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Bizarre Scene In Tallahassee

Questions of guilt or innocence were forgotten when the charges against Florida State's Jameis Winston were dropped.

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We can't think of a suitable caption for something this stupid
We can't think of a suitable caption for something this stupid
Tallahassee Democrat-USA TODAY S

To us, the most interesting part of Wednesday's press conference dealing with allegations against Jameis Winston was this, and we can't find the exact quote, but essentially the prosecutor said "no one will be charged" in the case.

Now that's interesting, because no one had previously even come close to suggesting charges against anyone other than Winston. Who? An accomplice? The accuser? That was just sort of left hanging.

The second worst part of cases like these is that there's such ambiguity. The worst part?

The idiots who don't think things through. In Durham, they were the supporters of the woman who accused the lacrosse team who were so eager to send innocent young men to jail for supposed crimes which, really, came down to their class and cultural identities.

In Tallahassee so far, the idiots are on the other side, including the dolts who paraded shirtless outside the press conference with the letters of the quarterback's first name on their chests. Check out the first paragraph from USA Today's story, which really sums the scene up perfectly:

"By the end of the day, there had been awkward banter and inappropriate laughter in a news conference with the state prosecutor, shirtless Florida State fans loitering in front of the courthouse while doing the Tomahawk chop, a reporter asking whether this had all been an Alabama conspiracy, a defense attorney who could have been flagged for excessive celebration and an athletic department ready to move on as if nothing significant had happened over the previous three weeks."

We don't presume to know whether he's guilty or innocent. We don't know whether the accuser is telling the truth or not. How could anyone else possibly know?

But what we do know is this: when football, or any sport, becomes so important that stuff like this happens, then things are out of whack.

The reality of this situation is probably pretty simple: either Winston forced himself on a drunk girl or she, for reasons known only to herself, lied when she said he did.

Whatever the truth here is, there's not a lot for the public to celebrate and a fair amount of which to be ashamed.

When Fatty Arbuckle was aquitted of rape in the 1920s, his debauched behavior ruined his career. Now, when Winston's roommate says he came in the room hoping to have sex with the woman as well, it doesn't even register. The idolization of the Athlete allows almost anything.

In a way, this is the truly great shame of what has happened at UNC. Dr. William C. Friday, who very nearly killed the basketball program in the light of the McGuire era scandal, insisted on integrity and was more than willing to tolerate losing to make the point.

He was the focal point of what became known as the UNC Way.

Now, with significant academic fraud and a professor under indictment in the case, Dr. Friday's effort to place UNC well above the typical southern state university is essentially negated.

At Florida State, there is no pause to even consider the possibility that Winston might have gotten away with something horrible. Instead, there's celebration, and practice. There is a football game Saturday after all.

And in Chapel Hill, rather than emulate Dr. Friday, the university, by declining to put athletics in a proper perspective, is mocking him and everything he tried to instill.

The Winston story, disturbing though it is, is at root about one person deeply wronging another and a depressingly sick side show. The UNC story is about a university which seems determined to collectively and systematically betray its greatest champion and the integrity he restored.