These young men are my heroes.
On Thursday, Oregon beat Florida State by 59-20 in the College Football Playoff semifinal. As Oregon football players celebrated their win after the game, video taken on the field shows at least three of them chanting “no means no” to the tune of a chant that’s used by Florida State fans.
That is quite beautiful. First they rout the hell out of Florida State, then they taunt their Heisman-rapist quarterback by singing “no means no” to the school’s white boy ‘war chant.’ I suppose I’d be even more tickled if they’d mock-shivved Winston at midfield while singing Social D’s ‘Prison Bound’, but not by much.
If you’re unlike me and think maybe this Jameis fella isn’t a stone cold rapist, try reading Vice’s rundown of the university’s clownish conduct hearing.
It’s bad enough when a university thinks so little of such a hearing that they won’t even bother to find a judge who knows the first thing about how it’s to be conducted. But even worse, this Winston kid never took it seriously in the least. It’s as if he knew the whole thing was a charade. Judging from his Heisman speech it’s obvious the young man is nearly illiterate, but look at his opening statement:
“During our consensual sexual interactions Complainant engaged in a little sexual talk and took other actions that made it clear that the sex was consensual and she was enjoying having sex with me. If Complainant did not want to have oral sex or intercourse with me she was fully capable of expressing it to me.”
In the two years that the university ducked, impeded and stonewalled a proper criminal investigation, they managed to get him a law degree? How civilized this guy is. Talk about your weasel bullshit. And then this:
He noted that “rape is a vicious crime,” but also that “the only thing as vicious as rape is falsely accusing someone of rape.”
How about a rapist using a school’s multi-million dollar football program to dodge penitentiary time? How about pretending to be the real victim? I find that to be pretty vicious, and disgusting.
The victim then recounted her harrowing story.
“[Winston] raped me twice on his bed where I lay frozen but telling him to stop. And again when he put me on the bathroom floor and locked the door and told me it was locked. Then I struggled against him as hard as I could, but he over-powered me and dragged me. I tried to push and kick him off of me, but he pinned me down by the arms and the leg like (indicating). I kept telling him to stop, but he covered my face and mouth with one hand and jammed it hard to the side like this (indicating), like on the floor like this (indicating). I believe this is where my head pain came from.”
And then she produced one witness after another to corroborate her alarm, tears, and vomiting in reaction to what happened.
The next friend to testify said to the woman that on the morning of December 7, 2012, “You were shaking, you were crying, you had been throwing up. You were like — it just had changed completely from anything I’ve ever seen. You were not stable, you just — I don’t know, when you tried to even talk to me you could barely talk.” When the woman asked this friend a similar question as she did to her other one, saying “in the past two years, have I ever given you the impression that I in any way consented to any of the sexual acts committed by Respondent that night?,” her friend simply said, “no.”
A male friend of the woman testified next. Harding asked him, “Did you ever describe her as flirty?” He responded, “Yes, I did in my interview. I did.” Harding followed up, “But you never saw her out of control in any way?” He said, “No way. No, sir.” When he saw the woman the next morning, “she was crying her eyes out. She would not let me touch her because — I didn’t know what happened, obviously, at first. And I went to go hug her and she would not let me touch her, she wouldn’t let me near her.”
And how did Winston’s case play out? It basically didn’t, he didn’t have a case. He called all of one witness in his defense, an investigator from the State Attorney’s office who said there was too little evidence, in the SA’s opinion, to mount a prosecution. And of course then the victim cross-examined Winston’s witness, and he agreed that she’d always been consistent in her behavior and her rape allegations. Some witness.
I should mention that two of Winston’s pals were there that night, one of whom actually witnessed the incident because he recorded it on his phone and passed the clip around, and they were called as witnesses. But they both refused to testify. Would not say a word.
Okay then, what about Winston? After his opening statement on the first day, he was asked questions by the judge on the second. And here’s what he said:
“I declare under a penalty of perjury that my statement yesterday is true and accurate to the best of my recollection. … From the Rule 6C2R-3.004(6) (d) of the Florida State Student Code of Conduct I’m not going to answer.”
So you’ve got the victim claiming she was raped and giving a detailed account of the assault. She introduces a series of eyewitnesses who corroborate her pain, shock and horror on that night. And, on the other side, you’ve got the football player refuting this very serious allegation by publicly declaring: No Comment.
Now here’s the rub: In such a hearing all the judge has to do to rule whether a student has violated the school’s conduct code is to weigh the two sides of a story. If a preponderance of the best evidence weighs against the student, then there are sanctions. If the likelihood of the victim’s story is more than 50/50, then there’s no more football for Winston. So what did the judge find?
After consulting “investigative hearing materials” that “consisted of over 1,000 pages of documents as well as electronically stored data,” supplemental materials provided by both parties, and “witness testimony received at the hearing,” Harding did “not find the credibility of one story substantially stronger than that of the other.”
He wrote in his decision that “both sides have their own strengths and weaknesses.” In other words, Harding found that there was not a greater than 50 percent chance that Winston had caused harm, but rather a 50 percent chance, thus not meeting the burden of proof.
The judge found the victim’s story, as well as all those witness accounts, to be roughly as believable as, and I’m quoting the quarterback’s closing statement here, because there’s essentially nothing more to his defense:
“During this process I have learned how vicious this world can be. I did not sexually assault Complainant.”
If this isn’t the rankest of institutional bullshit. Fuck this little punk, and Florida State too.