To quote Will Rogers, all I know is what I read in the papers. To be more accurate, I don’t know anything about the investigation into allegations that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston committed rape except what ESPN and social media tell me – and neither are particularly reliable sources.
But a lack of knowledge, as y’all know, has never kept me quiet. And here, I do feel that I have some comments to make from several perspectives.
I’m a woman, who had a minor sexual offense (not rape, thank God!) committed upon me back in college, and I cried with a sorority sister the morning after she was raped by the boy she was dating and a few of his frat brothers. We didn’t report it – back then, if you agreed to stay late at a guy’s house, well, heck, you must have wanted to have sex with every guy in the place. The 70s were an strange time.
I am also a lawyer, who has defended and prosecuted those charged with sexual offenses. I’ve seen photos of injuries so bad that the memory brings tears to my eyes these many years later.
But I’m a Seminole, too. Rabidly committed to all things Garnet and Gold ever since I joined the Jr. Seminole Boosters at the ripe old age of 7. I still have a photo of Lane Fenner’s catch – google that if you want to know how long I will hold a grudge when my team is involved.
So, given all that, here’s what I want to say about Jameis and his accuser:
I was offended by the media frenzy surrounding the Jameis Winston investigation, with people who really had no knowledge loudly proclaiming his guilt. But I am even more offended by the comments about the young lady now that State Attorney Willie Meggs (a very distant relative of mine, btw) announced there won’t be charges.
But remember, “unproven” is a result that only works in the Alice-through-the-looking-glass world of the law. In reality, the facts are the facts, whether provable or not.
Look – either A: she was raped, and there wasn’t enough evidence to bring her rapist to justice. That’s bad. Or B: she wasn’t raped, and someone – an attorney with her own agenda, perhaps – used her to make a false claim. That’s bad, too.
As for Winston, either A: he did it, and he is a troubled young man who will not be court- ordered to receive help he desperately needs. That’s bad. Or B: he didn’t do it and he has been drug through the mud and there will be an undeserved cloud on his reputation. That’s bad, too.
So, My Seminole brethren and sistern, let ‘s not gloat or rejoice. This is a sad, sad situation either way. Having been a 19 or 20 year old kid who made bad choices myself a long time ago, I can’t imagine the awfulness of living through what the media and the public have done with this.
And to those of you who still want to joke about the “Criminoles” from “Forced Sex University,” (I’m looking at you, Swamp Things), stop it. Because it’s either A: an unprovable yet horrible crime against a young lady, or B: an intolerable smear on a talented young man. And neither of those is funny.