On November 27, 2012, just two days after being stopped by FSU Police on the bike trail near Florida State’s campus, Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) officers were called out to the Legacy Suites apartments after the manager claimed 13 windows had been damaged by players in a gun battle two days earlier (hours after the bike trail incident) causing $4,200 in damages.
Note – At the current time of publishing this post, no official record from TPD was able to be found and only credible sources which could be found were articles from Yahoo Sports, NYTimes, USAToday and ESPN referencing the incident details. Everyone else seemed to have snatched off of them.
Misconception #1: Jameis was shooting a BB gun on campus again and destroying property in a BB gun battle.
Actually, according to reports, he was at an off-campus apartment not far from the first incident and was never seen with a BB gun and denies having ever fired one during the battle.
Misconception #2: Jameis was the only one with a BB gun.
So far in both BB gun incidents, Winston was not the only individual implicated and has yet to actually be identified as firing or even holding a BB gun. In fact, in this incident, a large percentage of the entire team was involved, yet you only hear about Winston.
According to a property manager, on the night in question he recognized Jameis Winston, Chris Casher, PJ Williams and Mario Edwards Jr involved in a “battle” which caused property damage. The property manager, Dave Sudekum, planned to evict all four players.
Mr. Sudekum at first claimed a previous management company had been involved, however when asked about his name being on the report, he said he couldn’t remember the incident. Not sure why there is such a discrepancy, but moving on.
Did anyone see Winston with a BB gun?
Not from anything we can find. Winston denied having a BB gun during the incident at the apartment while Casher admitted to having one, but claimed he never fired any shots because he did not have a carbon dioxide cartridge. They claim they were attacked themselves by individuals throwing eggs at their window and were shot at with a paintball gun. They do claim they were a part of the “battles” which took place over the course of a month and involved several players.
Police found BB’s on the ground and witnessed several windows from multiple apartments damaged.
There was another battle at another complex by players you have probably never heard about because it doesn’t meet the media’s agenda of attacking Winston. Odds are pretty good, that group who caused damage to individuals, windows, cars and other property at another complex attack, likely did most of the damage at Winston’s complex as well, just using common sense.
In the end, 13 players (which would make up over 15% of the scholarship team) were held responsible. Because the manager at Legacy Suites threatened to evict the four players he claimed to have witnessed causing trouble, the entire group of 13 agreed to split the damages between them, coming to about $320 for each. After this, the case was dropped and no charges were filed.
Most reasonable folks would not imagine for one second so many players on one team, particularly such young players at the time and on such a high profile team, all just conveniently had pellet guns.
From reading the reports and using common sense, likely a pellet gun(s), paintball gun(s), eggs and maybe even airsoft guns or something else were used in these battles. Regardless, it was clearly not just Winston with just a single BB gun and likely another case of him just trying to be “one of the guys” as Charlie Ward described him.
Why wasn’t Winston punished?
Much like the first BB gun incident, which happened at pretty much the same time, until people went digging after the sexual assault allegation, nobody knew about it since nothing was filed other than the athletic department who agreed to make sure the players paid what they were responsible for. Much like the reasoning for the first BB gun incident, he was once again a redshirt freshman who wasn’t even playing in games to suspend him from, none of the other 13 players were suspended and nobody witnessed him firing or even holding a BB gun at all. Hard to justify a suspension with those facts.
It was however, a bigger deal than the squirrel hunting incident. This involved property damage. Who says he wasn’t punished internally? Nobody knows since that is not shared by the FSU coaches. He did have to pay several hundred dollars in damages and for a college kid without a job, that can be a lot of money and a great deal of punishment in itself, so it isn’t like he got off completely free.
In the End
Although this was the second BB gun incident within a very short period of time, Winston has yet to actually be seen holding or firing a BB gun. Think about that for a second while the media continues to say with absolutes they were incidents just involving him. People may call them “Winston’s BB Gun Incidents”, but in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty and I have yet to find a single witness or officer statement claiming he was firing or even holding a gun of any type. He admits to being involved in a battle. He does however deny using a BB gun and being involved is not admission of being on the offensive as it could just be what he admits from being attacked himself as he and his roommate claimed.
Agreeing to help teammates who may be evicted pay damages split between all 13 teammates, is also not an admission of guilt, that is just smart. It is much easier to suck that up than move and find a new place, not to mention the potential charges for the damages and lack of team leadership in doing so.
So another bad situation to get involved in whether voluntary or not, but at the time was not an offense appropriately punishable by a suspension, especially if you weren’t going to punish the other antagonists who numbered nearly a dozen.
If it happened again tomorrow? It would absolutely be an immediate grounds for suspension without a doubt. At that time? Not really appropriate.