Friday, May 2, 2014

In a moment of youthful ignorance

Jameis Winston, student and athlete at Florida State University, is in trouble again.

There was the time he was supposed to be involved in a BB-gun fight on the FSU campus, the time he was accused of stealing soda from a Burger King, and, most troubling, an accusation of sexual assault against a female student.

Ah, but the first two offenses were just swept under a big red carpet, and the State Attorney for Florida "declined to bring charges" in the alleged rape, because of "lack of evidence."

It's just like any college kid to fool around with a BB gun, and he certainly was not the first ever to get the idea to take a ketchup cup and fill it with unpaid-for Pepsi.  And since neither you nor I were present during the encounter with the female student, we can't say what happened that night in December 2012.

But.  This past Tuesday, young Winston, the sophomore, reigning Heisman trophy winner, quarterback of the national championship football team, and a very good pitcher and designated hitter as well for the baseball team, admitted to walking into a Publix grocery store down in Tallahassee, ordering $32.72 worth of crab legs and crawfish, and then just walking out without paying, and going home for a big ol' seafood fest.

The store called the police, the police went to Winston's apartment, and he said that he "forgot" to pay.

I'm sure we've all done that, right?  Oh, I FORGOT to pay for this Toyota I just drove off the lot!  This case of beer, this pizza, this I don't know what...

Serving suggestion
Here is the second-worst part of this whole thing: the police down there, in an effort to cut down the crime rate, have just changed what it takes to have something considered a crime.  This would be like the Fire Department claiming to have lowered the amount of fires by just not counting fires in brick buildings, or those that occurred between midnight and 7 AM.  It cuts the amount of crimes way down if you stop calling every crime a crime.

The worst part for me is that Winston's lawyers drafted a statement to hand out to the press, allegedly his words: "As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket. I went to the supermarket with the intent to purchase dinner but made a terrible mistake for which I'm taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.

"I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach. Over the last year I've learned that my accomplishments on the fields can be a wonderful thing for my school, teammates, friends, and family. At the same time, I must realize that my mistakes are magnified and can bring great embarrassment to all those who support me every day. I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation. I hope and pray my friends and family will view me as the 20-year-old young man that I am, and support me through this unfortunate situation.

"I am grateful to be able to participate in the adult citation program where I will complete community service."

I love sports as much or more than anyone else around, but what happens when a young man is told, from the age of 8, that he is special because he can throw a ball or hit a ball or catch one?  He gets the feeling that the world owes him $32.72 worth of seafood. And the "adults" who ought to be showing him otherwise stand back and wait for the next football game to start.

And you lawyers?  Could you at least TRY to make these words you put in the mouths of your defendants something even close to words they might have said?  Do you have to do EVERYTHING for them?

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