Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, who was facing misdemeanor battery charges, was found not guilty Monday. The sophomore faced charges stemming from a June incident in which a 21-year-old woman alleged that Cook, 19, punched her in the face multiple times.
The Seminoles reinstated Cook soon after the verdict.
This should come as a surprise to no one – but not for reasons that you would think.
“I think the prevailing thought once people knew the evidence that was going to be presented at the trial was that there was very, very little chance that he was going to get convicted,” Tallahassee Democrat columnist Corey Clark said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Now look, you can’t ever predict how a six-person jury is going to decide something, but . . . when you followed it on Twitter, there just wasn’t nearly enough evidence for beyond a reasonable doubt. There just wasn’t. In fact, many people around Tallahassee and around the program couldn’t even believe it went to trial, that the state attorney even tried to bring charges against him. Not necessarily because he didn’t do it – nobody knows if he did it – but there just was’t nearly enough evidence to get a conviction. So I think Jimbo Fisher and the staff and the university have always expected that Dalvin Cook would be on this football team this season.”
Clark believes the fact that this incident went to trial had nothing to do with Cook and everything to do with Jameis Winston. The national perception is that the Winston saga was not properly investigates two years ago. As a result, state attorney Willie Meggs wanted to show the world that he – and the state – means business.
“That’s certainly a theory that’s been a prevailing one around Tallahassee,” Clark said. “Look, Willie Meggs has been the state attorney in Tallahassee since I think before I was born. He’s been here a long, long time. If you ask anybody around in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs does not have friends in the football program. He has not done the Florida State football program any favors over the years. None. So I know what people think around the country maybe about the TPD and other elements of the community. But Willie Meggs, he has no problem filing charges and going after football players. In fact, he’s been quoted repeatedly saying that he treats them differently in the sense that he’ll go after him more than he will a regular student or regular citizen because he thinks they’re role models – all this crazy stuff.
“So when no charges were field against Jameis Winston, Tallahassee people and people around the Florida State program kind of laughed at that notion that Willie Meggs was taking it easy and he was in the bed with the Florida State football program – because honestly, nothing could be further from the truth,” Clark continued. “And on that, yeah, if the Jameis Winston saga didn’t happen two years ago, I honestly don’t think Dalvin Cook gets brought up on charges. I might be completely wrong, but the theory and my theory was that Willie Meggs was trying to show the nation that he was hard on Florida State football players. I don’t necessarily think that was fair to Dalvin Cook because again, the evidence for Dalvin Cook, it’s crazy that that thing went to trial because there just wasn’t enough evidence ever to get a conviction in that thing.”