Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has threatened to sue CNN if the television network aired a documentary that focuses on rape at college campuses. The special has already aired, and now it remains to be seen if Winston will follow through with the defamation lawsuit.
Winston was plagued by controversy throughout much of his controversial collegiate football career. But perhaps most troubling out of all his incidents and shenanigans were the allegations that he raped Erica Kinsman while he was the quarterback the Florida State Seminoles.
Ultimately, Winston was never charged in the investigation. Afterwards, the Tallahassee, FL police department was slammed for being too easy on the star quarterback. Since then, Kinsman has filed a civil lawsuit against Winston for $15,000, while Winston has countersued for defamation of character.
Earlier this year, a documentary about rape on college campuses called The Hunting Ground was shown at The Sundance Film Festival. The movie featured the case involving Winston and Kinsman. Winston’s attorney attacked the movie, saying that it presents a false narrative. This is the same documentary that CNN aired on Sunday night. It is unknown if Winston still plans to sue CNN.
Before the documentary aired, Winston’s attorney Timothy Jansen wrote a letter to CNN that said, “We are writing to formally caution CNN that the portions of the film 'The Hunting Ground' pertaining to Mr. Winston are false and defamatory to Mr. Winston. We urge CNN to reconsider the reckless decision to proceed with the broadcast of this deeply-flawed documentary in the face of the overwhelming evidence the film's producers consciously and intentionally failed to adhere to any accepted journalistic standards."
Meanwhile, directors of the film, Kirby Dick and Amy Zeiring have supported the movie.
"When documentaries bring to light uncomfortable truths about powerful people and institutions, it's not unusual for them to wage aggressive campaigns to silence their critics. That's what we're seeing now. We invite viewers to watch the documentary and draw their own conclusions."
All in all, the documentary highlights a troubling issue. Colleges make millions of dollars off of their star athletes. They’re so important, that officials are apparently allowing them to get away with serious crimes. Winston has the money and the resources to be successful in a court of law. Time will tell if the quarterback is able to defend his character in this situation.