At Florida State, Football Clouds Justice By MIKE McINTIRE and WALT BOGDANICHIsn’t this the central plot for Tom Wolfe’s old novel “A Man in Full” — a white coed at a southern college accuses the black Heisman trophy winner, Fareek “The Canon” Fanon, of rape, and the local power structure, white and black, mobilizes to make this scandal go away? But who can remember a Tom Wolfe novel? They are so 20th Century. It’s almost as if Wolfe was intentionally pointing out how the modern Southern White Male Power structure dotes on black athletes, even at the expense of their own daughters’ safety. 21st Century minds don’t deal well with irony. It makes them uncomfortable.
… Last year, the deeply flawed handling of a rape allegation against the quarterback Jameis Winston drew attention to institutional failures by law enforcement and Florida State officials. The accuser’s lawyer complained that detectives had seemed most interested in finding reasons not to pursue charges against Mr. Winston, a prized recruit who went on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead his team to a national championship.
Now, an examination by The New York Times of police and court records, along with interviews with crime witnesses, has found that, far from an aberration, the treatment of the Winston complaint was in keeping with the way the police on numerous occasions have soft-pedaled allegations of wrongdoing by Seminoles football players. From criminal mischief and motor-vehicle theft to domestic violence, arrests have been avoided, investigations have stalled and players have escaped serious consequences.
In reality, the big opportunity in college football is always to scrape further down toward the bottom of the cognitive and behavioral barrel for football players who have no business being turned loose on a coed college campus. Everybody wants to recruit the Andrew Lucks, but not every university can handle the pressure of assembling a mob of scholar athletes who are destined to score in the single digits on their NFL Combine Wonderlic tests.