Jimbo Fisher believes Jameis Winston is victim of character assassination

Everyone has an opinion on former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, most of them unfavorable, but his old head coach thinks he’s been a victim of character assassination.

Bring up Jameis Winston and you’re bound to get a flurry of opinions on he 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles.

Winston threw for 7,964 yards with 65 touchdowns in his two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Seminoles and only lost one game in his run under center, but it was his off-the-field behavior that has people talking.

Before Winston became the second freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013, he was accused of sexual assault which followed him throughout his college career and now as he prepares for the NFL Draft where he is the likely No. 1 pick. He was never charged for the crime but that didn’t stop public opinion from believing that not only should be charged, but he was guilty as well.

Winston dodged the sexual assault charge but he remained in the news for all the wrong reasons. He was cited for shoplifting crab legs in a highly publicized moment of stupidity and in another case of stupidity said something inappropriate on campus that resulted in him being suspended for Florida State’s biggest game of the year against Clemson.

No wonder so many people outside of Tallahassee, FL. have an unfavorable opinion of Winston.

Through all of his mistakes Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher has remained Winston’s biggest supporter and hasn’t missed an opportunity to defend him, even now when he’s no longer around to help him win games.

Fisher was on WDAE radio in Tampa, FL. on Friday and asked if Winston has been victimized by the media and had his character assassinated.

“Why is there a question?” Fisher said. “Because of the character assassination that he’s lived through in the media, and the [misinformation] and half-truths that have been printed. What amazes me about this whole process is the unprofessionalism of a lot of major newspapers, and a lot of major outlets that did not report the whole truth of the situation and only slanted it for their own opinion.”

You can never accuse Fisher of not having his player’s back as that is the ultimate statement of a player’s coach who would rather accuse major newspapers and media outlets of doing their job poorly for their own agenda and not admit Winston brought the negative attention on himself.

Winston is made out to be the victim who was unfairly accused of sexual assault, simply forgot to pay for his food at Publix and was a victim of youthful exuberance who was merely quoting an internet meme when he was suspended for the Clemson game.

Fisher has gone to great lengths to defend Winston and it continued in his interview on WDAE when he said he has great character and his silly mistakes were from him just wanting to be normal.

Jameis has great character,” Fisher said. “Did he make mistakes? Yes. Did he make silly mistakes? Yes. I mean, he’s still a 20-year-old kid. He and Johnny Manziel are the only two who have ever gone through that pressure of winning a Heisman [as an underclassman]. Plus, he won a national championship. No one had ever done what he had done.”

Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram and Tim Tebow were all underclassmen who won the Heisman and either won or played for a national championship, but I suppose Fisher was blissfully ignorant of those facts too.

Sure, college kids like Winston make mistakes each day. This is the time when boys and girls develop into men and women, but how many times can Winston’s mistakes and poor choices be blamed on youth?

Fisher recognizes he’s still just 20 years old and he has time to grow up, but the rope won’t be as long in the NFL as it was in college because he’s going to have an even bigger spotlight on him as the No. 1 pick of the draft and face of a franchise. If he wanted to feel like he was normal at Florida State and that feeling attributed to some of his poor decisions, what is going to happen when he has millions of dollars helping him make more poor decisions?

Winston has an opportunity to shed the negative perception that has cast a dark shadow around him for the last year and a half and get a fresh start in the NFL and give a new group of fans a new impression of his character.

He won’t be the first person to enter the league with character concerns and he won’t be the last, but he won’t have Fisher to defend him and the team that drafts him is hoping it won’t be necessary.