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Tears Of Unfathomable Sadness, Volume 13: Attack of the Hive Mind

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Brace yourself...

Hey, remember when New Guy made his last post before going off on his honeymoon by making reasonable statements about the Florida State football program, and everyone lost their goddamn minds?

That was pretty fun so let's do that again.

This week's edition of the Tears is going to be All-FSU. I'm sure everyone out there in #FSUTwitter-land will be able to handle it like grown-ups.

Let's start off with the most important part of New Guy's post, and skip over the 90% of it where he waxed poetic about how much he loves and respects Florida State's football traditions, since most of our guests on Monday appear to have skipped that part too.

The bottom line is that Jameis Winston is dumber than dirt, and he's got a major attitude problem that's been fostered and developed by Florida State, the police, those around him, and the entire culture surrounding Seminole football. Nobody's calling shenanigans on him, and it's bad.

Yeah, that's basically the gist of it. I'll grant that reasonable people might think calling Winston "dumber than dirt" is harsh. Beyond that? It's simply a well-documented fact that Jameis Winston, for all his incredible talent, has done dumb things, and the Florida State administration, athletic department, and police department have been repeatedly shown to be enablers who care more about winning on the football field. The continued postponement of Winston's disciplinary hearing serves as yet another example of this phenomenon, but it's just a small part of a much larger issue.

Nothing unreasonable about that. I think everyone can get on board with this. Are all of these things coming to light simply because FSU has been incredibly successful the past two years? Yeah, probably. But pretty much everyone can see at this point that FSU and Tallahassee look really bad right now, even by the exceedingly low standard set by NCAA sports, This is not a controversial statement. Of all the things being said about Jameis Winston and Florida State on the internet on a daily basis, this had to be one of the most tame.

Except to the FSU fans that invaded our comment section and bombarded us on Twitter to the point where we had to shut things down, of course.

Boston is one of the most racist cities in the nation, so asking them to understand the southern dialect of an All-ACC Academic Athlete is probably a bit much.
He was accepted at Stanford which is statistically the hardest university to be accepted into. But please, make fun of his socioeconomic upbringing, and being from the wrong side of Birmingham.

All kinds of accusations of racism, along with a positively Penn State-ian level of conspiracy theorists coming out of the woodwork telling us (really, this happened) exactly what injuries are consistent with someone having sex so come on guys leave the poor kid alone.

The whole exchange, which lasted for hours, featured many tactics and argument types that will be familiar to anyone who's watched "Loose Change" or visited a moon-landing-conspiracy website—like becoming extremely well versed in intricate and mostly meaningless details that serve to deflect from the larger point (DID YOU KNOW? JAMEIS DIDN'T ACTUALLY STAND ON A TABLE WHEN HE YELLED F*** HER RIGHT IN THE P****. THEREFORE, YOU ARE A LIAR!!!).

There's even a hub for the hive-mind which someone was nice enough to link us to so we could know the truth:

Because there's one thing I know for sure: Fox News, ESPN, the New York TImes, and various Florida newspapers are all full of deceit and lies, because they hate Florida State, because, uh, reasons. If I want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I have to turn to the only source we can trust: "Nole Digest."

Jameis Winston's off-the-field issues have already been extraordinarily well-chronicled, so I won't get into them all here. On the whole, I think Winston being immature and doing stupid things isn't the real problem here (if you can call allegations of rape 'stupid,' which, I mean, I'm trying to avoid a total #FSUTwitter assault here, so I'm just going to avoid even addressing that particular alleged transgression entirely. Eventually, FSU will hold its disciplinary hearing, and we'll know more about the facts in that one (haha jk). Until then, we'll leave it alone and just talk about what actually has been well-documented).

The nation's problem is less so with Jameis Winston, and more with the enabling culture at Florida State. It's more than a culture, it's a way of life. This week, the New York Times came out with a damning article of yet another example of how the rules don't apply to football players at Florida State like they do for the rest of us.

A starting cornerback on the team drove his car into the path of an oncoming vehicle driven by a teenager returning home from a job at the Olive Garden. Both cars were totaled. But rather than remain at the scene as the law requires, the football player, P. J. Williams, left his wrecked vehicle in the street and fled into the darkness along with his two passengers, including Ronald Darby, the team’s other starting cornerback.

