More specifically, Tarkenton came down on Winston's school.
"What this guy's done, the accusation of rape, right, is a pretty serious accusation. That got swept under the rug. What he's done there has all been swept under the rug. He signed 2,000 pieces of (memorabilia), footballs and so forth. ... The NFL teams, when the domestic violence came up, they suspended the guys. (Georgia) suspended Todd Gurley -- they should have," Tarkenton told The Opening Drive on WJOX in Birmingham, Ala. "All the stuff this guy's done, they've covered it up, kicked the can down the (road), and shown no leadership at all."
Florida State's initial handling of a sexual assault accusation levied against Winston, as well as the Tallahassee Police Department's investigation, has been heavily scrutinized in the media, most recently in a FOX Sports report. Winston now faces a school disciplinary hearing on the matter, while FSU is under a federal Title IX investigation for its alleged failure to pursue the case properly. Beyond that, the school is also investigating whether Winston profited from autographed memorabilia in violation of NCAA rules, which Winston himself has denied. On Friday, FSU announced in a statement that it had not found evidence of a rules violation by Winston, but the statement suggested its inquiry is ongoing.
Tarkenton, for one, isn't buying what FSU is selling. When asked about golf legend Jack Nicklaus' recent comments in defense of Winston, Tarkenton suggested the Golden Bear is in denial where Florida State's integrity is concerned.
"How does Florida State come out of this thing as a distinguished educational operation in this country? No. It's all about winning, we're going to kick the can down the road," Tarkenton said. "He's our star quarterback, we can't win without him, the national championship. And we're going to sacrifice every principle we have and play this guy. They are so wrong, and everybody in America knows it except Jack Nicklaus."
FSU (7-0) is idle this week before a Thursday night game game at Louisville on Oct. 30.
With any luck, Tarkenton will offer his thoughts on Louisville re-hiring coach Bob Petrino before then.