I don't know what the rest of America was feeling, watching Jameis Winston playfully strike that iconic pose while accepting the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. But I hope it was what I was feeling.
A little queasiness. A bit of skittishness. A brief tug on the sleeve from whispered doubt, and then two words: "Yeah, but ..."
That is not necessarily what Winston deserves, understand. It is, however, what his enablers deserve.
They were the ones who chortled and winked through that farce of a news conference a couple of weeks ago, when state attorney Willie Meggs and the rest of the good ol' boys announced that, tee-hee, har-har, there would be no charges filed against Winston for sexual assault in an incident that took place a full year ago.
Just didn't have enough evidence, apparently, to risk good ol' Willie's won-loss record. And so we'll never really know if Winston got away with an outrageous crime, or if the shadow that will follow him now forever -- that queasiness -- is unfair and undeserved.
What we do know, according to the attorney for the accuser, is that Willie 'n' them didn't just wink and chortle through that news conference. They apparently winked and chortled through the investigation, too, never bothering to address why the alleged victim's blood wasn't tested for the presence of a date-rape drug or issue warrants for video surveillance or Winston's apartment, social media or cellphone records.
How do you do that, and then claim your investigation didn't turn up enough to charge him?
None of this is to say Winston is guilty, or that he didn't deserve to win the Heisman. Clearly he did, based on what he did on the field. Absent definitive proof that he's a rapist, any other choice would not have made sense.
Of course, that's the problem: the absence of proof, or even the means to get at it now. And so the shadow, the queasiness, the "Yeah, but ..."
It will never go away, for Jameis Winston. Hopefully, for his alleged victim, the trauma of whatever happened that December night a year ago will.
Willie and the Chortlers have seen to it that the former is a stone certainty, and the latter is anything but. And that's no laughing matter for anyone.