[snip]

The New York Times looked into how the police handled the case...The examination found that Mr. Williams, driving with a suspended license, had been given a break by the Tallahassee police, who initially labeled the accident a hit and run, a criminal act, but later decided to issue Mr. Williams only two traffic tickets. Afterward, the case did not show up in the city’s public online database of police calls—a technical error, the police said.

The entire article is a relentless assault on how Florida State handles issues with its football players, even going into several other cases of similar special treatment.

The response was exactly what you'd expect from an administration and a fan base conditioned to immediate, reflexive denial.

First, Florida State fans on Twitter threw a hissy fit. #FSUTwitter reacted as you might expect. In what may be a related develoment, the link was flagged for spam. As such, Twitter notified anyone who clicked it that they may be visiting an unsafe website.

Later, the Florida State president himself went full Penn State (never go full Penn State) and said they were "disturbed" at the "speculative" piece from the Times and expressed its "profound disappointment."

Yes, be profoundly disappointed in and disturbed by the in-depth reporting of the hit-and-run incident, and not the incident itself, or the reaction of campus and local police. Yeah, you're on the right track there, pal.

I want to end here on a bit of a serious note.

Just because someone says something like this:

I don’t know what Winston’s academic background is like. For all I know he could have a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry. Someone can be smart in school and still be make repeated dumb decisions. That said I guess you’re not really making dumb decisions unless there are consequences for them.

Or posts a GIF like this:

Or makes fun of a college student who says something like this:

And I said … we said … I said, ‘Are you strong?’ They said, ‘I’m strong if you strong.’ I said, ‘We strong, then.’

Does not make them a racist.

I leave you the following from Joe Gravellese, who wanted to throw in his own take on this Jameis Winston nonsense:

I just want to say how distasteful I find it that #FSUTwitter has decided to include calling critics of their program "racists" as part of their groupthink rah-rah defense mechanism. Talk about a way to take an actually serious issue like racism and completely trivialize it.

I get that all fanbases can get into hive-mind tendencies, especially when their team is being criticized. I saw it in New England with Spygate—oh, everyone does it. Oh, people just hate the Patriots because they're good. It was pretty rare to see someone say, "Yeah, they cheated and got caught. But, you know, it's sports, not the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, so I think we'll all live."

For the most part this stuff doesn't hurt anyone. It only hurts people when groupthink starts to replace thinking rationally about things that actually matter, like people getting hurt. Penn State is obviously the most extreme example of this.

If Florida State fans really want to believe that ESPN, The New York Times, FOX Sports, Deadspin, and 99% of American college football fans have some sort of conspiracy against them and only hate them because they win, well, that's not really hurting anyone. Calling someone a racist? That is hurtful. It should be a really, horribly insulting thing when someone calls you a racist. But it's not when you trivialize it like this.

There's a very good reason why we check our politics at the door at BCI. People are entitled to their own opinions. But anyone who knows me "in real life" knows that issues of racism and sexism are of great concern to me, and there is, without a doubt, racism in the sports world all the time.

To pick an example at random, we could talk about sports fans using "scalp 'em" as a rallying cry when supporting a team that uses Native American imagery for their team mascot. Or white people wearing war paint and feathers and portraying Native Americans as ax-wielders. (And yes, we know—though I'm sure you'll tell us anyway—that one of the Seminole nation groups has a partnership with Florida State that allows them to keep the "Seminole" name. Yes. I know that. That does not serve as a "get out of self-awareness free" card.)

Beyond that, of course, there's the very real and arguably more serious fact that everyone involved in some way with NCAA sports bears a little responsibility for the system wherein many young men—many of whom are black—are not given the kind of academic support or guidance they need in college. For the absurd numbers of male athletes in the major revenue sports who don't finish school, how many of them have their prospects in life improved unless they make the pros? Not many, and we all just sort of accept it, and I don't doubt that part of the reason why that goes on is that a lot of these athletes are black.

As of last year Florida State's graduation rate for black football players was 37%—last among all BCS conferences. If you don't think the school's and the town's willingness to look the other way while a lot of these incidents take place is correlated in some way with this statistic, I don't know what to tell you. I do know that it's not doing any good for any of the players who don't graduate and don't make it to the NFL.

So please, keep your hive-mind conspiracy theories to the fun and games section and don't blur the lines with real issues and real problems. There's a lot about Florida State football—and college sports in general—that is worth criticizing. Yelling "RACIST" because someone has a problem with Jameis Winston doesn't solve that and it only serves to trivialize actual race issues. So for the love of god, get a grip. Thanks.