In December 2012, Jameis Winston, then Florida State University’s star quarterback, had sex with fellow student Erica Kinsman.
He claims it was consensual. She claims it was rape.
He has never faced criminal charges or been required to respond to her claims. Her rape kit went unanalysed for almost a year and it took Tallahassee police almost as long to start looking into the claims. By which time a lot of evidence was no longer available. The investigating officer was a former Florida State University student.
Winston went on to become the No.1 pick in the National Football League draft and has just completed his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year.
Kinsman received death threats and dropped out of school, branded by fellow students a slut and a whore and attacked on national television by some sports commentators.
Last month, Erica Kinsman finally had a win. A $950,000 win. That was what Florida State University agreed to pay in a lawsuit citing its failure to properly investigate Kinsman’s allegations.
University president John Thrasher — that’s him congratulating Winston on a good game below — said a trial would have left the university ‘fighting over the past rather than looking towards its very bright future’. So it decided to give away a million bucks instead.
It’s also making ‘a five-year commitment to awareness, prevention and training programs’. Why such programs weren’t already in place, given the prevalence of assaults on campus nationally, is beyond me.
And what of Erica Kinsman’s very bright future? The one Florida State University was supposed to prepare her for?
“I’ll always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,” she says.
Her life since that night has been spent fighting lawsuits and trying to get trusted institutions, like her university and the local cops, to take her seriously.
She continues to be vilified on social media. She’s the one on trial.
If the sex was consensual, she’s paid a very high price for a one-night stand with a footballer. If it was rape, the abuse wasn’t confined to that night. And we wonder why women are reluctant to report sexual assaults.
This is Kinsman’s story. Winston doesn’t seem in any hurry to tell his. He’s too busy attending to his very bright future.
Foul Play is a semi-regular section documenting alleged sports-related assaults, mainly by men on women and children. So far this year:
- Super Bowl star Peyton Manning was among 10 athletes named in a lawsuit filed by six former female University of Tennessee students in relation to alleged sexual assaults by student athletes dating back to the mid-1990s. Manning is alleged in 1996 to have placed his genitals on the face of a female athletic trainer while she examined him for an injury.
- Sunderland winger Adam Johnson pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan and one charge of grooming the victim.
- Virginia Tech track athlete David Eisenhauer was charged with the abduction and murder of 13-year-old liver transplant patient Nicole Lovell.
- Former Kent State softball player Lauren Kesterson is suing the university and its former softball coach, Karen Linder, claiming she was raped by Linder’s son and told to keep quiet.
- Hull Kingston Rovers rugby league player Adam Walker was charged with two offences of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child.
- A restraining order was placed on Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel after his ex-girlfriend lodged a police complaint of domestic violence assault. There’s a Twitter campaign underway not to talk about Manziel for a month. Which kind of involves talking about him.
- Four Oklahoma high school wrestlers were charged with rape by instrumentation after allegedly attacking two teammates, aged 12 and 16.
- Ooltewah High School assistant principal/athletic director Allard J. Nayadley, boys basketball coach Andre Montgomery, and assistant coach Karl Williams were charged with failure to report child sexual abuse after three basketball players allegedly sodomised a teammate with a pool cue.
- Olympic gold medal skier Picabo Street was charged with three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child and one count of assault after a fight with her father.
- NFL player Montee Ball was charged with battery after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, who told police he picked her up and threw her at a table.
- NFL player JJ Worton was charged with indecent assault and battery after allegedly groping two women at a bar and knocking out one of their boyfriends.