Even though he is now with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston can’t seem to shake away critics in Tallahassee. In this case, it’s longtime FSU coach and Hall of Famer Bobby Bowden.
Speaking to Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network, Bowden was blunt about just how he felt about the former Heisman Trophy winner and reigning first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
"I think it's a consensus among FSU fans and boosters that he was an embarrassment to the University" – Bobby Bowden on Jameis Winston
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 12, 2015
Excuse me? With all due respect to the 85-year-old Bowden, who went 304-97-4 in 34 seasons with Florida State and took home two national championships and 12 ACC conference titles, his words are completely unfounded.
Jameis Winston is a lot of things, but to say that the fans and boosters view him as an embarrassment is a stretch.
Don’t get me wrong. Winston’s time in Tallahassee was anything but perfect, and I’ve been one of the harshest critics regarding his character. From his allegedly shoplifting crab legs to then claiming that they were a gift to the well-publicized accusations of sexual assault, both by the state and the “Code of Conduct” hearing held by the university, he definitely isn’t the ideal All-American, squeaky clean athlete that generations past and present have admired throughout history.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that when push comes to shove, Winston did more to put FSU back on the map than any other Seminoles quarterback in recent years, with all due respect to Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel.
In two seasons not only did Winston win a Heisman, but he was instrumental in Florida State winning the 2014 BCS National Championship Game and bringing the team close to another one this year.
That all being said, if fans and boosters thought Winston an embarrassment to the university, then why did they keep coming to the games and cheering him and the rest of the team on? Why didn’t they make more of a push for him to be dismissed from the program? Why didn’t they flat out boycott the team until he was off of it?
Considering how Winston was cleared by both the State of Florida and FSU, the next question presents itself.
Just where are Bowden’s coming from? Maybe he’s upset at the program for basically forcing him out a year before he planned to retire, or is angry at himself for not ending his FSU career on the highest of notes and is just misdirecting it.
Regardless of why he said that, the fact of the matter is that Bowden’s comment about Winston’s image at FSU are both unfounded and unjustified. Here’s a young man who is probably the best Seminoles quarterback since the days of either Charlie Ward or Chris Weinke and while his public image is definitely not ideal compared to the majority of college athletes, to flat out say that people thinking him an embarrassment is the “consensus” view is both puzzling and inappropriate.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports