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By Brandon Lawrence, Assoc. Editor - Email
Immaturity still plaguing Winston
Jameis Winston Jameis Winston has a history of antics that display his poor ability to make decisions.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you're a college football fan and have been wondering when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would make his next idiotic, self-deprecating move, the wait is now over.

Winston, who won college football's Heisman Trophy and led his Seminoles to a national championship win over Auburn last season as a redshirt freshman, has a history of antics that display his poor ability to make decisions.

First, he was under investigation for rape (which he seemed to take pretty lightly). Then he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket this past spring, for which he issued an apology that stated:

"I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach."

Apparently his own words didn't ring true in his mind because his latest slip- up is mind-blowingly stupid and was easily avoidable.

Earlier this week, multiple Florida State students tweeted they saw Winston get up on a table in the middle of Florida State's crowded student union and yell, very loudly, an obscene phrase that stems from a popular Internet meme. Students tweeted, and the website Deadspin reported the story (if you choose to track down Winston's words, be forewarned that they're vulgar).

This latest incident on Winston's part just displays even further the immaturity level of one of the top quarterback prospects in college football. And it shows he still doesn't get what a "public spotlight" really is.

Wake up, Jameis. Anything you do can and will be scrutinized, even in the comfort of Florida State's student union. If you need some further advice about what it means to be in the public eye, just ask Johnny Manziel.

It's easy to sit back and criticize Winston after yet another stupid mistake. But how many times will it take for him to get it right? Even more than that, how can he not realize what is going on in the National Football League right now and relate it to his own actions?

In case you've been blissfully ignorant to the latest sports news in the country, here's what's happening: the NFL has been under a powerful microscope after poorly dealing with the Ray Rice domestic abuse situation. Then soon after the league was hit with the knowledge that one of its star players (and top money makers), Adrian Peterson, was indicted for child abuse charges.

It's a rough time to be involved in public relations in the NFL.

If only Winston could grasp the monumental impact of those negative situations and then relate them to his own behavior, he may be able to understand how his actions look on a grand scale.

There is no good time for any athlete to show his immaturity level by doing something like steal crab legs or yell obscene phrases from a tabletop, but it's especially not a good time when the league in which Winston will soon be a part of is staring adversity right in the face with serious legal and integrity-defining issues.

Image is vastly important in the NFL, and it's the same way at Florida State, which is currently the No. 1-ranked team in college football. When a player does something that could tarnish the school's image or the NFL's image, the institution must do damage control. That was evidenced on Wednesday when Florida State announced it would suspend Winston for the first half of Saturday's (hugely important) matchup with ACC rival Clemson.

Being the starting quarterback on a national championship-winning team and a Heisman Trophy winner doesn't exclude one from acting in a professional manner. In fact, the apology issued by Winston following his shoplifting endeavor says he claims he's aware of the very opposite. Yet he still has trouble staying the course.

I've been to college. I get the social aspect of being independent and making new friends and having a good time. But I wasn't a national athletic icon with cameras, microphones and eyes on me at all times, and I still had preconceived thoughts about what my actions might lead to.

A story was written about Winston's actions by a Yahoo Sports reporter, and he (Pat Forde) contacted one of the students who tweeted out Jameis's public outburst. The student wanted to emphasize to Forde that Winston was simply joking around and trying to get a laugh out of the audience made up of entirely college-aged students. That student (who wished to remain nameless) added he didn't want Winston's actions to get blown out of proportion.

Well, guess what? Because of his celebrity and history, it's impossible for Winston to do anything "silly" without some kind of consequence. There's a difference between if a random college student got up and said what Jameis said versus Jameis doing it himself.

The timing for the future NFL quarterback is horrible, and the incident could possibly hurt his draft stock in the long run. Why would a team want to take a chance on a guy who has continuously proven he can't grow up? Does talent outweigh off-the-field concerns? Ask the Baltimore Ravens or the Minnesota Vikings.

The perception of football players, both in college and at the professional level, is extremely poor at the moment. Winston chose to act on his own volition and hurt his image in the process, not to mention his team in the first half of Saturday's marquee matchup.

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