According to the National Football League (NFL), “of the 9,000 players that make it to the college level, only 310 are invited to the NFL scouting combine, the pool from which teams make their draft picks.”
Not only do players need to be highly skilled on the football field to make an NFL roster, but also their actions off the field are just as important, if not more important in order to be seriously considered by professional football teams.
It seems as though Jameis Winston, quarterback for Florida State University (FSU), the university that won the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Championship last year, has not fully grasped the concept of what NFL scouts are looking for in a pro quarterback. The former Heisman trophy winner appears to have the skill to be a competitive NFL contender, but does he have the ability to make the right choices off of the field as well?
Jameis Winston was suspended from last week’s Clemson game for shouting a vulgar phrase at the student union. Deadspin, an online sports blog, was the first to report the careless incident after numerous witnesses tweeted about the situation.
Initially, it was reported that Winston would only be suspended for the first half of the game.Later on, the football staff at FSU felt it would be more appropriate to suspend him for the entire game.There was some backlash from FSU fans, saying that the punishment was too severe.
From a fan’s perspective, of course you would not want the star quarterback to be benched.However, how could the coaching staff not punish him for at least one game, if not more? Winston deserved to sit out. If no disciplinary action was taken, what else would the athletes on the FSU football team think they could get away with? “Sometimes football players think they are above the law. They act in a manner where they don’t think consequences will follow,” said Lourenzo Smith, a senior football player at Fordham. Therefore, the way in which the coaching staff handles these small behavioral situations is a direct reflection of its football program and university as a whole.
Surprisingly enough, this is not the first time that Winston has been scrutinized for an incident. Last year he was accused of sexual assault. And more recently, in April, Winston was accused of stealing $32 worth of crab legs at a local grocery store.While it is easy for football players to act carelessly and have a “big man on campus” mentality, it is of the utmost importance to stay humble and maintain a positive image, especially for high profile athletes.
When Winston’s college career is said and done, even though the public may remember how great of a player he was, his reputation off of the field will continue to haunt him forever. Could Winston’s actions off the field affect his chances of being drafted? Possibly. Will NFL teams think twice before adding him to their roster? Absolutely. Current and future athletes should use Winston’s reputation as a blueprint of how not to conduct oneself. While football is a game, life is certainly not.
Cody Sims, FCRH ’15, is a communication and media studies major from Oakland, California.