FSU: Fans Accept Glory in Winning at Any Cost

fsu trophy from video

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out

Masses are sometimes misled by charismatic leaders.

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Masses are sometimes misled by charismatic leaders.

Throughout history, entire populations have been duped into following charismatic leaders with no scruples whatsoever. The unwitting populace draws power from the promise of the spoils of war, and celebrates the exclamation that they are the chosen, that they are the master race, that they are better than everybody else.

Sometimes in war, sometimes in sports.

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Sometimes in war, sometimes in sports.

Under these leaders, hubris and disregard for others doesn’t just happen. It comes from the top and is encouraged, which only adds fuel to the fire of entitlement and invincibility. But eventually, those who have been disregarded — and others who demand justice — rise up, and the false glory doesn’t just end. It comes crashing down in humbling, total defeat, and the leaders are remembered not for their achievements, but for their utter disregard of all that is right and good. The subject of this week’s Three-and-Out is the Florida State Seminoles.

1.  Florida State is not the only university that has off-the-field issue. All major universities struggle with athletes’ behavior from time to time. The University of Oregon has admittedly had its share. Athletes have been arrested for or accused of stealing, drunk driving, possession of marijuana, sexual assault, at least one scuffle with a girlfriend, illegal entry while under the influence of alcohol, and cold-cocking an opposing player after a tough loss — and probably a few more that don’t come to mind at the moment.

Under UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens, athletes represent the University well or they are gone.

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Under UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens, athletes represent the University well or they are gone.

The point is, though, that in every case, credit goes to UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens and the coaches, who, along with the fans and media, demanded high standards of behavior from their athletes. High profile athletes have been suspended from bowl games for as little as emptying a trash can of snow on a gentleman’s head and mere suspicion of drunk driving. Conviction for drunk driving has resulted in as much as suspension for an entire year. And the Ducks make no compromises in dealing with high profile players. Starters — including quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, cornerback Cliff Harris and tight end Colt Lyerla — along with a number of others, have been booted completely off the team.

Oregon is not alone in expecting high standards of behavior. Across the nation, people are waking up to the realization that the days of “boys will be boys” are over, and that athletes must meet higher off-the-field standards than merely not being charged or convicted of a felony. Among the exceptions …

2.  The Florida State Seminoles. Under the leadership of Jimbo Fisher and poster child Jameis Winston, Florida State remains committed to lowering the bar for athletes’ behavior to the basement of the outhouse. For a fairly comprehensive rundown on the severity of the problem, check out this piece by FishDuck.com’s own Michael Bigham, a retired law enforcement officer.

Despite having the errors of their ways pointed out fairly routinely by ESPN and even such credible sources as the New York Times, the Seminoles football program insists on casting itself as the victim and vilifying anybody and everybody who point out the obvious: While arguably one of the finest college football teams ever on the field, when it comes to standards of behavior off the field, FSU is one sick puppy.

Jimbo Fisher explains that   it is impossible to have a victim unless a perpetrator is convicted.

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Jimbo Fisher explains that it is impossible to have a victim unless a perpetrator is convicted.

Citing “innocent until proven guilty” and “he said/she said” in the case of Winston’s alleged sexual assault of a co-ed, Coach Fisher asserts that there was no victim because there was no crime. Obviously, whether there actually was a crime or not is debatable. Maybe there wasn’t. Of course, with Winston’s track record in the fine-upstanding-honest-citizen department, anything he says is facing fourth and twenty-five to start with… Make that fourth and forty — against the Seahawks. But let’s put that aside.

The point that is overlooked is that if Fisher truly believes that there can be no victim if there is no crime, then he is a victim of his own ignorance, which while not against the law, is nonetheless despicable for a man in his position.

The gentleman on the left seems unimpressed with Winston's bragging during Heisman acceptance speech.

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The gentleman on the left seems unimpressed with Winston’s self-adulation during Heisman acceptance speech.

