It's the kind of headline that is terribly all too common. On Wednesday, news broke that Jameis Winston, Florida State's quarterback, was under investigation for sexual assault.
The police report itself [PDF] is heavily redacted and light on details, but law enforcement have confirmed that Winston is indeed the suspect for the attack, which occured last December.
So, because this is a rape case, football is involved, and especially because the suspect is up for the Heisman Trophy, it's time to cue the "what about HIS FUTURE?!?" handwringing!
Yesterday, Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel penned an op-ed piece on the case. Wetzel argues that Winston deserves the benefit of the doubt (seriously, it's right there in the goddamn title) in the case, and rattles off a bunch of victim-blamey bullshit as to why—going so far to infer that because drinking was involved, and I quote, "[t]his isn't a guy hiding out in the bushes grabbing women who are innocently passing by", it makes the victim's allegations less credible.
Wetzel's arguments, one by one:
- That because it was date rape, it's he said, she said and hard to prove (because bitchez be lyin', amirite?!?)
- That because Winston's height and the height of the attacker don't match, it took Winston 11 months to be named a suspect, and that (presumably) no one spoke to him when the investigation was opened, it makes him not a viable suspect (never mind that no one is explicitly named as the suspect in the police report, and that someone who was recently the victim of trauma might not be the best estimator of height—I mean, I'm terrible with things like that to begin with—TV police close their cases in an hour, don't real life police do that too?)
- That maybe it took so long because the police determined the victim didn't have a case (never mind that 1. the investigation is still ongoing, and 2. the victim reported immediately, which would have given the police tons of viable evidence—again, bitchez be lyin'!)
- That any sort of coverup conspiracy would be laughably silly, because Winston was a nobody until this year, and therefore not someone worth protecting (yeah, because Florida State doesn't have a huge football culture surrounding it or anything)
This isn't the first time we've seen these arguments. I'm sure it won't be the last. But it doesn't make them any less wrong or reprehensible. Wetzel pays lip service to the victim throughout the piece, while simultaneously smearing her. Maybe she isn't lying. Maybe she's not credible. But sexual assault is bad, mmmkay?
Wetzel talks a lot about "fairness for the accused". It's clear from the piece that he doesn't believe in the same for the victim. And I am getting ever-tired of this shit.