Let FSU Hate Week commence!
It’s not just a Gator thing, though. The feeling around the country is that Oregon carried out some kind of divine justice in last January’s Rose Bowl, and the college football world will forever hold a warm place in our collective hearts for the 2014 Oregon Ducks as some sort of weird guardian angel. Simply put, watching FSU get clobbered 59-20 was a memory the college football will never forget.
But no team or fan base hates FSU more than Florida, and for good reason. FSU fans have been, by and large, haughty jerks ever since the euphoria of Florida’s 37-26 win over the Noles in November of 2012 wore off. Since then, Florida has ceded its bragging rights to its in-state rival thanks to Will Muschamp’s deficiencies as a head coach and the simultaneous (and not so coinciding) success that Jimbo Fisher has brought to Tallahassee (namely a national championship and three straight ACC crowns). This sequence has led to two years of FSU fans mocking Florida’s 4-8 record in 2013, claiming to be state champions, and giddily pointing out the fact that they’ve beaten Florida twice in a row.
But while I’ve grown tired of such taunts, that’s not an adequate reason to hate FSU. There are several other, better reasons to hate the Noles. Here are the top five.
1) Football is more important than justice to FSU and the Tallahassee Police Department
The reputation of Tallahassee authorities caring more about football than justice was sealed on December 2, 2014- the day of the “student hearing” (complete transcript of the hearing attached here) regarding Jameis Winston’s alleged rape. Ignored were the multiple testimonies from the alleged victim’s witnesses and the fact that Winston’s witnesses (read: teammates), Ronald Darby and Chris Casher, refused to testify. In a real court of law, that could potentially be deemed a crime called obstruction of justice. But at FSU, that’s just called being a good teammate. And yet it pales in comparison to the level of corruption that trusted authority figures- administrators and police officers- have demonstrated.
The first red flag was Winston’s DNA found on the girl’s underwear. But all Jameis had to do was swear the sex was consensual for that bit of evidence to be rendered useless. When asked how, exactly, the girl consented, Winston said “by moaning“. Now, it’s clear Winston isn’t the world’s brightest guy- stealing crab legs and soda, shooting at squirrels with a BB gun and yelling things like this in public just to get attention is evidence of that- and so I suppose it’s possible that he might not have totally understood the question, but the fact that he said he interpreted moaning to automatically equal consent to sex should have at least set off an alarm bell in the head of Major Harding (the retired Florida Supreme Court Justice running the hearing), no? I mean, Jameis is implicitly admitting that the girl never verbally agreed, or even nodded her head, and all he’s admitting to having in terms of proof of consent is her moaning? Shouldn’t that at the very least trigger a follow up question or two?
Equally despicable is the failure to investigate the advocate of the alleged victim in the transcript that stated that her behavior was “consistent with that of someone traumatized by sexual assault”. This was a social worker at the hospital who was with the victim not long after she was allegedly raped. How did Winston counter this claim? By trying to shoot down her credibility, of course. Winston replied that the advocate’s opinions were “based on 60 hours of training” and that she was not a clinical psychologist. And while we’re ignoring what people who work at hospitals say, let’s also ignore the fact that the alleged victim was found to have clear vaginal tenderness in the aftermath of the alleged assault- which could mean nothing, but was a fact that Jameis wasn’t forced to address.
Of course, this could have all been avoided had the Tallahassee Police Department launched an actual investigation- one presumably conducted with what pass for their brains and moral compasses engaged. As we know, the TPD elected to basically not do anything at all, opting instead to allow their local team’s quarterback to prepare to lead his school to a national championship. Why boggle his mind with something as trivial as a sexual assault when he can win your hometown team a national championship, right?
Having said all of that: I completely understand that there is a legitimate possibility he’s innocent, but why am I still talking about possibilities three years after the initial complaint was filed? The alleged victim initially called the police on December 2, 2012. Here we are now, approaching December of 2015, and we know little more now than we did then despite the same red flags (advocate’s testimony, Winston’s DNA, and the girl’s vaginal tenderness) ignored by Harding popping up on the TPD’s desk first. And the TPD, with the power to investigate further, either failed to investigate completely or completely failed to investigate.
Sadly, the police’s disgraceful mishandling of the Winston case was nothing new. The New York Times launched its own investigation into the Tallahassee Police Department and uncovered several more potential crimes that the TPD simply ignored or buried. Most notable in that article I just linked is the incident involving an FSU football player beating his girlfriend as she tried to leave his apartment with her baby in her arms. The incident was reported to the sergeant (an FSU fan, as the piece notes) who merely buried the report away forever.
