Yes, it's English: A defense and a word of advice for FSU's Heisman quarterback Jameis Winston (Opinion from Anthony Cook)I said, guys, we didn’t come here for no reason. -- Jameis Winston during his postgame interview Monday night
I might say "probly" instead of "probably," or "ain't"instead of "isn't," or "nuttin" instead of "nothing."
But I try to avoid those things at my job when I talk withmy coworkers, and make sure I avoid those things when I speak publicly or writesomething that I hope will be read by a broader audience.
So when I heard Jameis Winston's post-BCS NationalChampionship speech Monday night, I cringed.
Not because he was proclaiming his victory over my belovedAuburn Tigers. That's expected when your team wins.
But during said proclamation, Winston butchered his subject-verbagreement a couple of times, and he used one or two double-negatives.
Still, that's not why I cringed.
OK, so he wouldn't have passed a verbal English test, but Iunderstood clearly what Winston was saying (and so did ).
It wasn't technically correct English, but it was English. WhatWinston said really wasn't outrageously bad, particularly if it had been saidin casual company. But he wasn't in casual company ... and that's why I cringed.
He was on the biggest stage of his life live national television,with millions of people watching. In fact, it was the .
I cringed because people often equate broken English, slangand sometimes even conversational speech with a lack of intelligence. Witness Rachel Jeantel, left, testifies to defense attorney Don West.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
It happened with Rachel Jeantel. Don't remember the name? Perhaps you remember her as Trayvon Martin's girlfriend. Manylabeled her as ignorant following her testimony from the witness stand whereshe used broken English and conversational jargon and even a racial slur, but she showedherself to be quite intelligent during a following the trial.
Dee Dee McCarron's quote, intentionally or not, raised the intelligencequestion about Jameis Winston. Sure, a lack of education can lead to adeficiency in a person's ability to communicate, but that's not the case withWinston.
Like so many young people who have never been put in thatposition and haven't been prepared to be in that position, he spoke in the momentfrom his comfort zone. Unfortunately, he, like many athletes, was beingfamiliar in what could be considered a formal situation.
Winston and all athletes need to understand that communicationis power. If any idea is to go beyond a single individual, it must becommunicated, be it through writing, speaking or illustrating.Bo Jackson
Jameis Winston, of Hueytown, can take a lesson from another Alabama native who was on thesidelines across the field from him during the . Auburn legendBo Jackson struggled with a stuttering problem as a young athlete. He worked toovercome it, and, though injury took away his ability to competeprofessionally, Jackson uses his communication skills to maintain a publicpersona.
Jameis Winston doesn't have to be a Rhodes Scholar, but hemust recognize that, because of his exceptional physical abilities, he is goingto be in the national spotlight a lot.
Being able to communicate clearly to a national audience isanother tool he needs to add to his many talents.
Anthony Cook is the community news director for AL.com at The Birmingham News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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