Problem child

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere

You would think that winning a Heisman Trophy and orchestrating a game-winning drive in a tension-filled national championship game would mature a player.

You would think that being able to stand up to the pressure, expectations and pure magnitude of those moments would transcend sports and make that player a better man but apparently, you'd be wrong.

In the past year, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has won the Heisman Trophy, led the Seminoles to their first national title in 15 years and has them currently ranked at the top of all the major polls.

In the sport of college football, he is a giant. But off the field, he's still a little kid in a 6-foot-4, 230-pound body, a little kid that needs to grow up fast.

Everyone thought that he would have his awakening and transform into a perfect angel after dodging a rape charge last year.

Florida State's run for a title and Winston's run to New York for the Heisman almost never happened. Instead of staring at over 90,000 fans in the Rose Bowl, he almost ended up staring at bars inside of a jail cell.

The rape allegations surfaced along with the sloppiness and futility of the investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department. For lack of evidence, no charges ended up being filed.

However, there were huge questions surrounding the incident, questions that eventually led to cries of impropriety and coverup.

Those cries were supported by an April New York Times piece that revealed that Officer Scott Angulo--who investigated the incident--just so happened to work for Seminole Boosters, the primary financier of Florida State athletics.

And since then, by the way of Title IX, a new investigation has been launched.

That should have scared Winston straight, but it didn't. Since then, he has continued to do juvenile things that show that he just doesn't get it.

A few months back, a incident from 2012 came to light that featured Winston and his friends having a BB gun "battle" that resulted in $4,200 worth of damages to their apartment.

And on the same day, Winston and teammate Chris Casher rode around a campus bike trail shooting at squirrels. After students saw them and thought the gun was real, the police were called to the scene.

A cop held the men at gunpoint and handcuffed them until he found out it was just a pellet gun.

No, it's not the crime of the century, but it's something you surely wouldn't expect from a grown man that's playing football at Florida State.

Last spring, Winston was cited for shoplifting after he grabbed a bag of crab legs and casually walked out of the store without paying for them.

Of course, he told the cops he just forgot to pay, but a surveillance video shows that he took the crabs and nothing else and walked right past the registers without a second thought.

Winston, a two-way athlete, was suspended from the baseball team for five whole days.

And just last week, Winston inexplicably decided to stand on a table in the middle of the Florida State Student Union and shout an obscene phrase that I can't display in this article.

Now, I'm not familiar with the student union at Florida Sate but if it's anything like the one at LSU, he was probably shouting this in front of hundreds of people.

As a result, the school suspended Winston for the Seminoles' close win against Clemson.

Maybe he's just oblivious to the responsibility of representing his school and the distinguished Heisman fraternity. Maybe he has the disorder Jack (RIP Robin Williams) had and he's just a fifth-grader in a man's body.

I don't know, but he's in desperate need of some changes.

Early on, many came to his aid and defended him by using the "he's just a kid" argument.

I'm sorry, but that defense went out of the window the moment he hoisted that Heisman Trophy.

He's not just a kid anymore. Whether he likes it or not, he has responsibilities that the other 20-year-olds on his team don't have. He has to conduct himself to a standard that his 20-year-old teammates don't have to meet.

He is the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. He is the face of Florida State University.

It's not a good look to have the face of your school riding around shooting squirrels on campus. It's not a good look to have the face of your school being accused of rape.

It's not a good look to have the face of your school shoplifting. It's not a good look to have the face of your school standing on a table in the middle of the student union yelling a XXX-rated phrase.

It's a standard youngsters with the world in their palms have a tough time dealing with, but it's just the nature of the beast. Johnny Manziel had to deal with the same thing two years ago.

Some of these acts Winston has been linked to, they're not earth-shattering; they're not crimes against humanity, but they are crimes against common sense. They're crimes of stupidity.

They're things that you would expect from some 16-year-old in the midst of his junior year in high school. You certainly wouldn't expect it from a 20-year-old Heisman winner with a championship ring on his finger.

But then again, what do you expect when each childish act is met with the school repeatedly turning a blind eye or lightly slapping him on the wrist?