For Jameis Winston, Saturday night will be a night to remember, as he takes home his Heisman Trophy. A freshman at Florida State University (FSU), Winston has made history by becoming the youngest player to win College Footballs prestigious award. This year has been a stressful year for Winston yet he continued to lead his team effectively and victoriously while facing charges for rape. According to Winston he was able to do this by “trusting in the process”, and believing that the truth would prevail. However, FSU’s coach Fisher believes that Winston was able to overcome any obstacle thrown his way because of his maturity and ability to compartmentalize the situations in his life.
Every year the Heisman trophy is awarded to football’s best collegiate player. The Heisman trophy, originally named the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, was first awarded to Jay Berwanger in 1935. In 1936 it was renamed in order to memorialize former DAC athletics director John Heisman. There is a lot of history behind the Heisman award. In 1961, Syracuse running back Ernie Davis became the first African American to receive the award. The majority of Heisman winners go on to have successful professional careers. To date, Archie Griffin of Ohio State is the only player to win the award twice.
In what is reported to be a “landslide win,” Jameis Winston beat out college football’s best players. Amongst the contenders was last year’s winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Another win for him would have also been historical. At 19 years old, Jameis Winston has already received a lot of attention for his excellence in football. After a successful high school career in which he played both baseball and football Winston decided to turn down a position with the Texas Rangers. In turn he chose to attend college and try his luck at both games.
There are many people who were almost positive that Jameis Winston would win this year’s Heisman. What put a question in fans minds was how his legal issues would affect his chance of winning. In November of this year Florida’s State Attorney began investigating Jameis for a supposed rape that occurred in December 2012. Jameis, speaking through his lawyer Tim Jansen, stated that he did have consensual sex with his accuser. State Attorney Willie Meggs announced earlier this month that he would not be pressing charges against Jameis Winston due to the lack of evidence and the memory problems of the accuser. There was also a problematic 11 month time lapse between when the incident was reported and when police began questioning witnesses. At a news conference at Bank of America Stadium,about 24 hours after prosecutors in Florida announced that they would not charge Winston, his coach Jimbo Fisher talked of how the quarterback maintained his composure throughout the investigation. Fisher claimed that Winston remained the same, displaying maturity and strong character.
Friday morning the lawyer for Jameis Winston’s accuser held a press conference in which she called for an independent investigation by the Attorney General’s office of the case and how the Tallahassee police handled the investigation. According to Patricia Carroll (the accuser’s lawyer) the investigation of Winston was, sloppy and inappropriate in how it focused on her client instead of Winston. She claims the decision on the case was based on “football politics.” Though it does not seem that the Attorney General’s office will go through the investigation, based on a comment emailed by Governor Rick Scott’s spokes woman, the comments made on Friday have brought back to light and issue that the new Heisman trophy winner may want to forget.
Though the sexual assault case is not fully behind him, Jameis Winston can proudly say that he has won the Heisman Trophy, a feat that only some have accomplished. Winston has had a full year which he was gotten through with excellence and grace; and now he has a 45 pound trophy to help him remember it.
By Earnestine Jones