ABC’s Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos together made a rather bizarre statement at the end of a brief Good Morning America segment Thursday about the newly-released 911 call from the friend of the woman who’s accused Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston of raping her.
“They just want this one to go away,” said Stephanopoulos. “Yeah, I think all sides do,” replied Roberts (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ROBIN ROBERTS, CO-HOST: We're going to move on now to new details on Jameis Winston, the star quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite. Though sexual assault charges against him dropped last week, for the first time, we're hearing the 911 call made the night of the alleged incident. ABC's Matt Gutman has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE 911 OPERATOR: FSU police, how may I help you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CALLER: Hi. I'm [redacted], and I think we need to get you over here.
MATT GUTMAN, ABC NEWS: This morning, for the first time, we're hearing details of what Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston’s accuser believes happened the night the two had sex from a 911 call made by a friend of the accuser.
CALLER: She's very like shaken up, she says that she’s hurt, she got hit.
OPERATOR: She got hit? Does she know what she got hit with?
CALLER: No, she says she like kept blacking out, like she only remembers pieces. She keeps trying to tell me the story, but it's very in pieces.
OPERATOR: And you said she was raped?
OPERATOR: Okay, so, she did not know the person?
GUTMAN: Police say it took her a month to identify that person as the Heisman hopeful, and then only in sketchy detail. But Winston's friends questioned by police said they walked in while the two were having sex.
RONALD DARBY, FRIEND OF WINSTON’S: We walked into the room and the girl was like, “What are you doing?" She was like, “Get out.”
UNIDENTIFIED FSU POLICE OFFICER: Was there anything that she said or you saw her do that made you think that she was, she didn't want to have sex?
GUTMAN: The eyewitnesses telling police Winston took the girl home a few minutes later and quickly returned. Those newly-released documents shed light on the investigation that led to the state attorney’s decision last week not to file sexual assault charges against the quarterback.
WILLIAM MEGGS, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: We do not file a charge if we do not feel like we have sufficient evidence to make the charge.
GUTMAN: For Good Morning America, Matt Gutman, ABC News, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CO-HOST: They just want this one to go away.
ROBERTS: Yeah, I think all sides do.
Were Roberts and Stephanopoulos speaking for themselves and their network, or for the parties involved?
Consider that on Wednesday, the family of the accuser announced that it was holding a press conference Friday, the day before the Heisman Trophy presentation, to address the rape allegations.
Yahoo! Sports reported:
The family of Jameis Winston’s accuser will hold a press conference Friday in Florida, according to an email sent out to the media.
It will be the first media conference the family has held since the story went public last month and the first words from the family of the accuser since the very generic statement it released following the announcement that Winston wouldn’t be charged. [...]
While the nature of Friday’s press conference was not specified in the email, the family of the accuser does have several avenues of legal recourse even though Winston was not formally charged by the Florida State’s Attorney’s office.
Yahoo! Sports then listed the family's options which include suing Winston, suing the Tallahassee Police Department, suing FSU, and petitioning the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to review the investigation.
The article concluded:
Of course, the timing of this press conference is not lost on anyone. Winston is one of six finalists up for the Heisman Trophy. Winston will be in New York with the Heisman Trophy Trust on Friday and will likely be crowned the next Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday.
There’s little the family of the accuser can do to stop that now, but depending on what the family decides to announce, it could cast a dark cloud over the the ceremony.
Sound to you like the accuser and her family "just want this one to go away?"
So why would Roberts and Stephanopoulos together make such a claim?
Could it be that as sister station ESPN is airing Saturday's Heisman show, folks at ABC and parent Disney "just want this one to go away?"
Please also consider that the National Championship game will be aired on ESPN January 6 featuring Wilson's FSU Seminoles.
You have to figure that ABC, ESPN, and Disney don't want a "dark cloud" over that event either.
And what about the racial component here?
Think back to how the Duke Lacrosse team were for months eviscerated by the media despite the eventual falsehood of the allegations.
Might everyone "just want this one to go away" if Winston was a white guy about to win the most prestigious honor in college sports?
(HT John Ziegler)