Jameis Winston gives NFL teams another red flag

AP

Based purely on his talent for playing the quarterback position, Florida State’s Jameis Winston should be a lock to be a first-round draft pick. On ability alone, Winston is probably a better prospect than Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater, the three first-round picks in this year’s NFL draft.

And yet Winston has shown himself so incapable of staying out of trouble that there are real questions about whether any NFL team would want him to be the face of its franchise.

The latest question came today, when Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher announced that Winston will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s big game against Clemson. Winston’s latest offense is that he stood up in a crowded area of the Florida State campus and screamed, “F–k her right in the pu–y.” He apparently thought that was funny because that phrase has been spoken on some viral videos, and some pranksters have managed to say it on live television.

If this were Winston’s first offense, it might be written off as a sophomoric joke. But it’s far from the first offense for Winston, who was accused of raping a fellow Florida State student in a case that led to no criminal charges but a subsequent investigation into whether the school and the local police botched their handling of the matter. Winston was also previously suspended from the school’s baseball team for shoplifting. There’s a widespread belief that Winston just doesn’t get how a high-profile athlete is supposed to conduct himself.

Whenever Winston enters the NFL draft (he still has two more seasons of NCAA eligibility after this year), he’s going to face a great deal of scrutiny — less about what kind of player he is than about what kind of person he is. Winston’s personal conduct may end up costing him millions of dollars.