If you need proof that the landscape of sports has been altered over the past few years, Florida State football just provided a searing example of a field swept by the wind of change.
Seminoles Coach Willie Taggart announced Sunday that redshirt senior quarterback Deondre Francois has been dismissed from the team following an accusation of domestic violence by his longtime girlfriend, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The move brings to mind echoes of Jameis Winston, the former Seminole starter who many accused Florida State of protecting even as he was accused of rape by a woman at the school in 2012.
That scandal rocked FSU’s football program and drew national attention to a perceived culture of “toxic masculinity,” that liberal buzzword when men do vile things and seem to get away with them.
Taggart’s swift action shows he will brook no such perception of his program in 2019.
FSU coach Willie Taggart dismisses QB Deondre Francois from football team after video post https://t.co/TlgykvVcFB
— Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) February 3, 2019
Florida State released a statement by the coach, according to the Tampa Bay Times:
“Last night, I informed Deondre Francois that he is no longer a member of the Florida State football program,” the statement said.
“As we build a new culture and foundation for FSU Football, we have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we will not shy away from those high standards of conduct. We are moving forward as a program.”
According to the Democrat, Francois’ girlfriend posted a video to Instagram on Saturday that has since been deleted, but the 24-second clip purportedly provided evidence of Francois’ behavior.
However, neither the woman nor Francois were visible, the Democrat reported; and it was unclear when the video was taken.
“I normally don’t put my business on ig, but I am tired of my name being drug through the mud since the beginning, I have been silent. For 2 years I have been in a domestic situation with (Francois),” the victim wrote, according to the Democrat.
“I thought I loved him and thought he could change for the better but it has gotten worse. I lost my first child because of all of the beating and I suffer from post Partum depression. This situation is taking a toll on my life. Yes, I stayed after that because I was stupid and blinded by love.
“This isn’t love. You are a coward and this isn’t right. Just because you are who you are that doesn’t give you the right to put your hands on a woman ever!!!”
Which…wait a minute. She “lost her first child” and suffered post-partum depression?
Connecting the dots, that would imply that she was pregnant with Francois’s child, and that his abuse was enough to terminate a pregnancy via uterine trauma.
If true, such an act could constitute a felony under Florida law.
In the deleted video, according to the Democrat, a woman can be heard saying “stop hitting me” and “stop hitting me in my f—ing face.”
The man in the video can then be heard saying “throw it again so I can beat your a—” and “I’m going to hit you in your face every f—ing time.”
This is not the first time the victim has accused Francois of domestic violence, the Democrat reported.
Police were called in January 2018, but no arrests were made due to “conflicting reports” or, more colloquially, “he said, she said.”
Francois was backed up on his version of events by then-teammate Zaquandre White.
While no arrests have been made and none of the bone-chilling criminal activity alleged and/or implied by the victim has been substantiated, the persistence of the reports and Taggart’s decision to lend them credibility mean the end of Francois’s college football career.
And his “character issues” seem likely to torpedo what minimal interest may have existed in regards to the NFL draft for a quarterback with a record of just 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. According to the Democrat, Francois was already in danger of losing his starting job in 2019.
In any event, Florida State appears to be moving on with redshirt sophomore James Blackman as its starting quarterback, at least until Jordan Travis finishes his transfer-ineligibility year and joins the squad in earnest in 2020.
As for the woman, it remains to be seen both what comes of her allegations and whether she will be able to wrest herself away from what would seem a fool’s dalliance with the violent man she claims her boyfriend to be.
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