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“How to throw your future away” – by De’Andre Johnson
De’Andre Johnson had everything lined up perfectly in his life. Entering his senior year of high school football he had a tremendous amount of potential at the quarterback position as a dual threat, 6 foot tall, 177 pound prospect. Luckily he was born in a state where football is one of the paramount sports locally and he would soon attract attention from many universities around the area. He would throw for 11,697 yards, 131 touchdowns, and 23 rushing touchdowns and an impressive completion rating of 62% over the entirety of his career.
His senior year was impeccable and he was awarded the tremendous award of “2014 Florida Mr. Football”. It’s an award that generally sets a player apart from the rest of the pack in one of the best football states in the country. His father Earl thought his son was an underrated prospect and finally this would give him the credit for what he accomplished at Jacksonville First Coast High. Johnson’s dad was quoted, “I already cried” when he first heard the news, and was glowing now that son’s accomplishments were finally being realized.
Johnson would soon commit to attend Florida State University and he watched the controversial Jameis Winston fight his way to the semifinals of the new college football playoffs in 2014. Jameis Winston and Jimbo Fisher won the National Championship the year before, but would not make it there in 2014. Winston would commit to the NFL draft and went first overall to Tampa Bay.
You would think De’Andre Johnson would take everything Jameis Winston did in his career, both good and bad, and learn from it. However Johnson would later prove the opposite.
Winston won a national championship and went first overall but his career was filled with issues and controversy. In 2012, Winston and another FSU player were held by campus police for allegedly bringing a BB gun on campus and firing at squirrels, however no charges would be filed. The Florida State Attorney’s office opened an investigation into a sexual assault that resulted in no conviction in 2013. Later that same year a Burger King employee called police to complain that Winston stole soda. In 2014, Winston was issued an adult civil citation for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix supermarket. Later that same year, Winston was suspended for FSU’s game against Clemson when several students reported that he shouted “F**k her right in the p***y” while standing on top of a table in the FSU student union center.
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Somehow, despite all of this controversy this player remained on the Florida State Football team and went first overall in the NFL draft. What are we learning from all of this? Football is willing to do anything in order to win. Coaches take players lacking any respectable character in order to win football games. Any other regular student of FSU would have been expelled with this long list of problems he brought gifted the university. The NCAA doesn’t care either. Scholars before athletes? Give me a break. The Florida State Football team makes $57m in revenue a year. This is a business like any other, and one that has no ethics or moral code.
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De’Andre Johnson would show up to Florida State and start living out his dream this past January. He was slated to be a part of the quarterback battle looming with the departure of the troubled Jameis Winston. Johnson was Mr. Florida and had the ability to beat out his competition. Florida Head Coach Jimbo Fisher has presided over six open quarterback position battles in his coaching career; two out of the six years the younger player won the battle. The young man had the ability to make himself into an NFL star, a millionaire, and be a college football star on a campus that idolizes their athletes.
On June 24th 2015, Johnson would head to the bar and throw it all away. He made the one mistake that Winston did not; let his idiotic behavior be caught on camera.
Johnson punched a woman in the face. One of the most unthinkable acts I could personally commit. The video says it all. According to the report the woman suffered bruising of her left eye, swelling of her left cheek and upper lip, and a cut on the bridge of his nose. After the video emerged Johnson would be suspended, and eventually kicked off the football team. Now he is back in Jacksonville without a job or future where his name is forever marred by the incident and its repercussions. A full scholarship to play football at one of America’s top programs and the opportunity to be a star thrown away in a flash. There are reports that there was a racial slur used by the women but there is no excuse even if that did occur. You have to walk away, words may pierce the heart but his reaction is absolutely inexcusable no matter what she may or may not have said. There is only video proof of the incident and the only thing one can see is a young man that made a terrible, terrible mistake.
Johnson’s comment to Good Morning America: “There’s no explanation for that. I totally should have walked away,” said Johnson, who was accompanied by his mother, Pamela Jones, during the interview. “I am ashamed of that. I’m sorry. I apologize to the lady in the incident, to her family, to my family, to my mother. I know I wasn’t raised that way.”
After all of this ‘accountability’ he has plead not guilty. Unbelievably still no real accountability.
The ignorance toward a player’s attitude, character just because level of talent and potential is high needs to stop. Jimbo Fisher needs to control his program or someone else will soon be controlling it for him. Fisher has since banned all FSU football players from local bars and the team’s president met with the team to address the issues. There is no excuse for violence toward women. Football needs a serious look in the mirror. Respect, character, and accountability are all factors that seriously lack in some football programs and it starts from the top. The NCAA and right down to the coaching level need to be put under the microscope and foul play needs to be addressed. The NCAA claims to take its academic standards over its business interests, but when an organization approaches $1 billion a year in revenue it’s tough to take that claim seriously. In the end, it has become way more than a game. It’s become almost too big to control. Football needs change morally and ethically at all levels of play.
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