The annual pre-Heisman press conference in New York City got a little awkward on Friday afternoon as Florida State handlers temporarily cut off quarterback Jameis Winston from fielding questions after the Heismn favorite received a couple queries related to the aftermath of the investigation into his alleged involvement in a sexual assault case.
When asked about what he had learned from the experience of being accused — but ultimately not charged — with a serious felony, Winston answered “It was stressful, but I’ve got to look forward. There’s a lot to learn from it. I’m focused on the future. I love my college experience.”
Another reporter asked Winston to elaborate and that’s when Seminoles associate sports information director Kerwin Lonzo sternly interjected that “(Winston’s) only talking about football and the Heisman.”
After one more reporter asked a tangential question, Lonzo interrupted again: “Next question,” he said.
The exchange caused some consternation among the assembled media.
Dumb PR strategy by Florida State to cut off non-football questions before a direct one got asked. Now it’ll be asked after he wins.—
Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) December 13, 2013
Wow. FSU sports info just pulled Winston out before 2nd half of media session, said he was done. Tim Jansen also was here FWIW—
Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 13, 2013
Winston got 3 questions that were somewhat related to the investigation before FSU media cut that line off.—
Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) December 13, 2013
To Lonzo’s credit, he brought Winston back to face media again and the freshman did a great job handling the spotlight. About the investigation he said: “I knew I could respect the process and I’d eventually be vindicated.”
Winston is one of six finalists in New York for the Heisman ceremony that takes place on Saturday night. He is expected to become the third FSU player to win the prestigious trophy.