The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston with the first pick in the NFL Draft.
After a season in which violence against women issues dogged the NFL, Winston, accused of rape during his time in Tallahassee, relieved NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of an awkward photo-op by watching the draft back in Bessemer, Alabama, a hometown he shares with fellow Heisman Trophy-winner Bo Jackson.
The Chicago crowd nonetheless greeted the commissioner with a raucous chorus of boos when he opened the proceedings. “The 2015 NFL Draft is officially open,” Goodell stated in transforming the jeers into cheers. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock.”
Winston played as almost unbeatable at Florida State. He led the Seminoles to a national championship after the 2013 season, which culminated in him commandeering a clutch last-minute drive to defeat Auburn. He won the Heisman Trophy that same season. And he won 26 of 27 games in his two seasons as starter.
Off the field, he stumbled. Police cited him for lifting crab legs from a local store. He participated in a window-smashing BB-gun fight shortly after he arrived in Tallahassee. And he missed a game in 2014 after a suspension stemming from his shouting a vulgar internet meme in Florida State’s crowded student union. Most infamously, Famous Jameis weathered a rape allegation that went nowhere in the courts or in student judicial proceedings but nevertheless dogged him for most of his time at FSU. A cloud and a civil suit follows Winston into the NFL.
In the aftermath of Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and other players who have tarnished the shield in their off-field activities, Winston enters an NFL less tolerant than ever of embarrassing and illegal extracurricular activities.