If the woman involved in the alleged assault did not consent, Winston and his thugs participated in sexual assault, plain and simple, even if they got away with it. But let’s grant for a moment that consent was given and it wasn’t a crime. What we’re left with is a documented case of a man having sex with a woman in front of two of his buddies, with one of them filming it. Let’s even go so far as to assume that the young woman agreed to the filming — which I sincerely doubt. Any way you cut it, Winston — and his buddies — participated in a sordid act that degraded all concerned. If she did consent, then he took advantage of a young woman who obviously needed psychological help while his friends looked on. No matter which direction you go, all roads lead to sleazy.

This may be hard for Florida State fans to understand, but rape or not, these young men degraded a young woman. They degraded themselves. They degraded their families. They degraded their team. They degraded their University. They degraded their sport. They degraded what it means to be a student athlete. They even provided the platform for the members of the Seminoles marching band to degrade themselves. And every person and organization that was degraded was a victim of their thoughtless actions, even those too glory-blind to see it. And still, the FSU fans cheer them.

3.  In Comparison. Unfortunately, the University of Oregon had an incident somewhat similar to Winston’s rape issue that involved three Oregon basketball players earlier this year. Undeniably, there was sex involved, and as in the Winston case, the prosecuting attorney concluded that evidence relating to lack of consent was not strong enough to prosecute. (It should be noted, though, that the Eugene Police Department, unlike Tallahassee, pursued a vigorous, timely investigation — and that a Title IX investigation was also quickly initiated — unlike Florida State. Also note that FSU is currently under investigation for Title IX violations relating to sexual assault and that Oregon is not.)

Even though losing the athletes involved was a major setback for the Oregon men’s basketball team, even though no charges were ever filed, everybody considered the situation a disgrace and knew that these athletes were gone. Not suspended for a game. Not suspended for a season. Not just booted off the team. They were not even just expelled from the University. They were expelled and ordered to never set foot on the Oregon campus for a minimum of four years, and for as many as the next ten years.

Why, if they weren’t even charged with a crime? It’s simple. There is a huge gap between “acceptable behavior for a student athlete” and “not convicted of a felony.”

The Seminoles deserve respect -- on the field.

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The Seminoles deserve respect — on the field.

So, to any Florida State fans reading: Try to justify it all you will. Sing the praises of Jameis Winston. Shout, “Guilty until proven innocent.” Strike up the band and have them sing, “She’s a hoe.” Proclaim that everybody’s just picking on you. Tell us we’re just bitter because we’re not as good as you. Call it homerism. Tell us we’re just being self-righteous. Call it envy. Call it fear of Seminole Nation.  Call it ESPN SEC bias. Call it anything you want to. Just know that while we have total respect for what the Seminoles have accomplished on the field, we — along with ESPN, the New York Times and many, many others whom you have not heard from — have one word for what the Seminoles have done off the field, how the University has dealt with it, and how the fans have accepted it. That word is “disgust.”

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Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell

Mike (Editor-in-Chief) is a 1970 graduate of the University of Oregon where he attended the Honors College and received all-conference honors as a swimmer. After college, Mike ran for the Oregon Track Club and narrowly missed qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon. He continues his involvement in sports with near-daily swimming or running workouts, occasional masters swim competition (where he has received two Top-10 World rankings), providing volunteer coaching to local triathletes and helping out with FishDuck.com. Mike lives on 28 acres in the forest near Sandpoint, Idaho, where he has served as a certified public accountant for most of his working career. His current night job is writing novels about Abby Westminster, the only known illegitimate daughter of Britain's finest secret agent who has to bring down arch-villains plotting dastardly deeds. And, yes, Abby is also a DUCK!

  • Cody Smithers

    I can’t believe that Mike Merrell is an educated man, comparing FSU to the Nazis?!?!

