TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has suspended Jameis Winston for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday, extending its initial punishment of one half after the quarterback made “offensive and vulgar” comments about female anatomy earlier this week.
Interim President Garnett S. Stokes and athletic director Stan Wilcox announced the decision late Friday night. There had been criticism that the original punishment for Winston’s latest embarrassing off-field incident was too light.
The statement released by the university Friday read, “Based upon the results of our continuing investigation of Tuesday’s incident involving Jameis Winston, we have decided to not play him for the entire game against Clemson on Saturday night.”
Several students tweeted Winston stood on campus and shouted a lascivious comment that may have derived from an internet meme.
A university spokeswoman told The Associated Press Friday night Stokes was not available for comment; Wilcox could not be reached.
The university also had initially announced that Winston would face internal discipline. Officials did not say why Winston was only benched for just a half and they did not provide details of the internal punishment.
Coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about the half-game suspension after practice Thursday and said, “We’re in charge. It’s our team. That’s what we thought. We went with the consequences and we’re ready to move on.”
Fisher also said after that practice that the president and athletic director are always involved in university policy, but declined to answer when asked if it’s normal for them to be involved in team discipline.
“It was wrong and he made a mistake,” Fisher said Thursday. “He made a bad error in judgment. But that’s water under the bridge. We have to move on and get ready for this game. We’re 48 hours out and I’m going to focus on this football game.”
The 20-year-old Winston addressed his inappropriate comments before Wednesday’s practice: “I have to tone it down.”
The Heisman Trophy winner has made similar comments after previous incidents.
While playing for the 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. Before the football season, he said he had matured, learned what it takes to be a leader and understood that he needed to be more careful in his personal life.
The school president and AD are admonishing him for doing just the opposite.
“You know you have to overcome adversity, and that’s one thing at Florida State that we do,” Winston said Wednesday. “We work on overcoming adversity. When I do get my opportunity to play, I’m going to do everything I can because I have to accept it.
“That’s going to eat me up because I want to be out there on the field. I want to be out on the field with my team, but I did something so I have to accept the consequences.”
Little known redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire will make his first college start for the top-ranked Seminoles in Saturday’s nationally televised game against No. 22 Clemson. He has only thrown 26 career passes and was the No. 3 quarterback before Jacob Coker was injured in 2013 then transferred to Alabama.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a distraction, maybe at the time,” Maguire said Thursday about the incident. “Maybe for the first little bit, but once the news came out, practiced happened yesterday.
“It makes me more confident knowing I get to go out there and play quarterback like we do in practice, like we do every day. I’m just looking forward to it, that’s all I can say.”
Florida State is trying to repeat as national champions and the winner of the Clemson-Florida State matchup has played in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game the last five years. Saturday will be the first game Florida State has played without Winston since the start of 2013 and they are 16-0 during that stretch.