by Kent Sterling
Reporting on a story like the sexual assault investigation of Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston is one of the many things the media does not do very well these days.
We want the truth and we want it right the hell now! But the truth doesn’t always emerge on the media’s timetable.
No one but Winston and the victim know the truth what really happened right now, and like most events, the recounting of the events from that night nearly one year ago are likely to be very different – even if the two do their best to be objective in their account.
The police are looking into the allegations, and it’s unlikely that any resolution will come prior to the end of the season or the awarding of the Heisman. The police can only surmise whose truth is supported more by the evidence, and to this point there hasn’t been enough to indict Winston.
Society’s hope should be that the police and district attorney in Tallahassee were not moved by the fame of the accused in not zealously pursuing the truth. Everyone legally wronged should have at their disposal a motivated force that seeks justice.
If the police don’t know, the media sure as hell doesn’t know. That won’t keep it from proffering opinions, seeking witnesses, or pursuing those who claim unique insight. Media consumers requiring sustenance will continue seeking portals talking about Famous Jameis and his not-yet-alleged actions of December 7, 2012.
The job of the media is to provide regular feedings, and we (including the supposed victim and supposed attacker) deserve a more restrained approach to journalism when reputations are at stake.
Let the police do their jobs, and try to the best of its ability to figure out what happened. If there is an arrest and trial, it will be impossible for the media to resist ridiculous in-depth coverage and inane analysis.
No one knows enough to judge whether Winston fits the profile of the pampered athlete who couldn’t take no for an answer, or if the victim is really a victim. Inferring facts not in evidence does no one any good, and neither does championing Winston’s cause out of greed for a BCS National Championship Game berth.
We’ll hear blather from attorneys claiming all sorts of things to try to steer public opinion, but we know they can’t be trusted.
This is not an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” It’s real life, and the process should be allowed to move forward at the plodding and sure pace that serves it best.
The victim deserves that, and so does Winston.