An ESPN media reporter named Jeff Cameron of ESPN Tallahassee gets on radio and says that “people in Jameis Winston’s camp” are bracing for an NFL suspension of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star quarterback (who should have went to Stanford or Cal and not Florida State). Think about that. So, what happens? Because it’s ESPN and the NFL, it gets picked up by, well of course, ESPN , and then it’s spread around as if it’s the gospel. No investigation. No room for the truth.
Then, it gets on social media, like Twitter, and immediately reflects a kind of racial divide, and explains why we have the term “Black Twitter.” (And considering the fact that America’s now interracial, thankfully we can’t say this is the entire country’s problem. More the expression of a way of thinking that’s fading but still powerful.) Take a look at my Twitter exchange with Tampa Bay Times NFL reporter Rick Stroud:
Racist set up? That's what you get out of this? https://t.co/QewCqpKap8
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) June 22, 2018
And it was in response to his earlier tweet debunking the ESPN story, saying “the idea that the NFL would suspend Jameis Winston for multiple games after 8 months of an investigation for not reporting that his Uber account was cancelled is ridiculous and untrue”:
Again folks, the idea that the NFL would suspend Jameis Winston for multiple games after 8 months of an investigation for not reporting that his Uber account was cancelled is ridiculous and untrue. It's pure spin. Don't buy it.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) June 21, 2018
I didn’t seek to get into a Twitter feud with Mr. Stroud, not am I calling him racist at all, but was only presenting the truth. A truth that some people don’t want to hear when Jameis Winston’s name is brought up.
Well, here’s the truth.
First, the NFL has not issued an official statement on Jameis Winston and the Uber Investigation. Second, the ESPN report has a lot of sentences that add up to this: “we really don’t know for sure but are just making up news because one of our guys talked about him on our radio station.”
Where we are as of now, and on a Friday that some media types reported that Winston would be suspended by the NFL, is here: Jameis Winston has not been suspended. No one knows really for sure if that will happen. The Jameis Winston Uber matter is still under investigation, but wrapping up even though some report as if it’s done – it’s not.
The reason why this NFL Jameis Winston Uber Investigation is not over can be found in the giant rash of uncertainties that exist with this case, and with media reporting that at times reflects institutional racism. I laid them out in my post where I talked with NFL Reporter Ira Kaufmann of Joe Bucs Fan, and on this subject at the 2018 NFL Spring League Meeting in Atlanta. (Oh, and before anyone spins this the wrong way, Ira Kaufmann is not racist, institutional or otherwise):
This is where, as seems to be common with these Jameis Winston matters, things get real fishy. How did the men know that she was picking up Jameis? Where was the so-called party? What was the adress? That also is not explained. Nonetheless, the story continues that these unidentified men “placed Jameis in the front passenger seat.”
Again, nothing is explained as to who these men are, or why they were handling Jameis. We are just asked to believe a story that “these men” where involved in putting Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback in the front seat of an Uber car driven by a woman named Kate, who was already informed that he was not just precious cargo in the form of an NFL Player, but by that information, obviously had to get the idea that Winston was of man of some means.
Ansari says this was a “small group of men” but who they were, he does not tell us at all. (I sent an email asking Ansari questions the week the story broke, but he never answered it).
Kate says Jameis “behaved poorly, and shouted what she says were homephobic slurs at pedestrians. She also claims he was the only passenger she had in the car.
According to Kate, Jameis asked to stop for food, so they drove up to a fast food place called Los Betos Mexican Food. Buzzfeed reports that Kate said “he reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” then “alledging” that he had his hand there for “three to five seconds” until she said “what’s up with that,” then he took his hand away.
And now here’s where this story gets confusing. BuzzFeed reports that Kate reported the incident “soon after it happened”, and claim that she wrote “apparently a big athlete in the nfl” reached over “and put his fingers on my crotch.” ..it wasn’t my stomach or thigh, it was my crotch and I want to be clear about that.” Then Kate wrote, according to BuzzFeed that “He is NOT safe for other drivers.”
BuzzFeed’s says it has reviewed the incident report to Uber, but how did Ansari come to see it? While reporters aren’t required to explain who their sources are, it would give a more complete explaination if we knew who passed information to Ansari? The Buzz Feed reporters doesn’t say that Kate gave it to him.
And the date of the report Kate filed is really confusing. BuzzFeed’s Ansari has written that the incident happened after she was “to pick up a passenger around 2 a.m. on Sunday March 13, 2016.” Ok, but the photo of the text message report to Uber has the time stamp of 1:41 AM Sunday March 13, 2016, which is well before 2 a.m. For the tort to take place, it would have had to happen well before 1:41 AM, because then she would have been able to stop and process what happened, and write the report. If one thinks about it, the timing of this is off by at least an hour.
Also, the text message report just mentions the passenger, but does not specify who the person is in the seat. And then it gets even more confusing, because BuzzFeed posts another photo of a text that’s partly reacted, and then has a time stamp of 3:16 AM that same Sunday March 13, 2016, and then uses Jameis Winston’s name.
And on the matter of timing, if the story happened on Sunday, March 13th 2016, why did Buzz Feed run the story over a year later on November 17th, 2017 – complete with the timing errors? And what about Winston’s side of the story?
See, folks. And let’s add to that giant list of uncertainties with these: Jameis Winston says he was in the back of the car, not the front of it. Ron Darby was in the car, but even though he reportedly left the car according to the NFL Network, no one said where Jameis sat? Also, why did the NFL Network report contradict what the Uber Driver texted? The Uber Driver never mentioned anything like dropping off anyone?
And where’s the cell phone video? The Uber Driver was quick to use text, but why not a video? And was there a video from the restaurant? And what about witnesses to back the Uber Driver’s story? And why did the Uber Driver not call the police? All of this, and yet the media that doesn’t investigate a thing runs around and says “Jameis Winston groped a woman” without any evidence, or a police report.
Modern media institutional racism against black male celebrities: Jameis Winston gets smeared by the media and Morgan Freeman got smeared by the media and in the more specific form of CNN. (And before you go there, I’m not including Bill Cosby because that was justice served.) By contrast, to provide one of many of them, Tom Brokaw has a fan base and so the media comes to his defense.
Other than this blogger, ah, me, where’s the media to defend James Winston? As an NFL reporter told me this year “There are some in my office who wanted the Bucs to take (Marcus) Mariota and not Winston, and are still mad about it.”
What they’re mad about is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t take a star QB who is not black, over a local star QB who is, in the 2015 NFL Draft. If Marcus Mariota got into the sad situations that Jameis Winston got into, there would be a media defense squad for him.
But let’s think about that. If it were Marcus Mariota and Erica Kinsman, you would not have Patricia Carroll, Kinsman’s lawyer and autie saying (according to Winston’s lawyer David Cornwell as reported in TMZ) that Kinsman would never sleep with a “black boy” – not knowing Kinsman had a black man as her boyfriend at the time.
Race matters in this.
And race matters because racism is a mental illness. It stops people from listening to each other. It stops companies from hiring the true best and brightest. It causes blacks to be jailed for crimes they did not commit. It was behind Emmitt Till being lynched for saying hello to a white woman. And racism was behind Jessica Schulte calling the Oakland police via 911 on a group of mostly black men for nothing more than using a charcoal grill at Lake Merritt.
Race and racism matters and it’s expressed in the media, too, every day. Learn to recognize it.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media