Now here’s the scariest part. We know for a fact that the police botched the Jameis Winston rape allegation- they’ve grudgingly admitted as such- so is it such a stretch to believe that they’ve made more errors, quite possibly on purpose, to preserve the active roster of their city’s college football team? And in response to the widespread reaction from FSU fans to dismiss the New York Times’ piece as a “hack” job, why, exactly, would a major news publication located in New York simply fabricate a story about something that’s happening in Florida? The idea that the Tallahassee Police Department is full of people who pull hard for their local football program is certainly a more plausible one than the idea that the New York Times is willing to throw away the reputation they’ve spent 165 years building by enticing a record number of those ad clicks I mentioned earlier on one story that they made up solely for that purpose. But as we’ll get to later, that sort of logic just gets lost on many FSU fans.
2) FSU’s football program is filled with thugs
While the TPD may be ignoring a lot of the crimes that go on in Tallahassee, they can’t ignore all of them. The 29 game win streak FSU fans bragged so much about came with quite a bit of baggage. Here’s a comprehensive list of FSU player arrests since their dominance began in 2013:
-In the summer of 2013, wide receiver Greg Dent was accused of raping a girl. He was not happy with a girl (that he had known for a long time) telling him that she didn’t want to have sex. Dent subsequently left the room, returned naked and “forcibly removed her clothes” so he could force himself on her. He was arrested for sexual battery and dismissed from the team, but wound up being charged only with misdemeanor battery. What was Jimbo Fisher’s reaction to that? “I’m extremely happy that that turned out. I think Dent is an outstanding young man…” Yes, really. Though he did kick him off the team, that statement… oh man.
-I believe that James Wilder Jr. enjoys the feeling of having his hands cuffed together. Between February of 2012 and April of 2014, he was arrested four separate times. While none of the offenses were particularly violent, it’s worth a shake of the head to see the same guy get arrested four times in 26 months.
-Last spring, offensive lineman Ira Denson stole teammate Mario Pender’s credit card and subsequently used it several times, racking up $501.36 in purchases. Naturally, once he found out, Pender was pissed, and countered by stealing a pair of Denson’s shoes. How did the two young men handle it? With a shooting, of course, one that resulted in Pender’s brother being shot in the head. To his credit, Jimbo Fisher did kick Denson off the team after he was charged with being an accessory to the shooting.
-We all know by now about Jameis Winston stealing crab legs and soda, and shooting at squirrels with a BB gun. But it’s really unfortunate that the most famous instance of FSU players misbehaving is one of the most innocuous. I can’t really bring myself to hate a program because their QB stole $32.72 worth of seafood, or even shooting at squirrels. Nevertheless, stealing is against the law, and Winston broke that law.
-Last July, wide receiver Jesus Wilson stole a motor scooter on the FSU campus and paraded around with it like he’d just discovered a Ferrari in the middle of the Sahara. Unfortunately, he was even worse at driving it than he is at using common sense, and his little joyride abruptly ended in a violent crash that cost nearly $1,000 in damages. He was suspended for one game.
-This past August, FSU QB De’Andre Johnson, um, “encountered” a woman in a bar. The argument immediately turned physical, and after the woman appeared to punch him, Johnson reared back and slugged her in the face with all his might. That’s not to say she was justified in swinging first- she wasn’t- but Johnson was dumb enough to swing back and ruin whatever semblance of a football career he might have had (Jimbo Fisher had no problem kicking off his third string QB).
-FSU tailback Dalvin Cook has been on quite the legal adventure since he arrived in Tallahassee. First, he was cited in 2014 for strangling a trio of dogs by tying them tightly together with a heavy chain. Later that year, he was named as an associate in an aggravated assault. And then last month, he was the one charged with assault after striking a woman in the face several times. Now, did he actually punch that woman in the face? I dunno, it’s not like there’s a real justice system there for us to find out…
…And then, of course, there’s all the stuff the TPD lets the players get away with, and thus I can’t factually attribute to them. There was a domestic disturbance involving an FSU football player. There was a hit and run engineered by PJ Williams that resulted in the complete evisceration of another person’s car. There was the aforementioned assault allegedly carried out by Karlos Williams. And there’s more, but you get the picture.
