Football Gameplan’s Campus Kickoff – He is Twenty!

He is Twenty! Remember Twenty?

Gene Clemons, FBGP Analyst


Do you remember when you were twenty?

You probably felt invincible and powerful, like the world was yours for the taking. You walked with confidence, spoke with a purpose, and pretended that you were listening to the advice of others. You were king of the jungle; queen of the night, and the world had no idea what was about to hit it. You ruled your campus and were looking to spread your empire very soon.

Or, were you invisible? Did you walk in anonymity? Did you hope for the admiration of others or just wish someone would talk to you? You probably thought to yourself that one day you would be seen for who you really are. The campus just didn’t get you but the world would appreciate what you have to bring to the table.

However your college career unfolded, when you were twenty you made some mistakes that you would never want anybody to know about. You did things publicly that were embarrassing but you did them knowing that in college everybody does stupid things. Even the most well adjusted student does things in college that they are not proud of. Research shows that women mature faster than men but female coeds do things that are rather forgettable, so of course men definitely will. Weather you were shy or gregarious in college you did things to either make people pay attention, or to raise/ keep up your status. Maybe we were just duped into doing something stupid. Peer pressure is real and it permeates throughout a college campus.

Imagine living that college life in front of cameras and social media. Imagine growing up in the public eye.

Jameis Winston was suspended yesterday for the first half of Florida State University’s ACC clash against Clemson University. While many might read these words and think that it is apologizing for Winston’s behavior think about this. These words, are not condoning Winston’s actions, they just explain them.

Over the past 24 hours, members of the media and every personal opinion from social media have said similar things.

“He just doesn’t get it.”

“He seems like and entitled punk.”

“He is being enabled.”

“He’s a baby.”

The commentary on social media became much worse than that and won’t be repeated here.

Here’s the truth. Who would get it? Who would not seem entitled? Of course he’s being enabled and yes he is a baby; he’s twenty!

For the record here’s what he has really done.

Let’s assume that he actually shot a BB gun through a window. Okay, many young men have done that. What is that supposed to represent?

He allegedly stole a soda from a fast food restaurant. How?

He was accused, ACCUSED, of sexual assault. He was not charged and therefore his actual crime was having sex with a young woman who had ulterior motives which is simply poor judgment.

He “stole” crab legs from a store but he says he just forget to pay. We can assume he stole them but we can also understand the narrative that he was ‘getting a hookup’ that went wrong. So let’s just file that under bad judgment.

This most recent “transgression” was Winston jumping on a table and screaming an obscenity.

The only thing of concern is the rape allegation because as a young man in the public eye who will soon earn millions of dollars, he has to be aware of women who have dollar signs in their eyes and are looking at Winston as a pay check and not as someone they are genuinely interested in.

Apparently these things have soured people on Winston. Mel Kiper dropped Winston from #3 to #25 on his big board. Did he become a worse football player because he screamed obscenities?

He’s been growing up in the public eye. Between the ages of 17-20 have been spent on ESPN and every other major sports outlet. Let’s remember, other the talented youngsters hitting speed bumps as they grew up in the public eye. Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Robert Downey Jr., Drew Berrymore, all had a long list of transgression or bad decisions while growing up in the public eye and that list goes on and on.

When we screwed up we apologized and said we would do better but inevitably we screwed up again. The key was to not make the same mistake twice. That’s what Winston is doing; he’s going through normal growing pains that are being lived out in the public eye. Just because he is not progressing to adulthood at the rate that others want him do doesn’t make him a bad guy, it just makes him human.

We can be disappointed in a person’s actions without turning our back on that person. Before you make a determination on Winston’s character, just imagine if we were judged on what we did at age 20. Wow!

Questions? Comments?

Twitter: @geneclemons



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