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A Follow Up To Our Recent Post On Florida State, Jameis Winston, And Tallahassee Justice

We're all supposed to be equal under the law, which works well until you accuse a star quarterback of a crime.

Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston after winning the ACC Championship
Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston after winning the ACC Championship
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After our comments about Florida State's rather eventful football season, highlighted by an accusation of rape against start quarterback Jameis Winston  we got quite a bit of feedback from FSU fans, most of which boiled down to two basic things: prove it and why don't you give the money back if you don't like it.

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As far as "proving it" goes, it's very unlikely, barring a surprising change of heart from one of his roommates or new evidence - say the lost video (see below) - that Winston will ever be tried for rape.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that he's innocent. And the reason we'll probably never know is the incompetence - at a minimum - of the Tallahassee authorities.

Consider how justice failed in Tallahassee:

  • The woman reported the alleged assault on December 7th, on the night it allegedly happened.
  • Her friends reported she was hysterical.
  • Bruises began to appear during the police interview.
  • Semen was found on her underwear.
  • Her account fits a pattern which suggests a date rape drug may have been used.
  • The urine was tested for date rape drugs, but the blood was not.
  • Investigator Scott Angulo waited until January 17th to send blood and urine samples to the crime lab.
  • The accuser's attorney asked for assurances and proof that the blood and urine were stored and identified properly. She never received that. It's not entirely clear that the samples can be identified at all. It appears that no one can even conclusively say that the samples weren't tampered with.
  • Angulo took two months to write the first report,
  • Angulo worked privately for the Seminole Boosters - a massive conflict of interest. That he was allowed to work the case is a scandal in itself.
  • Critical evidence was lost or never obtained, most importantly a video which a roommate took which might have revealed whether the accuser was a willing participant, or, perhaps, might indicate that she was not fully aware of what happened (she reported spotty memories of the evening and told her friends that she thought she might have been raped, which are classic symptoms of someone who has ingested a date rape drug).
  • After the accuser ID'd Winston, Angulo, rather than confronting him personally, waited for two weeks, then had his assistant call him.
  • The authorities initially neglected to check Winston's DNA against the semen-stained underwear (it was later determined to be his).
  • Angulo dropped the case and didn't inform the accuser (or her attorney) that he had done so.
  • The prosecutor confirmed shortcomings in the police investigation.

As for returning the money, it's smug and fatuous: nobody gave us any money. How could we return it? That said, would it bother us if Duke or any ACC school did? No. It'd be refreshing.

As far as Jimbo Fisher goes...Remember when Makhtar N'Dayie accused a Utah player of using the N word? Remember what Rick Majerus did? For monomaniacal FSU fans, he was a basketball coach, and when his player was unjustly accused, he said he'd resign if there was a word of truth to it. The controversy ended with that statement. Majerus knew his player would never had done it. N'Daiye was forced to issue an apology.

Fisher, by contrast, has walked out when he's been questioned, been angry and hostile. He's relied, like a lot of FSU fans, on the fact that Winston hasn't been charged. That's true, as we discussed above. But because of the way the TPD handled this case, he also hasn't been exonerated and probably never will be.

And whatever you may think of his accuser, she had a case with at least some circumstantial evidence and possibly more. Any citizen who makes an allegation this serious should have it investigated with a corresponding seriousness. That her case was treated with such contempt, and that so many Florida State fans take that as an indication of Jameis Winston's innocence, tells you what you need to know about Florida State and Tallahassee.