    • Mike Merrell

      Cody —

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Certainly FSU does not compare with the Nazis in terms of level of atrocities committed. Pellet guns, sleazy sexual behavior, standing on tables shouting degrading obscenities and having a marching band singing “She’s a Hoe” are nowhere near the same level of wrong as death camps, invading country after country, etc.

      The common thread, though, is that in both instances, people who are otherwise good citizens have looked the other way, accepting this sort of behavior as normal and have placed people who have committed these unsavory acts on a pedestal, all to preserve the euphoria of victory and bask in the false glory that they are better than everybody else.

      Obviously I do not expect Florida State fans to agree with, or like, this point of view. It would be nice, however, if they would open their eyes and stop promoting and enabling behavior that shows utter disregard for others, and instead demand high standards of behavior from their athletes. Then nobody would feel the need to write articles like this, or the one in the New York Times that I linked..

      • Mike

        Wow.. I really liked the video tutorials that Fishduck.com came out with regarding Oregon’s offense. Its amazing that you are allowing hack writers to spin their own misguided salty opinions on a subject you clearly lack any subjective facts on much less anything researched outside a NYT opinion piece. Take a look at the facts, and maybe just maybe you will find something more: like a cleatchasing coed on her knees blowing the star quarterback, or a young coed who changed her story 4 times, or a case that has been investigated by 3 different agencies/retired Supreme Court Judge which all came to the same conclusion. Come out of the Ivory Tower that Phil built, and concentrate on the video tutorials, and leave the opinion pieces to the New York Times. The same paper that convicted and hung the Duke lacrosse team.

  • MikeMerrellEatsPoop

    Mike Merrell… Has more hair than journalistic integrity, or worth as a human being. And that’s saying something!

  • MikeMerrellLikesStanford

    Oregon sucks a big one. Fish duck? Wtf does that even mean you losers!?

  • MikeMerrellisDaho

    Mike lives with one other person in Horribleville, Idaho: His sister, and his wife. *womp womp* Oregon sucks so bad this guy moved to IDAHO! Let that sink in for a minute.

  • DucksSuckTogether

    Nazis… Football fans. Great comparison.

    Mike Merrell… Child molester.

    Ahh, the internet is just so much fun. People like Mike Merrell can just write things without fear of consequence.

    journalistic integrity!? Not present in any Oregonians vocabulary or understanding of the world.

    Merrell, you and the rest of your self-righteous quackheads can all go worship Mariota til your heart’s content… Just don’t believe that your misplaced faith in Goody2shoes is gonna help against FSU. Get crushed, ducks! Then Merrell can cry some more.

    AFLAAAAAAAC!!! Lol, you suck.

  • gary appelson

    This story is total BS. I live in Tallahassee. The story is full of innuendo, mis-
    information and factual errors. Shame on you.

  • EatingDuckThursday

    This idiot does live on a 28 acres in the forest of Idaho. I doubt he gets out much and is as “credible” as the lies reported in a NYT opinion piece, which was factually debunked on tomahawknation. Nice skullet by the way.

  • MarcTheDuck

    Ladies, some of you may not have lived long enough to know this yet. This is no where near the first time something like this has happened. It has happened a lot. If you really want to make sure you don’t get raped then don’t go to a house full of guys (especially big time athletes) and allow yourself to get drunk. I’m not saying that all guys or all athletes would do this. Probably most wouldn’t. But if you put yourself in a compromised situation with guys that have gotten a “pass” for many of their misdeeds all their lives (because they are valuable athletes) then you are taking a big risk. Don’t go party yourself incoherent at a house full of football or basketball players (or even at a fraternity by yourself) if you want to really make sure you’re safe from something like this. Prosecutors won’t touch it if you have put yourself in that position because it’s just a your-word against their-word situation and, after all, you were at their place, drunk, not at your place. No, it’s not fair. It’s just that there really is insufficient evidence to prosecute. You see this happen to some coed pretty much every year. They probably aren’t old enough to have heard about last year’s coed victim.