Jameis Winston has been benched for the first half of Saturday’s game against Clemson after making “offensive and vulgar” comments about women, and Florida State officials say that the quarterback will undergo internal discipline.
The decision was announced Wednesday in a joint statement by Florida State interim President Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox. Several students tweeted Winston stood on campus Tuesday and shouted a lascivious comment about female anatomy that may have derived from an internet meme.
The president and AD said: “As the university’s most visible ambassadors, student-athletes at Florida State are expected to uphold at all times high standards of integrity and behavior that reflect well upon themselves, their families, coaches, teammates, the Department of Athletics and Florida State University. Student-athletes are expected to act in a way that reflects dignity and respect for others.”
The 20-year-old Winston addressed his inappropriate comments before Wednesday’s practice at his weekly news conference, saying: “I have to tone it down.”
The Heisman Trophy winner read a statement in which he added: “I just want to apologize to my university, my coaches and my teammates. I’m not a me person, but in that situation it was a selfish act. That’s not how you do things. I really want to apologize to my teammates because I have now made a selfish act for them.”
Winston’s latest poor off-field decision comes when Florida State is under scrutiny.
Florida State is currently under investigation by the Department of Education for the way it handles reports of sexual assault, including a case involving Winston. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a FSU student who says Winston assaulted her in 2012.
A Florida State Attorney declined to press charges against Winston last fall.
A lawyer for the woman says the university is currently conducting its own investigation of that incident.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher had said earlier Wednesday that the quarterback would be held accountable for his “derogatory” remarks.
“It’s not something we want or we’re indicative of and it’s not a good decision,” Fisher said. “It was something that has to be addressed.
“You can’t make certain statements that are derogatory or inflammatory in any way toward any person, race, gender,” said Fisher, whose top-ranked Seminoles host No. 22 Clemson on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown. “The statements in which you make are always going to be made more public than statements that other individuals make,” the Fisher said. “And that’s just the nature of the business of who you are and what you are. That’s the situation it is and you have to understand that.”
Winston is no stranger to unwanted attention.
While playing for Florida State baseball team, he was suspended for three games and completed 20 hours of community service after acknowledging he stole $32 worth of crab legs from a local grocery store in April. He faced criticism nationwide and was the subject of taunts and jokes in print, online and on social media.