Former professional football player Kellen Winslow II is on trial in California in a wide-ranging rape and sexual misconduct case. For the most part, Winslow stayed out of trouble until he faced allegations that he preyed on five women, ages 17 to 77. There were exceptions.
Winslow caught national attention for less-severe reasons back in 2003, when he went on an infamous rant, and called himself a “fucking soldier.” The “soldier” incident happens to have occurred the same year Winslow is accused of raping a 17-year-old.
During a post-game press conference, a reporter asked Winslow if he immediately knew he’d injured an opposing player.
“Yeah, I don’t give a hell,” said Winslow, then a player for the University of Miami. “It’s about this U, man. I don’t give a flying, you-know-what about it. I don’t give a damn. He’d do the same thing to me. It’s war. They don’t give a freakin’ you-know-what about you. They will kill you. They are out there to kill you. So I’m going to kill him. You write that in the paper. You write that. You make money off that. Nah, man, I’m pissed. All ya’ll take this down. I’m pissed, man. We don’t care about nobody except this U. We don’t. If I didn’t hurt him, he’d hurt me. They’re gunning for my legs. I’m going to come right back at them. I’m a fucking soldier.”
Mind you, this was in the early months of the Iraq War. The armed conflict would remain one of the most fraught political topics for years to come. Accordingly, Winslow faced some PR trouble. He released a statement through the school, apologizing for the incident.
“My outburst should in no shape or form be a reflection on this institution or the Miami football program,” he said, according to ESPN. “As for my reference to being a soldier in a war, I meant no disrespect to the men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces. I cannot begin to imagine the magnitude of war or its consequences.”
It was a pretty embarrassing moment for Winslow. After all, he had followed his Hall-of-Famer dad Kellen Winslow Sr. into football and even played the same position. Nonetheless, the “soldier” incident didn’t hurt Winslow’s career in any noticeable way. The Cleveland Browns picked him sixth overall in the 2004 NFL draft. Winslow II went on to play in the league for 10 years.
Of course, this bizarre incident doesn’t compare to the sort of trouble Winslow is in now. Prosecutors in California say he preyed on women in incidents dating back years. The earliest account came in 2003, the year of the “soldier” incident. A now-adult woman said she was 17 when Winslow raped her.
The defendant has been since been accused of committing rapes, sexual misconduct and incident exposure.
A woman claimed in 2013 that she saw his erect penis, and thought she saw him masturbating in his Cadillac Escalade in a Target parking lot. Police arrived at the scene. Officers said they didn’t see him in the alleged act, but noted two open containers of Vaseline on the center console. Winslow allegedly said he was looking for a Boston Market.
The defendant was also arrested for and pleaded not guilty to possession of synthetic marijuana. His publicist said he had pulled over the car to smoke what he believed to be a legal substance, and that he had just been changing his clothes so that he wouldn’t smell when he came back home. The case was dismissed as part of a conditional discharge.
[Image via YouTube screengrab]