Meet Chris Elsberry, longtime columnist for the Connecticut Post. Elsberry wants to explain to you why he listed Jameis Winston second on his Heisman ballot, behind BC's Andre Williams. You guessed it: the "integrity" clause.
Although he did not have rape charges leveled against him (the case was closed on Thursday), it seems to me that Winston, 19, showed little or no "integrity" in having sex with his now accuser. College athletes aren't just role models, they're often singled out and even preyed upon. And Winston should have known that something like this might come back to haunt him, which it has, big-time. Even though he's innocent, the dark cloud of the incident will likely never go away.
OK, fine. It's hard not to read the full case report and come away thinking that bad decisions were made. Elsberry's got the right to weigh in according to his opinion. But the real egregious bit here comes earlier in the column: Elsberry was set in his opinion before he knew even the tiniest bit of what happened last December.
With the deadline for the Heisman ballot looming (it's Monday) and unsure if or when any action on Winston's case might take place, I decided to go with the "integrity" aspect and voted on Wednesday for Boston College senior running back Andre Williams.
Read that again. The Heisman deadline is today, and ballots can be filed online. Elsberry sent in his ballot on Wednesday. We'll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume he filed it before it was announced later that day that a decision on Winston would come down on Thursday. But rather than wait until the last moment to vote, either for an announcement to come or to at least pretend he was waiting for facts before passing moral judgment, Elsberry knocked Winston down a slot based solely on what was publicly known at the time: that Winston had sexual contact with his accuser. That's all. Elsberry had already made his mind up, no matter what the investigation documents contained.
Setting aside questions of Winston's "integrity," it's pretty weird that a voter so concerned with it wouldn't have any interest in waiting for the maximum number of facts before condemning him. But cut Elsberry a break: he was a busy man who also had to file his Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
Yes! In the same column, Elsberry reveals his HOF ballot: 10 guys, no steroid users. It's too exhausting to take issue with his choice of players, but not with the fact that there's any overlap whatsoever between HOF voters and Heisman voters. Elsberry got his BBWAA badge in 1989; he's a guy who hasn't covered baseball in years and years, yet has a vote because no one ever loses one. Both electorates are woefully bloated, so we shouldn't be shocked when dumb votes go through.
Winston undeserving of Heisman accolade [Connecticut Post]