Orlando Sentinel columnist David Whitley discusses FSU's Jameis Winston. (Video from Fox35)
Parents say the darndest things.
This week’s winner is Antonor Winston, father of FSU quarterback Jameis. He told USA Today that the school has failed his son by not providing round-the-clock supervision. In fact, the school “dropped the ball” in not preparing Jameis for life after the Heisman.
“He’s supposed to have somebody around him 24/7,” Winston said. “He’s a Heisman Trophy winner, so (he’s) definitely not supposed to be by (himself).”
I’d like to give Mr. Winston the benefit of the doubt and posit that he may have been taken out of context. It seems more likely that he’s been blinded by a father’s devotion. That’s understandable, but unconditional love is not doing his son any favors.
What young Mr. Winston needs is to learn to take responsibility. Not have some babysitter tail him 24 hours a day making sure he doesn’t embarrass himself.
What would that daily schedule look like, anyway?
7:30 a.m. – Get Jameis out of bed, assuming he made it there from the night before.
8:45 a.m. – Escort Jameis to class. Make sure he has a new Sharpie to sign autographs along the way.
Noon – Accompany Jameis to lunch. If it’s at Burger King, do not allow him more than 13 soda re-fills per manager’s request.
2 p.m. – Clean Jameis’ BB gun while he’s at practice. Check latest ballistics report from Tallahassee Police Department to make sure no windows have been shot out in vicinity.
4 p.m. – Drop autographed footballs and jerseys by TPD in appreciation for its yeoman’s work in sexual assault case.
8:30 p.m. – In case Jameis gets the munchies, tell him to open a can of tuna from the pantry instead of going out for crab legs.
10:15 – Intercept all calls from teammates asking Jameis to join them at Potbelly’s bar.
It certainly sounds like a full-time job. I wonder if it has health care and a 401k. And if so, who would pay for it?
Antonor Winston apparently believes FSU should pony up. Never mind the NCAA would probably consider babysitting services an unauthorized extra benefit. What does it say about the person who needs one?
According to Winston, it says Heisman Trophy winners are under nearly unbearable scrutiny.
“It’s just a different standard for (Jameis) and Johnny (Manziel),” he said. “He’s got to endure, just make better decisions and he’s got to endure that.”
Granted, almost none of us know what it’s like to live under a Heisman microscope. But come on, how hard is it to know it’s not a good idea to get into BB gun battles, make scenes at Burger Kings and steal dinner from Publix?
“When I get older we gone laugh at this petty stuff. IM GOOD that’s all that matters ignore minor comments or people that ain’t livin MY life.”
That’s from a text message Jameis sent his father after getting suspended from the baseball team. First, there’s nothing laughably petty about having the district attorney investigate you for sexual assault. As for the other stuff, it’s the repetition that matters.
The pattern of foolishness shows a guy who still doesn’t get it. He knows the world is watching his every step, yet it’s the world’s fault for making a big deal out of his missteps. Then it’s FSU’s fault for protecting Jameis from himself?
Sure, the actions of a Heisman Trophy winner are wildly magnified. But I don’t recall Tim Tebow needing a babysitter to make sure he didn’t “forget” to pay for dinner at Publix.
OK, it’s not fair to compare anyone to Saint Timothy when it comes to upstanding behavior. But Winston needs to drop the naiveté defense. He’s 20 years old. That may not be old enough to drink (unless you’re a customer at Potbelly’s, apparently), but it’s old enough to act like an adult.
There are 20-year-olds leading platoons in Afghanistan. Surely young Mr. Winston can lead himself around campus without needing somebody to put out fires behind him.
As for Antonor, he obviously taught Jameis some valuable lessons growing up. But when it comes to owning up and learning from mistakes, you have to wonder if he dropped the ball.
David Whitley can be reached at email@example.com. Or you can follow him on Twitter at @DavidEWhitley.