Failure of FSU and White House to arrange celebratory visit raises questions

adell@bradenton.comJune 18, 2014 

It appears to be in the best interests of everyone.

For the first time in a decade, the BCS championship team is not expected to visit the White House.

You can feel a sigh of relief in every part of the country.

FSU head football coach Jimbo Fisher said he and the White House could not reach a mutual agreement, though he offered more than 1,000 dates.

You don't have to look at a calendar to realize that 1,000 dates would take us well into 2017.

By that time President Barack Obama would out of the White House and maybe FSU and the Tallahassee police department would change the way they handle sexual assault allegations.

For now let's assume the obvious -- It's in nobody's best interests for FSU to visit the White House.

Does FSU really want 'Noles Heisman trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston walking around the White House unattended?

Do school administrators feel comfortable about

him addressing issues regarding the rape charge, the apartments he and his teammates damaged during prolonged BB gun fights or the food he stole from Publix last April?

Winston usually speaks through a lawyer, and it would be hard for FSU to justify the presence of one at a visit to the first family's not-so-humble abode.

In many eyes, Obama would appear to be a hypocrite if he invited this football team.

FSU won the BCS national title on January 6th.

On January 22, Obama announced the creation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault.

Obama said the task force was needed to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.

"I've got your back," he told victims.

The White House task force reports that 1-in-5 women are sexually assaulted in college -- many are survivors of incapacitated assault in that they are sexually assaulted while drugged, drunk, passed out or otherwise incapacitated.

Vice President Joe Biden said only 2 percent of incapacitated sexual assault survivors and 13 percent of forcible rape survivors report the crime to campus or local law enforcement.

One of the reasons is that survivors fear treatment by authorities, he says.

This sounds too familiar, too … FSU-like.

Can you imagine Obama lauding the football team while women's advocacy groups against violence protest outside the White House?

Winston is a lightning rod for controversy that POTUS doesn't want on his doorstep.

FSU has been waiting for the rape allegation and its collateral damage to go away, but the quarterback keeps committing character-questioning acts, followed by some school official making a public blunder, as if by clockwork.

FSU stoked the fires again early this month, in a school code of conduct hearing for Winston's roommates and teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, rendering what many see as a slap on the wrist.

Casher told police he recorded a portion of the sex act, but then deleted the footage and no longer had the phone.

He was found responsible for two alleged violations of the student code: acts that invade the privacy of another person, and recording images without consent, and was put on probation as a result, according to reports. Darby's attorney maintained that his client has been exonerated in the matter.

Fischer says FSU and the White House cannot agree on a date, but that never seems the be an issue for other teams -- some with much busier schedules, in fact.

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks made their visit. Members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins recently came.

Connecticut's men's and women's basketball teams won national titles in April and visited the White House in June.

The U.S. Naval Academy football team visited last month. The Miami Heat visited after its 2013 championship run.

The University of Florida football team visited twice in the three years the Gators won the national title.

FSU can't make it?

None had the baggage FSU carries, which is why the dates not matching up is better for everyone.

At the least, it gives sexual assault victims hope their voices are not falling on deaf ears.

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