Florida State’s Jameis Winston capped off a Heisman Trophy-winning season by orchestrating a come-from-behind, last-minute victory over Auburn at the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl Monday night. But the postscript added to the perfect end to his perfect season involves the freshman quarterback’s imperfect grammar.
“Am I listening to English?”
Dee Dee McCarron, mother of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, sparked a national controversy after the national championship by tweeting out those five words, which she later deleted. The tweet references Winston’s postgame interview. Adding fuel to the fire, A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb, aka Brent Musburger’s fantasy, favorited a tweet by a third party that bluntly declared: “Jameis Winston needs to learn sign language to communicate because listening to him attempt to speak English is just insulting.” Webb claims she accidentally favorited the tweet.
When did the hashtag army become the grammar police?
In his postgame interview, Winston paid tribute to his cousin in Afghanistan, credited his team, and thanked God. He also slipped occasionally into double negatives–e.g., “We didn’t come here for no reason,” “Can’t nobody be bigger than this game”–but in no way resembled the sub-linguistic character described in 140 characters or less.
Predictably, the twitterverse erupted in charges of racism over Mrs. McCarron’s slam of the victorious quarterback. The tweets likely spawn more from player hating than from hating black players. Winston, an Alabama native, chose Florida State over in-state options, so his victory surely proves more bitter than sweet for fellow natives of the Yellowhammer state. McCarron’s Miss Alabama girlfriend, an Auburn graduate, and the Alabama quarterback’s mom, had surely grown accustomed to watching him lead his team to victory in the national championship game.
“I’m pretty sure people back home are going to say ‘five championships in the state of Alabama’ because of me being from Alabama,” Winston remarked after the game, referencing Alabama and Auburn’s stranglehold on the title game the previous four years. “Alabama people are going to try to keep it in their state however they can, but Florida State has the national championship.”
Winston also responded to the controversy on Twitter:
For the people that criticize the way that I talk this is for y’all. The Florida state Seminoles are national champions! That is all.
— Jameis Winston (@Jaboowins) January 7, 2014
Florida State’s national championship is the first by a non-SEC team since Vince Young led Texas to a similarly exciting victory in the 2006 Rose Bowl over defending national champions USC.
“Through all the haters,” Winston declared after the game, “we came out victorious.” Haters gonna hate.
Webb and McCarron’s mother both declared on Twitter that they were not racist:
The idea that I am a racist is absolutely stupid and it needs to stop. I was scrolling through my TL and that tweet was accidentally FAV.
— Katherine Webb (@_KatherineWebb) January 7, 2014
Any1 that knows our family knows we r far from racist. My tweet was not in anyway meant that way. I sincerely apologize if it offended any1
— Dee Dee McCarron (@DeeDeeBonner) January 7, 2014
Here is Winston’s postgame interview: