Promising changes to the behavior fo the football program, Florida State University president John Thrasher took it upon himself to meet with the players in person earlier this week. His meeting with the football program followed a team meeting led by head coach Jimbo Fisher, in which players were banned from entering bars. Thrasher took a few steps of his own to help ensure Florida State players do not get in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Florida State football players will be required to take a course focusing on social responsibilities. The program will also add a new position on the staff in the compliance department to focus solely on student-athlete development, and Florida State will bring in special speakers to address the team. Thrasher explained how his meeting with the football team ended, via The Tallahassee Democrat;
“The final thing I did was I stood up in front of them and I said, ‘Are there any leaders in here? Are there any leaders in here?’ ” Thrasher said.
Maybe 10 players initially stood, including redshirt junior kicker Roberto Aguayo.
Thrasher took another step toward the team and raised his voice.
“I said, ‘Are there any leaders in here?’ I shouted it,” Thrasher said.
“And every one of them stood up. And I said, ‘Are you with me? Do you understand the consequences, the concerns? Are you going to help us get through this?’ And every one of them said, ‘Yes sir.’ ”
If nothing else, Florida State’s leadership is stepping up to help generate a positive culture in the program, but as always it will remain the responsibility fo the players to take care of their actions when away from the football field. Florida State’s leaders can only do so much. It is the players that must take from the lessons being taught to them.
On Friday Florida State president John Thrasher issued a statement that called for head coach Jimbo Fisher to meet with the football program following a week of troubling headlines tied to the program. On Saturday Fisher did just that, issuing a ban on players attending bars in the process. On Monday, Thrasher took manners into his own hands and addressed the football program himself.
“In light of recent off-field incidents, I reiterated to our players that they simply cannot put themselves in situations that reflect poor behavior or cause harm to others,” a public statement from Thrasher read on Florida State’s official website after the meeting. “They must remember that playing football for FSU is a privilege, not a right. The actions of a few have the capacity to do serious damage to the reputation of our entire university.”
“I told them their coaches, the Athletics administration and I will do all we can to support them and help them learn the values we expect them to uphold,” Thrasher added. “But they will be held accountable for their actions.”
Florida State dismissed quarterback De’Andre Johnson from the program after security video footage surfaced of him punching a woman in a bar. Running back Dalvin Cook was suspended for allegedly punching a woman several times in a separate incident just one day after Johnson’s incident.
“We need to do better,” Thrasher said in his public statement, echoing the words from Fisher’s statement on Friday. “[A]nd I want to assure you changes will be made to address these concerns.”
In the latest attempt to move on from the off-field drama surrounding now former quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida State University has formally asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by Winston’s accuser. The lawsuit against the university’s board of trustees, filed in January, arguing that university officials were aware of an alleged sexual harassment that led to a hostile environment should be dismissed for a lack of proof Florida State was responsible for the alleged harassment of Winston’s accuser, the university argues.
“Florida State University has no tolerance for sexual harassment of any kind, so being adverse to a former student and alleged sexual assault victim is an unwelcome position for the university,” a statement from Florida State president John Thrasher reads (via Tomahawk Nation). “Yet, we have no choice but to respond to her allegations of deliberate indifference in the strongest terms because the facts in the case do not support her account. If the court does not dismiss this complaint, FSU will look forward to setting the record straight by establishing the extensive assistance Erica Kinsman received from the university. The public must have full confidence in our commitment to protect and care for all our students.”
A statement filed with the request to the judge claims the media’s reporting of the story led to “an Internet and social media backlash,” which in fairness it did. Sometimes the story was used as a springboard to other stories involving Florida State and local authorities, the legitimacy of either quick to be put under a microscope. The university claims this media firestorm was beyond containment and was not ignited by the university.
Winston is entering the NFL Draft and is expected to be one of the top picks taken off the board this year. Winston has already been legally cleared in the investigation by authorities into the alleged assault, and the university found no evidence to punish him in its own code of conduct hearing.