Famous Jameis and ‘John Hancock’ cash

Published 5:06 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston doesn’t get it.  And for some of the things he’s accused of, neither do I.

I’m not defending Winston. I just want to understand what’s involved here, where’s the intent, and if the punishment fits the crime.

You probably won’t agree with me, but bear with me while I try to break it down – again, as I (capital I!) fight to understand it.

The kid was caught up in a story I still have a hard time piecing together involving an incident of an alleged sexual assault.  A woman was assaulted and the Tallahassee police were assailed for what many considered a shoddy investigation.

Winston wasn’t charged and the rest reads like a storybook: leads his team to an ACC Championship in football; wins the Heisman Trophy and makes the accustomed speech thanking Mom, Dad, God, and the university; engineers a come-from-behind win for the national title over a power team from both the SEC and the state of Alabama (his HOME state, by the way); holds the trophy aloft, and the next day probably could have run for governor of the Sunshine State.

After that came a spring not of football, but where he showed off his baseball prowess. and along the way quenched his taste for seafood by shoplifting a package of crab legs for which he wasn’t quite exonerated but did get temporarily suspended from the baseball team.

He then came back in the fall and makes a loud, profane spectacle of himself and this time – woo-hoo – he’s suspended for one whole game; not even getting the uniform he wasn’t supposed to dress out for on game day dirty at all.

Now he’s facing three more obstacles: an investigation for a Title IX violation, a Florida State disciplinary hearing on the above-mentioned rape allegation, and now comes word a whole cache of autographed sports memorabilia has turned up with Winston’s “John Hancock” scrawled all over them.

Maybe Winston – aka “Famous Jameis” – hasn’t gotten it yet, but it’s the latest one that gets me.

I haven’t been to Florida State’s website, but I’m guessing a Jameis Winston Number-5 jersey (Nike or Spaulding, you pick!) will probably fetch about $90 to $130; kids sizes a little bit less. The school gets a nice split with the manufacturer; the player gets zilch.  The NCAA says that’s okay.

While Winston’s coach, Jimbo Fisher, expressed confidence that his player didn’t accept cash for the signatures, Tarboro’s Todd Gurley has been suspended from the University of Georgia team because he admitted he got $5 per signature for the same thing, and it was the folks who paid him off that actually turned him in!

Former Texas A&M and current NFL Cleveland Browns player Johnny Manziel faced the same circumstances over a year ago.  He missed one-half of one football game and his holding his hands aloft rubbing his fingers together signaling “show me the money” has become his – ahem – signature.

And don’t think he’s not cashing in.

There’s plenty to fault Winston for, and I hope the kid wises up before he foolishly throws away all his financial future, whether in the pros or in life.

But to get nothing in return for your signature while the same university that now wants to kick you out of school rakes in the profit isn’t too defensible in my opinion.

But like I said, I guess I just don’t understand.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.