As a footnote to both 1) and 2): don’t play the “glass house” game with me. I know Urban Meyer ran a dirty program too- a filthy one, really. But Meyer’s program being corrupt does nothing to change the fact that FSU’s program is worse.
3) #FSUTwitter is, without exaggeration, the worst group of fans in existence
Not all FSU fans are bad. I’ve met some Noles who are really good people, and I even consider some to be good friends of mine. A large portion of my family are FSU grads; they are smart, successful people with a lot of great qualities, and I know there are others out there just like them. And yes, every school has its share of bad fans, including Florida. You will not get one word of argument from me about that.
But then there’s the portion of FSU fans on twitter who claim the hashtag #FSUTwitter- without a doubt the most vile, repulsive, obnoxious, delusional and messed-up-in-the-head group of creatures to ever band together and swear allegiance to a sports team. Even some FSU fans hate them, and if you are one of them- bravo. I applaud you. Because like it or not- and I do believe #FSUTwitter was originally created with good intentions- this tweet has become the epitome of what #FSUTwitter stands for:
With the raw intelligence of Patrick Star, the logic skills of a four year old explaining why Santa is real, and the moral compass of Somali pirates, #FSUTwitter belongs in a video that demonstrates to young kids how not to act. Their main general tactic is to attack somebody with phrases like “your gay and ugly” and then encourage fellow #FSUTwitter members to jump in with clever responses like “GOT EM,” “BRUH I CAN’T,” “SAVAGE,” and everybody’s favorite, “Just take the L fam” to help the initial #FSUTwitter “win” the argument. As if all those brilliant phrases really equates to accomplishing anything. These people possess little if any knowledge about football, opting instead to engage in en masse personal attacks against any who oppose them, and throwing “#FSUTwitter” somewhere into their tweet like some sort of deranged battle cry. In fact, if some these brave internet warriors behaved in real life the way they do behind computer screens, they’d be rightfully thrown in jail.
Predictably, anybody who stands in the way of FSU’s football team winning games gets the worst of it. How do you think this nasty group of societal misfits reacted when they found out Jameis Winston was being accused of rape? If you guessed “finding out who the accuser was and posting her name and face for all to see,” you’re right! Never mind that she might have been raped. How dare she threaten their favorite football team’s success, a crime #FSUTwitter decided to make her pay for with death threats. And how did #FSUTwitter treat the reporter who broke the story? With death threats, of course, which caused him to alert the police after he received enough of them.
Another notable misadventure of #FSUTwitter was their war with Michelle Beadle, who dared call them out for repeated acts of malice and stupidity. Instead of helping their cause with a rational collective response, they instead chose to prove her various points by personally attacking her in a wide variety of ways, the most notable of which were comparing her to Hitler and calling her the “C” word. After being laughed at some more, #FSUTwitter then chose to cry about it by creating a petition calling for ESPN to fire her. Weird, I thought it was reporters’ jobs to tell the truth.
But the most abhorrent treatment of all is saved for some of their fellow FSU fans. Last September, Jameis Winston decided to jump on a table and scream (earmuffs, kids)… “f*ck her right in the p*ssy.” Naturally, fellow FSU students tweeted about it- how could they not?- and when he got in trouble, #FSUTwitter decided to blame the twitter users for tweeting about what Jameis did rather than blame Jameis for actually doing the stupid thing that got him suspended in the first place. One particular twitter user named Katie got repeated death threats, including a chilling wish that she “die slow.” The picture linked in that initial threat to her has been deleted, since the initial tweet was deleted, but I’ll never forget it. It was a screenshot of a description of a particularly violent and disgusting form of medieval torture, meaning that was what this user wanted to do to Katie. Consider yourself warned, and click here to see for yourself at your own risk. Yikes, man. That’s ISIS-level bad. And all because she dared tweet about what Jameis Winston said.
To add to that, these particular fans operate with a sub-standard level of intelligence. They brag about how they’ve accomplished more than Florida despite only existing since 1947, as if they would have won national championships in a time when college football was dominated by northern schools. They claim that FSU has won 19 national championships across all sports even though they’ve only won 11 in reality. And they act as though the Gators aren’t really the 1996 national champions (since they beat Florida in the regular season) even though Florida clobbered them 52-20 in the national championship game.
