In this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, Michael McCann, a tenured law professor, advocates that Jameis Winston drop out of Florida State to avoid investigation from the university. The entire article is devoted to various legal proceedings that Winston could avoid simply by dropping out and pursuing a career in the NFL.
As an SI subscriber and football fan, I am disgusted. As a husband and father of two girls I am appalled. Jameis Winston may prove to be innocent of rape, but advocating that a high profile athlete drop out of school to avoid facing the truth is absolutely the wrong message to send to the millions of teenage athletes who read SI. It is shameful that SI would publish this ode to cowardice and avoidance of personal responsibility.
Sports leagues already send the message that you can get away with anything if you are talented enough. I still don’t know how Latrell Sprewell isn’t in jail for choking and punching his coach back in 1997, and there have been hundreds of incidents since then which would have landed anyone but an athlete in jail.
As the leading sports magazine in the country, SI has a responsibility to think about the opinions it publishes. McCann absolutely has the right to advocate for cowardice and self-absorption, but SI should not promote that viewpoint. If Winston were truly innocent he should welcome the chance to clear his name. If he is guilty, dropping out of school will not turn off the spotlight that is rightly shining on him. Either way, we lose as a society when we promote the least ethical solution just because it is a legally allowable solution.