COSTA MESA, Calif.—Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says he is concerned allegations of criminal wrongdoing against an athlete can linger even when no criminal charges are filed.

Fisher was asked after practice Friday about whether athletes are at risk of being viewed as guilty even when they are not charged with crimes. He was not asked directly about the allegations made against quarterback Jameis Winston, who was investigated for a sexual assault complaint but not charged.

He says coverage of allegations needs to be dealt with carefully.

"Because sometimes we start assuming they're charged and treating them as if they're charged to create news and just to create that thing," Fisher said. "I think charging a guy is very critical. It's not character assassination, but you can develop a thought about a guy or an identity about a guy very easily as it lingers.

"So that's in the paper every day. Then all of a sudden when they're not (charged), we forget it in two days. So, we ain't brainwashed them back that everything's OK. So I think that is a very fine line to walk in my opinion."

The Florida state attorney announced two days before the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and four days before Heisman Trophy votes were due, after a three-week investigation of a year-old complaint, that it did not find enough evidence to charge Winston.

Winston went on to win the Heisman Trophy in landslide.


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