Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II was convicted of rape, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct on Monday—charges that stem from separate incidents involving Winslow sexually assaulting a woman, exposing himself to another woman, and touching himself in front of a third woman. A mistrial was declared on charges related to two other rapes, 15 years apart, and prosecutors haven’t said yet if they will retry him on those charges as well.
Today, Sports Illustrated published a lengthy story detailing Winslow’s crimes as well as the trial. Robert Klemko’s reporting also discovered some disturbing details about Winslow’s conduct during his NFL career. Winslow’s alleged actions from his time as a pro don’t include descriptions of rape or predatory exposure, but they still betray a complete lack of sexual boundaries around his co-workers. Winslow, it appears, freely masturbated and looked at porn with no regard for who might notice around him:
He could count on having an empty seat next to him on any team flight, due to his ritual of watching hardcore pornography on his portable DVD player, according to those sources. On one occasion, an equipment manager tasked with delivering gear to lockers after hours walked in on Winslow masturbating at his locker, two seats away from the entrance, according to two team officials familiar with the incident.
SI briefly mentions that Winslow would brag about cheating on his wife by having one-night stands on road trips, but it focuses mainly on the behavior his teammates specifically witnessed while he was in the NFL:
When pornography became widely available on mobile phones, he often watched it on his smartphone during meetings, the two former teammates said (nowadays, such sites would typically be blocked by the building WiFi). Teammates begged out of shared hotel room assignments with Winslow because he watched pornography and masturbated openly, with no regard for who was in the room, a teammate and an official said.
The article notes that, after a player asked to switch rooms, Browns coaches Romeo Crennel and Terry Robiskie tried to mentor Winslow so he would change his habits, but it didn’t work:
Later on in his career, after being sent to Tampa Bay via trade, Winslow acquired a life-sized silicone mold of a woman’s torso—complete with vagina and anus—to bring with him on road trips, according to one former assistant coach.
“He was infantile, just very transparent,” one unnamed team official said in the article. “With Kellen, everybody knew what he was about: video games and fucking.”
To claim some sort of cause-and-effect here—that Kellen Winslow became a rapist because he couldn’t stop masturbating to porn—is obviously an impossible and misguided exercise. But even when viewed completely outside of his recent conviction, Winslow’s masturbation and porn habits were a serious workplace misconduct issue. It’s frustrating, if unsurprising, to see that nobody in a position of authority in the NFL could properly deal with an employee who displayed a pattern of inappropriate and sexually threatening behavior.