In 2019, ex-NFL tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr., confessed to charges of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct. He victimized five women in all. Winslow began serving a 14-year prison sentence in 2021, but because of a new Left Coast law, he’s suddenly become enlightened and is seeking a reduced sentence by alleging CTE made him do it.
Winslow, who played for Cleveland and other NFL teams, admitted guilt for the charges of rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct with his victims. “Prosecutors shared harrowing accounts of Winslow stalking and befriending women with intent of sexual violence,” wrote Outkick’s Alejandro Avila. “One of these cases involved a homeless woman in Encinitas, Calif. who was raped by Winslow. All cases of rapes involving the five women happened between 2013 and 2018. Winslow pleaded guilty to avoid a life sentence.”
Well that plea was a few years ago. Thanks to California leniency on wrongdoers, Assembly Bill 124 requires courts “to help criminal defendants who previously experienced ‘psychological, physical, or childhood trauma, including, but not limited to, abuse, neglect, exploitation, or sexual violence.” This must be taken into consideration during plea bargaining, sentencing or resentencing. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this into state law.
Just what Winslow needed for his get-out-of-jail-early card. He submitted a letter to the San Diego County Superior Court in November. He cited habeas corpus in claiming he suffers from “physical trauma as a result from mild traumatic brain (sic) disorder, as well as potentially CTE, and this trauma was a contributing factor in the commission of the offense.” Never mind the victims, this law should qualify him for reduced sentencing, he believes.
There’s just one small problem with Winslow’s application of CTE as a defense for his anti-social behavior. It seems that CTE can only be diagnosed after death, not while a person is still living. Doctors can only discover CTE during an autopsy. Winslow was certainly putting the cart before the horse there.
Though football is the sport most often mentioned in connection with CTE fears, it isn’t the leading cause of the brain condition. Cycling was attributed to 85,000 incidents in a previous study. Ranking second in the same study, football was attributed to 46,000 cases. Baseball, softball, basketball and water sports were close behind football. Even the leisurely sport of golf has been tied to CTE.
As things currently stand, Winslow will become eligible for parole in 2028. If his dubious claim of CTE goes in his favor, the convicted rapist could be freed even sooner than that. And why wouldn’t other football players use the same get-out-of-jail-card for their crimes as well?
What an injustice that would be for the victims of Winslow and potentially others serving jail time for heinous crimes.