4) Everything about their school’s mascot and traditions is racist
I’ve got to start somewhere here, so how about with that repulsive war chant that completely and utterly violates our ears? It should be banned from college football for sheer annoyance alone, yet that’s not even the biggest problem it creates. Calling a bland and tuneless “chant” the “war chant”, and then synonymizing your athletic program to it, accomplishes nothing other than reducing the various sacred traditions of Native American tribes to one letter that gets bellowed in pitches that alternate every second or so. I’m sure the majority of Native Americans appreciate being represented with a prolonged scream that sounds like a woman trying to sing while simultaneously giving birth, and the so called “tomahawk chop” that goes with it.
Speaking of that chop: I hate it for the exact same reason. Doing it to the tune of the war chant merely doubles the level of irritation, and yet like the chant, that’s not the biggest problem it causes. The chop represents the Seminole tribe- and Native Americans everywhere- with a movement of the arm that bears striking resemblance to a slow motion video of a chef cutting up a carrot.
Then there’s the mascot, Chief Osceola, which features a white male FSU student painting his face to look like, well, a chief, riding a horse to midfield and planting a flaming spear. Making things worse, there are fans who paint their faces with war paint and stick feathers in their hair. If blackface is considered to be so racist, what makes this any better? Because it’s not the entire face that gets painted?
Something tells me that the Seminole tribe doesn’t enjoy all their rituals being represented with a gesture that is ridiculously easy for people to make fun of. Actually, wait, I know for a fact that they don’t. And I’m not talking about the Florida Seminole Tribal Council, who are “OK” with it. You’re damned right they’re OK with it- they use the brand name of the FSU football team to promote their own gambling operations, make an obscene amount of money off of said gambling operations and then fail to distribute said money to their fellow Native Americans who really need it. Instead, I’m talking about the Seminoles in Oklahoma- where the overwhelming majority of Seminole Native Americans live. By “overwhelming majority”, I mean nearly 19,000 in Oklahoma to 2,000 in Florida. And the “overwhelming majority”, as defined above, doesn’t like the way FSU portrays them.
5) FSU’s success is based largely on the weak conference they play in
FSU had a 29 game winning streak going before Oregon emphatically snapped it. But Oregon is far from the only team to embarrass FSU on a big stage like that. For example, did you know FSU is 3-7 in national championship/BCS/CFP games- and one of those wins was in the Orange Bowl against a Northern Illinois team that won the lowly MAC and had no business being in a BCS Bowl? There’s a reason for that.
Let’s dissect that winning streak: 19 of the 29 wins came against ACC teams, which has to be the weakest of the nation’s so called “Power Five” conferences. Five more were against cupcakes (Nevada, Bethune Cookman, Idaho, the Citadel and NIU), two more came against Florida teams that combined for 11 wins in those two years, one was against an Oklahoma State team that finished 6-6 and one was against a Notre Dame team that completely collapsed down the stretch and lost its last five games.
That leaves exactly one win in this long streak that’s truly worth boasting about: the dramatic come from behind win over Auburn to win the final BCS Championship Game. But even that has negligible value: they had to fight for their lives to win the national championship over a team that would have finished 9-3 had it not benefitted from not one but two of the luckiest plays in college football history, and could have easily been 8-4 without the benefit of this play.
So while FSU’s 2013 title is certainly legitimate, it’s not without questions regarding how they would have performed on a week to week basis in the SEC or Big 12. They very nearly lost to what was probably the fifth best team in the SEC, and that was with a month off to prepare for it. If nothing else, it certainly raises question marks about how different their record might have been had they faced a four week stretch that included Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina (who was good then, remember). Sledgehammering patsies on a weekly basis in the ACC provides FSU with an exponentially less difficult path to navigate to a potential championship than having to scratch and claw to survive each game in the SEC. And while FSU may very well have torn through the SEC in 2013, the fact that they celebrate an undefeated season while the rest of the country laments not getting to see them try to is frustrating.
Then there’s this year. The Noles come into this weekend’s game at 9-2; I say with full confidence that if this team played in the SEC, they’d be 7-4 at best and quite possibly in danger of missing a bowl game. They may be able to squeak out wins against Boston College, Miami, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech (…or not) but I’d pay money to see what happens if they play like that against Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Missouri. They’d be lucky to split those games and go 3-3.
Because they’ll always be in the ultra-weak ACC, we’re forced to just accept the fact that they’ll always win a large percentage of their games, and listen to them brag about their record, winning percentage over the last however many years they feel like bragging about and the high ranking/respectable bowl game they’ll get because of that nice record. Which is annoying beyond words.