Jameis Winston reportedly pressured by NFL to not attend draft
A surprising development unfolded earlier in the week when Peter King reported in his “MMQB” column that Jameis Winston doesn’t plan on attending the 2015 NFL Draft.
According to reports, the league may have pressured the possible No. 1 overall selection — to skip the event entirely.
The quarterback’s father, Antonor Winston, later corroborated the original report, saying while the decision “was not set in stone,” the plan as it stands is for Winston to watch the draft — which begins on April 30 at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre –with friends and family in Alabama.
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, after reportedly talking to multiple league sources, indicated on Tuesday that the league may have “put a little bit of pressure” on Winston to not attend the draft.
“The NFL in the aftermath of the everything they’ve dealt with, from Greg Hardy to Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson, — is very much afraid of protests that are going to go along with Jameis Winston being a first-round pick, let alone being the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and essentially being the face of the NFL Draft in 2015,” Cole stated. “So there’s a pragmatic approach here.”
Cole suggests the decision for Winston not to attend the draft is an attempt to mute the possibility of any protests in reaction to several high-profile, controversial incidents that occurred during the quarterback’s time at Florida State.
Cole adds that the parties may have arrived at some kind of an agreement when Winston and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly met for five hours last week. He adds that Winston has done several things since then to maintain a low profile, including dropping his Twitter account.
Several analysts and pundits have suggested that Winston will skipping the draft is a bad look for the league, regardless of whether the decision was made by the quarterback on his own or evolved as a result of the NFL applying pressure on him, even if it stems from an effort to exert preemptive damage control.