident and he adamantly lied to all of us in the room.
He called the Uber Driver "confused" and in a statement said the accusations were "false" not once but an amazing four different times.
That wasn't over two years ago, that was..... seven months ago.
Seven months later, Winston's story changed dramatically--he's now apologizing to the Uber Driver and admitted albeit not fully that something took place.
It's hard to trust him again.
This is a tired timeline for a player who's given too much drama and only 18 wins in four seasons as a starter. If he lied publicly, who's to say he didn't lie to the Bucs owners, his general manager Jason Licht who has backed him like no one else has, his head coach Dirk Koetter and last but not least his many teammates who just want to play football and are tired of answering questions about their so called leader.
Enough is enough.
Winston shared with his teammates last season that he drew inspiration from the Dr Seuss book, "Happy Birthday to You,"
He quoted the several passages that hit home with him the most regarding himself and his play.
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."
"That really stuck with me because we are all our individual selves," Winston said at the time "Nobody can be us more than us. It's so simple."
"Change is good at times. And I'm working on my patience. But you are who you are."
Pretty revealing statements when you look back now where months later, a sea of change is the clearly the best thing for Winston's life but his focus has to be finding a new"you."