Bucs' Move To Put Jameis Back In Marketing Material Is Debated
The Buccaneers have gone from taking QB Jameis Winston "off any promotional material for the team to now solely featuring" him in a new campaign, according to ESPN's Molly Qerim Rose. The move comes after a "lot of questionable behavior" by Winston, including the assault of a female Uber driver that led to a three-game suspension at the start of the season. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said that he "doesn't mind" Winston being the face of the team again because "long-term money ain't attached to it yet." Smith: "Let's put him in the lion's den, let's put him in the eye of the storm. Let's sit up there and say to Jameis Winston, 'We believe in you. Here's the football and the marquee. You're all of it for us, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We ride and die with you. This is your future on the line right here.'" ESPN's Max Kellerman said it is "fine" that Winston has the starting job, but he "would not promote him as the face of the franchise because of his behavior off the field." Kellerman: "You start to glorify that or at least you don't punish it." Kellerman added the Bucs are "glorifying" Winston by promoting him. Kellerman: "Considering the way he's behaved off the field, you have to consider what kind of a message that sends" ("First Take," ESPN, 10/12). ESPN.com's Jenna Laine noted Winston was "left out of the team's marketing campaigns in July" after receiving his three-game ban. Sources said that the decision to initially leave him out of the marketing campaigns was "two-fold." The team was "concerned about optics, and they wanted the focus to be on the players who would be playing." At the time, the Bucs said that there was a "possibility" that Winston could "participate in later campaigns" (ESPN.com, 10/11).