The more I read about the story of FSU’s withdrawal of a scholarship offer to Brian Bell, the messier the whole thing gets.
But this part seems clear.
Touchton says FSU general counsel Carolyn Egan told the group of Bell supporters that “Florida State football players can’t spit on the sidewalk” without inviting media scrutiny.
Florida State has been accused in recent years of allowing its football program to act as a sort of private fiefdom. Quarterback Jameis Winston was allowed to play football — and win a national championship, plus a Heisman Trophy — while accused, but never charged, of sexual assault. He has been disciplined for stealing crab legs and crawfish from a local supermarket and shouting vulgarities in the student union. News media reports have described how athletics department “fixers” and local police smoothed over past cases of theft, destruction of private property and late-night vehicle accidents by other players.
Touchton says Egan made the point that intense pressure on the school related to Winston’s transgressions would mean immense scrutiny on Bell.
Yes, I’m sure being worried about the kid’s reputation is what was behind FSU’s decision.
Whatever the case, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called McPherson the morning after the meeting with bad news.
“Jimbo was upset about it,” McPherson says. “He said it was the president’s decision and there was nothing he could do.”
Touchton was baffled by that decision.
“Why is Florida State willing to fight to the end of time for Jameis Winston,” she asks, “and not Brian Bell?”
The answer to that might be as simple as this: Winston is potentially the No.1 overall pick of the NFL draft, while Bell, according to Rivals.com, is the nation’s 47th-best linebacker in his class.
So Bell twists in the wind. He’ll spend more time in the legal system than on a football field.