NYT on Jameis Winston, FSU, TPD investigation

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

You can read the article here.

I've read through the article this morning and am surprised, given the amount of hype that the article was receiving around town, that it contains no new bombshell facts or allegations about the investigation. There are some new facts about some peripheral issues and the Tallahassee Police Department's handling of unrelated cases. It's well done, and long, but from an author who has received multiple Pulitzer Prizes, I was expecting more fruits from his investigative journalism. It is almost exclusively a rehash of facts with comments from interested parties connected to the accuser.

The most interesting detail I could find was that a different woman sought counseling after a sexual encounter with Jameis Winston, but did not call the event a rape, and she did not say "no."

"A month before the rape accusation became public, the university’s victim advocate learned that a second woman had sought counseling after a sexual encounter with Mr. Winston, according to the prosecutor’s office. The woman did not call it rape — she did not say "no." But the encounter, not previously reported, "was of such a nature that she felt violated or felt that she needed to seek some type of counseling for her emotions about the experience," according to Georgia Cappleman, the chief assistant state attorney, who said she had spoken with the advocate but not with the woman."

Though that account and opinion is third- or fourth-hand, at best, it is concerning and potentially damaging to Winston's reputation.

This piece will get the New York Times a lot of clicks from people who have not followed the case, and reading it without context, including:

  • statements from the school, from Winston's previous legal team, from the police;
  • that the accuser gave several different, inconsistent accounts in multiple interviews with police;
  • That Greg Dent, a player of more notoriety at the time of his alleged incident than Winston was at the time of his, was arrested and is being tried for rape without any suggestion of police impropriety or favoritism;
  • that a second semen sample was also found;
  • that the accuser cut off contact with and declined to cooperate with police (USA Today, November 27) ;
  • that her blood sample was tested three times for drugs, including once by an FBI lab, and none were found,
  • That Travis Johnson, referenced but not by name in the final paragraphs, was acquitted in 30 minutes by an all-female jury in a case many believe should never have been prosecuted, etc.,

certainly paints an even uglier picture than what already hangs on the wall of public opinion. I encourage you to read it, however, because you may not have followed the investigation as closely as I have, since my job is covering Florida State.

The entity that comes out with the most egg on its face is certainly the TPD, as the author discusses some of their work in other cases. For FSU and Winston, the hit is one of image and reputation, and apparently nothing more, unless the NYT has something it is holding back for a later piece.

Others who have closely followed or covered the case are singing a similar tune, including the Sports Editor of the Tallahassee Democrat:

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