Justice needs to be served as relates to Jameis Winston and his accuser, but that involves doing the right thing for both parties involved. For reasons I have yet to see mentioned, an investigation into the events from December 7th wasn’t opened until November 14th of this year. Whatever the reason for the delay, the right thing to do is to wait until after the Florida State Seminoles are done with this season’s campaign to make any formal charges or include Winston in the investigation any further than he already has been involved to date.

While many of you might want to start yelling at me, talking about how misguided my opinion might be, this is the right thing to do.

I’m not especially a college football fan. I’m certainly not a Florida State fan, nor do I have any rooting interest in any of the teams involved with the National Championship situation.  What I care about is that a young man’s future will be significantly affected by any ruling or involvement in the investigation.

Don’t misunderstand where I’m coming from, I’m not saying Winston is undoubtedly innocent. The fact remains that in the United States, a person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, which means we should treat him at this point as if he’s innocent. It’s bad enough that these accusations were made public and his name is now tarnished. When I mention Duke Lacrosse, isn’t rape the first thing that comes to mind? It shouldn’t be, since the 2006 charges that were all over the media were eventually dropped. The same stigma shouldn’t be attached to Winston unless he is proven guilty of doing something.

To charge Winston now, or to even significantly involve him in the investigation, would have serious implications on his future career. By all accounts, when he eventually hits the NFL Draft, he’s very likely to be the top overall pick. Experts have him as the top prospect and very likely a franchise quarterback. Taking his focus away from playing football during this campaign would have implications not only on Florida State’s chances to win the National Championship – an accomplishment of immeasurable value to the school, but also affects his potential as a professional quarterback. It has little to do with his perceived value and character, but it has everything to do with his football resume and the advancement of his skills.

If he did it, Jameis Winston should be brought to justice. It should have happened 9 months ago, though. If the cause for the delay is because of a cover-up, those individuals involved should be brought to justice as well. If that’s the ultimate verdict at the culmination of this investigation, Jameis Winston’s future will be ruined. Not only will he be put in jail and rightly marked with the stigma of being a sex offender, but he won’t have a professional career of any significant note – if at all.

If he’s innocent, which he is presumed to be at this moment, Jameis Winston should be allowed to continue his pursuit of what could put him near the top of his chosen profession. Derailing that or stalling it at this point has significant implications. Waiting two months doesn’t. Not even if he’s guilty.

This opinion doesn’t mean that I care more about Jameis Winston than I do his accuser. It just means that I respect both of their rights equally. Just because this investigation didn’t take shape in a timely manner doesn’t mean that Winston deserves any less justice to be served than his accuser. If Winston is innocent, justice is surely not being served by taking him away from what very well might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Florida State. If he’s found guilty, it shouldn’t matter if they waited two additional months.