Foul Play: Edition 6
This is Florida State University player De’Andre Johnson, 19, hitting a woman in the face at a bar.
It cost him his place in the university football program. As it should.
Days later, his teammate Dalvin Cook, also 19, was charged after allegedly punching a woman multiple times outside a bar. She had apparently refused to give her phone number to another man. Cook was suspended indefinitely.
These are not isolated incidents.
According to figures compiled by ESPN TV program Outside the Lines, 20 of the university’s athletes have been accused of crimes against women over the past six years. One every few months.
But these figures suggest the university has a problem with women.
At some point in their young lives, some athletes are getting the idea that it is OK to hit a woman.
Maybe it’s something they learn at home. Not in the case of Johnson, who appeared with his mum on national TV. “She didn’t raise me this way,” he says. “It kills me inside to know I hurt her heart.”
Maybe it’s a sense of entitlement they develop playing college football and the like, just a stepping stone away from the fame and big bucks of the National Football League.
Cook’s alleged victim told ESPN.com: “They kept telling me they were football players. They kept telling me to Google them. They told me they were football players and they could buy me in two years.”
Florida State has an incredibly high success rate with its college football program, with 29 players picked in the last three NFL drafts.
That includes Jameis Winston, the first pick in this year’s draft despite facing a lawsuit over an alleged rape in 2012.
Breaking her silence after two years in The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assaults on college campuses, Erica Kinsman said: “All these people were praising him; they were calling me a slut, a whore.”
In response to the latest incidents, Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher has banned his young charges from going to bars and nightclubs. Most of them are underage anyway.
“There’s no tolerance for hitting women,” he told a local paper. “It’s not a Florida State problem, it’s a national problem. It’s not just an athletic problem, it’s a domestic problem across our country.”
Maybe. But as The Hunting Ground points out, athletes make up less than four per cent of students yet account for 19 per cent of sexual assaults on college campuses.
Which points to a bigger problem with college education.