by Kent Sterling
Bad news for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rolled in again yesterday as Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended by Florida State for the first half of Saturday’s game against Clemson for jumping on a table and screaming “F**k her right in the p***y!”
Goodell is hiding under his desk while praying the din over Greg Hardy, Adrain Peterson, Ray McDonald, and Ray Rice dies down, and has no culpability in Winston’s latest trip down Knucklehead Road. That’s Florida State’s problem, and is syphoning time from sportstalk radio and ESPN that might otherwise be spent outing the NFL as the most hypocritical and woefully led organization since the League of Nations.
How is that a problem for Goodell?
Because Winston is less than nine months from being a headache of mammoth proportions for the NFL. His predictable random acts of immaturity will bring another series of unwanted weirdness and media coverage for the NFL, and Goodell should see it coming like a tsunami on the horizon.
Those who say Winston doesn’t know who he is miss the point. He knows exactly what and who he is. Sure he keeps getting caught doing stupid things – an accusation of sexual assault, shoplifting crab legs, shrieking obscene phrases – but he is the best player on the best team in college football.
Winston can play football at an elite level at the position most coveted by NFL teams. He is projected to be taken anywhere from fourth to seventh overall in the 2015 mock drafts I track. If Hardy was allowed to play during week one by the Carolina Panthers after being convicted for two counts of assault on a female and communicating threats, Winston is going to be welcomed into the NFL with a parade.
The reason the NFL is in trouble is because Goodell has tried to brand it as the league that refuses to allow idiots to sully the shield when the truth is that any level of societal degeneration is tolerated among the elite because the NFL is about winning. Coaches and general managers are paid to win, not lead a choir of well-groomed schoolboys.
Bad boys toward the bottom of NFL rosters are jettisoned for bad acts with great self-righteousness, but starters who can change games – like Hardy, Peterson, Rice, and McDonald – are tolerated and in most cases praised as “good guys” while the public scratches its collective head.
And so it will be for Winston.
“Just win, baby!” is a phrase made famous by late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, and it means exactly what is says. Whatever the hell you do off the field is cool as long as when you show up on Sunday, you are in condition to win the damn game. That’s an easily understood and honest mission statement!
The current trouble with the NFL is the obvious chasm between the actual goal of NFL franchises and the politically correct high character message contrived by the league. No one with a brain bought it in the first place, but now the writing is in big bold letters even for the average doofus, “If you are really good, you can beat the hell out of a woman or kid – unless sponsors threaten to pull their cash.”
That isn’t to say there aren’t good guys in the NFL. The majority of players are law abiding citizens who would never prey upon women and children, but to portray the NFL shield as chaste and representative of incessant good will and harmony is ludicrous.
Winston knows it, and while his behavior might cause him to slip a couple of spots in the draft and cost him a few hundred thousand bucks, he will be a multi-millionaire star that Goodell will be quizzed about from the day the two are photographed together on Draft Day.
So he jumps on tables, screams obscenities, shoplifts, and maybe even rapes a student. His talents grant him that latitude, and it will continue to.
Fans need to accept it, just as Winston has.