After a couple of incidents in the past few weeks, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher is implementing a plan to designed to keep his players out of trouble. The first step is to ban his players from going to bars (although one wonders how likely that is to work over time), and the second step is to bring in professionals who will mentor the players.
Both quarterback De’Andre Johnson and running back Dalvin Cook were recently charged with punching women in local bars. Cook received an indefinite suspension after he was charged with hitting a woman near a bar in downtown Tallahassee. The bar had closed on June 23, and Cook got into an argument with the alleged victim, along with some other Seminole players. The alleged victim, Madison Geohegan, told the police that the first person to intimidate her was wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who got too close to her so she pushed him. She says that Cook then approached her, asked her why she would push Rudolph, and then started swinging. She ended up falling back against a Jeep that was sitting by the road. Police have given Cook the choice of turning himself in, but he has denied hitting the woman.
There is some more evidence against Johnson, who appears on surveillance footage hitting a woman at a different bar by the FSU campus on June 24. He was charged the next day, and Coach Fisher suspended him. When the video came out the next day, Fisher kicked him off the team. According to Fox News, Fisher said in a statement, “I remain committed to educating our young men and holding them accountable for their actions. We will do better. I will not tolerate anything less.” University president John Thrasher tasked Fisher and the university’s athletic director with putting together a plan to help the athletes realize what the consequences of their actions will be.
As reported by Fox Sports, Thrasher said in a statement that this would “include Coach Fisher meeting immediately with his team to reiterate, in no uncertain terms, our expectations of them. I also plan to meet with the team, and we will be asking professionals who deal with these matters, including State Attorney Willie Meggs, to speak with them. It is unfortunate that the actions of a very few individuals are causing embarrassment to their teammates and this university.”
Of course, Cook and Johnson aren’t the first two Seminoles to bring notoriety to the campus for their actions when they are off the field. Jameis Winston, now a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, went through sexual assault allegations and even stole some seafood from a local store and made inappropriate comments when out at a local bar, keeping FSU in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Thrasher and Fisher are right to try and overhaul the discipline system for athletes at the university. The real question, of course, is why it took so long in the first place.