The biggest story in Jameis Winston's career so far hasn't been his on-field prowess, but the fact that he was accused of rape. That accusation has played out publicly and as a result has garnered a lot of attention, although Winston was never found guilty in any of the investigations he went through.
One overlooked part of those investigations is the mention of a second woman who was troubled by her sexual encounter with Winston. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report now says that "multiple sources" expect a second accuser to come forward, either as part of the first accuser's civil suit, or as part of her own lawsuit.
"Jameis Winston is going to be subject to a civil lawsuit going forward," Jason Cole said. "Currently, the alleged [first] victim has already filed a lawsuit against Florida State, is expected to include Jameis Winston either as part of that lawsuit, or as part of a separate civil lawsuit somewhere down the line.
"And finally, there's a second woman who claims to have had an encounter with Jameis Winston in 2013. There's some expectation out there among multiple sources that she may come forward as part of that civli suit, and either file her own civil action, or at least testify on behalf of the first alleged victim."
Cole also noted that neither the Bucs nor the NFL have spoken to Winston's accuser, nor reached out to their representation, legal or otherwise. That's not necessarily surprising: calling rape survivors to ask them to talk about their rapists' character is not something anyone does lightly, because that carries the strong risk of re-victimization. Would you trust an NFL team investigating someone they want to heavily invest in, to treat your feelings respectfully in an interview, and to respect your boundaries? On the other hand, Sharona of @SportsBySharona correctly points out that either entity could simply go through her lawyer.
This second accuser, if she's the same woman who was mentioned by the New York Times, did not initially call her encounter with Winston rape, but she was troubled enough by what happened to seek counseling. While this may seem like a strong indicator that nothing untoward happened, this is actually sadly common in rape cases -- it's why RAINN has an entire page devoted to the question "was I raped?" There's also the possibility that something happened that most wouldn't classify as rape, but still violated her consent. Of course, it may be nothing serious, either.
It's worth noting that at this point, none of that is the case: there is no second accusation, at least not publicly. But if there does turn out to be a second accusation of rape against Winston, that would be a major problem. We've all seen how people have turned a blind eye to rape accusations in the past -- most recently in the case of Bill Cosby, but also with Woody Allen, fashion photographer Terry Richardson, Darren Sharper's days as a serial rapist after being an NFL superstar, and of course Ben Roethlisberger -- who was accused of rape twice, and never charged or convicted.
It is, of course, important to remember that Winston was never found guilty. I don't know whether or not he's guilty. I don't think anyone outside of the two parties involved truly knows. But regardless of legal punishment, I still don't feel comfortable rooting for someone where there's even a little doubt about whether or not he raped someone.
Of course, I'm not the one who gets to make the choice of whether or not Winston becomes a Buccaneer. That's up to Jason Licht, Lovie Smith and the Glazers. And they're going to have to try their hardest to get to the bottom of all of this, if they can, and decide whether they want Winston representing their franchise -- potentially for the next 20 years.