Last weekend, the father of Jameis Winston created a mini-maelstrom when he suggested that his son is “supposed to have somebody around him 24/7” and that, inexplicably, “[he’s] definitely not supposed to be by [himself]” as if he’s some type of Heisman-winning toddler.
Thursday, Winston’s head coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about the father’s assumption that somebody should, essentially, be babysitting the 20-year-old redshirt sophomore 24/7/365. To Fisher’s credit, he put more of the onus on the player than on the football program or his family.
“To keep someone on somebody 24 hours a day is a very difficult situation,” Fisher told the Palm Beach Post. “You enable them if you’re not careful. You still have to be responsible for your own actions.
“We will always monitor our players and we have to monitor him more because he does get more attention. But at the same time he has to be his own man and be able to do the things he has to do.”
Personal responsibility and accountability? What a concept, especially when it comes to the most recognizable player in not only your program but in college football as a whole. During his brief time in Tallahassee, Winston’s had four run-ins with the law. While most were relatively innocuous, one painted the player and the university in a very negative light even as no charges were filed.
Following “crabgate” and his baseball suspension late last month, Winston allowed that he was “in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach,” adding in a statement of apology that “I must realize that my mistakes are magnified and can bring great embarrassment to all those who support me every day.” According to Fisher, that pretty much summed up his message to the quarterback in the aftermath of his latest caper.
“‘You have to be aware of what you are and what’s going on and you can’t make those mistakes anymore because you carry a huge burden. You’re the face of our university. You’re the face of our football team,’” Fisher said he told Winston.
“I do not think it was malicious but that same time we do not take it lightly. It has to be taken care of, it has to be addressed and it can’t happen.”
Unfortunately for both Winston and Fisher, the scrutiny and harsh light under which the Florida State quarterback resides are only going to get hotter and brighter. Whether Winston can rein in himself and his non-malicious ways for eight more months before (likely) heading off to the NFL remains to be seen.