Jameis Winston: People ‘try to dehumanize me’ and ‘view me as a convict’
Jameis Winston, despite numerous reports emerging of late perhaps indicating otherwise, has long been viewed as the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, presumably by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Doubts have crept in, however, regarding concern that the former Florida State quarterback, while possessing all the skills a team looks for in a potential franchise quarterback, might be unable to handle the demands and rigors of being an NFL superstar off the field. Winston’s own attorney even suggested last week that the quarterback currently lacks the maturity to handle the rigors of being an NFL quarterback, at least off the field.
Winston opens up about how he is perceived by his critics in a wide-ranging and extensive interview with Kurt Streeter for an upcoming profile in ESPN The Magazine.
The 21-year-old argues that he has been characterized and treated unfairly by his critics. His insistence that he has been pigeonholed for his indiscretions comes despite several high-profile transgressions that attracted nationwide attention to his actions in Tallahassee, some of which included a citation for shoplifting crab legs, being reprimanded for screaming obscenities in the campus union and obviously the sexual assault allegations.
Tackling the loud recitation of an Internet meme head-on, Winston downplays it as youthful stupidity.
“I was with my friends,” he said. “I was quoting — it was a meme. Like it’s just something people say, and me being, wanting the attention, I burst it out. I got a bunch of laughs. You know, that’s childish, but I did it. I’m going to own that. That was stupid.”
Winston later argues that many of his critics are arguably engaging in the act of character assassination.
“So many people try to dehumanize me,” he said. “They say, ‘Off-field issues.’ They say, ‘The sexual allegation stuff.’ People view me as a convict, and I didn’t even do nothing. People say, ‘How does he play like this and all this stuff going on?’ Like by me playing well during that adversity, that made people think about me worse, thinking I’m a sociopath.”
Whether or not the supposed warning signals are deemed serious enough for the Buccaneers to pass on Winston and opt for the arguably “safer” Marcus Mariota will have to wait until April 30.