Efforts to screen prospective NFL draft prospects with a history of domestic violence more effectively is not only happening at the club level, but at the league level, as well. And that means added scrutiny for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who could be the No. 1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to NFL vice president for social responsibility Anna Isaacson, the league will conduct a background check on all prospective players, and clubs will be provided information resulting from those checks.
"In advance of the draft, our security and football operations teams are doing background checks on all prospective players. Unlike in past years, particular emphasis will be on players with issues of violence in their backgrounds," Isaacson wrote in an email to USA Today. "If a player is flagged, he will have an additional check performed and then if warranted, an evaluation will be offered and when needed, counseling recommended. Teams drafting these players will have access to all of this information and will be guided to provide the right types of support if/when drafted."
As well, draft prospects who attend the draft in person will be required to attend a one-hour educational session on domestic violence and sexual assault. Typically, more than two dozen prospects attend the draft, most of them high-profile prospects expected to be chosen in the first round.
Winston, one of two quarterbacks expected to be chosen early in the first round, was accused of a sexual assault in December of 2012. No legal charges were brought in the case, and he was also cleared in a hearing on possible violations of the school's code of conduct. Still, the case continues to draw much attention due to questions about the thoroughness of the police investigation, as well as Winston's high profile as a national championship quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner.
The alleged victim in the case participated in a documentary film about sexual assault on college campuses that will be released this spring.