Two days ago, reports surfaced that Jameis Winston, the prospective No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, wouldn't be flying out to Chicago to attend the draft. It'd be highly unusual to not see the first overall pick walk across the Draft's stage to shake Roger Goodell's hand and smile for the cameras, but the NFL isn't chancing the possibility of any negative press surrounding Winston's attendance. According to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, the league put "a little bit of pressure” on Winston to stay home and watch with his family in Alabama.
Calling the NFL's approach "pragmatic," Cole outlined why Winston's been advised to stay away.
“The NFL in the aftermath of the everything they’ve dealt with, from Greg Hardy to Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson, is very much afraid of protests that are going to go along with Jameis Winston being a first-round pick, let alone being the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and essentially being the face of the NFL Draft in 2015," he said on Bleacher Report.
Winston met with Goodell personally last week for over four hours. Cole suggests that the result of the meeting may have been an arrangement or plan to do everything possible to keep Winston, a player who's been involved in more than a few damaging high-profile scandals and incidents at Florida State, out of the public eye until a team drafts him.
Either way, Winston's set up to be a victim of the classic Streisand Effect. In trying to play a conservative game of chicken with the media, the league's only done more to load rhetorically enflamed headlines and demands onto Winston's plate.
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[via Bleacher Report]