ATB SPECIAL: Why the NFL Cannot Suspend Jameis Winston
Article By: @jameis1of1
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Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston recently revealed that the NFL has not contacted him one single time regarding their “investigation” into an Uber driver’s, known only as “Kate”, accusation that Winston grabbed the crotch area of her clothing and kept his hand there for 3-5 seconds, before removing it as soon as she said, “What’s up with that”, on Sunday, March 13, 2016. This took place after she picked Jameis up in Downtown Scottsdale, where he was in town to participate in Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner’s “Ultimate Football Experience” charity event.
Likewise, Eagles CB Ronald Darby, who went on the record to state that Jameis is innocent of any wrong doing and that the driver lied about Jameis even being in the front seat next to her, went on to state that she lied when she said Jameis was the only passenger in the vehicle. This also revealed that the NFL has not contacted him regarding their “investigation”.
While this investigation seems to be a non-story in all NFL cities other than Tampa, Bucs fans and Tampa media alike continue to fear the worst and even speculate that Winston will be suspended for a full 6 games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before the start of the 2018 regular season, just as Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was last season.
However, this author believes such fears are not only completely unfounded, but that they are also illogical based on the actual facts we know.
Fact One: “Kate” never filed a police report against Winston and her attorney failed to file a civil lawsuit against Winston within Arizona’s two year statute of limitations.
However, a Police report (#201607206) was filed against Ezekiel Elliott by Tiffany Thompson in Columbus Ohio.
Fact Two: The one and only eye witness on the record in this investigation into Winston, refuted the statements “Kate” made and corroborated Winston’s statements affirming his innocence.
The NFL stated that there were over a dozen witnesses in the Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence case.
Fact Three: To date, there is no known “evidence” of any kind against Jameis Winston.
The NFL stated that there was medical, photographic and digital evidence against Ezekiel Elliott.
Fact Four: The NFL scheduled the Buccaneers’ only prime time nationally televised game, a Monday Night Football game nonetheless, for week three. It is logical to think the NFL would have waited until at least the Buccaneers 7th game or even later to schedule their only prime time television appearance. If they planned to suspend the Buccaneers most valuable and most recognized player, especially since the Buccaneers are not expected to be a playoff team this year and team brass would probably advise Jameis to just serve the 6 game suspension immediately, rather than appeal it, and end up serving it later in the year.
Of course, if the NFL did schedule the Bucs only prime time game for week 3, it is still possible they have a 1-2 game suspension planned for Jameis Winston
All of the aforementioned facts being what they are, this author believes Jameis Winston was being honest and forthright when he stated that he has “no fear” he will be suspended.
However, I do understand Roger Goodell is basically omnipotent when it comes to this sort of thing, and I also understand the NFL is dedicated to protecting the shield and therefore making decisions that play well in the public eye.
I do believe it is at least possible that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will levy a 1-2 game suspension against Jameis Winston, whether or not the evidence points to Winston’s innocence.
I also believe that Commissioner Goodell does not want to open an entirely new can of worms, one whereby players can be suspended on the basis of nothing more than unsubstantiated accusations. There is a great deal of difference between suspending a player that has multiple witnesses, as well as medical, photographic, and even digital evidence weighing against him, as was the case with Ezekiel Elliott, that suspending a player based on a mere unsubstantiated accusation.
I believe Commissioner Goodell is wise enough to realize that if he suspends Jameis Winston based on a mere unsubstantiated accusation, he will be placing a bullseye on the head of every NFL player, as anyone can be accused of anything at any time by anybody.
If the public at large sees Jameis Winston suspended for even a one game, let alone six games, based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated accusation, it is more than plausible that some will see such a suspension as proof that they too can negatively affect various player’s ability to play, and that the opportunity to make a quick buck is available.
In this day and age of social media, it’s not all that difficult to find out where various players are partying or what event they are attending, and it certainly wouldn’t be hard to go to the same location, document you were there, and later make an accusation against said player in the hopes of either seeing that player suspended, or merely as a way to try to extort funds from that player.
In a country where innocent individuals have been arrested and charged and many who have even been convicted and incarcerated for crimes they never committed, (e.g. the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case, former middleweight boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, former Atlanta Falcons LB Brian Banks, et al.), or based on nothing more than unfounded allegations.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cannot make the costly mistake of giving credence to unsubstantiated allegations by suspending Jameis Winston based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated accusation.
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