New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) throws to New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (10) for a 56 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an NFL divisional round football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-cases.Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

It is ironic to find NFL quarterback Jameis Winston gaining prominence within the Saints organization. This happens just as LSU is finally being held accountable for its failure to protect its students against sexual harassment and battery by its athletes and coaches.

Winston is alleged to have raped a fellow student at Florida State University in 2012. FSU’s national championship the next year, and Winston’s receipt of the Heisman trophy, did not dispel the seriousness of the allegation. Nor did these honors, as a New York Times investigation showed, change the fact that neither FSU nor local police made any serious effort to investigate the allegation against Winston. These institutional failures contributed to resolution of the case in an out-of-court settlement in 2016 rather than in a courtroom.

The new celebrity that the Saints organization is conferring upon Winston will contribute to a culture within which allegations of sexual violence against women are tolerated — as they were at both FSU and LSU — in the name of football and football revenues. The Saints organization should be ashamed.


educator, victim advocate

New Orleans