Some college athletes get a bad reputation, but that bad reputation doesn't always follow them into the pros. Why is that?
For instance, look at two American football quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Cam Newton. Both left the college game with a lot of critics. So why is Newton entering into America's good graces and Winston is not? I think it has to do with what they were doing that got them their bad reputation to begin with. Newton had professional-caliber football talent but was forced by NFL rules to attend college. He either wasn't capable of or wasn't inclined to academic success, so his time on campus was widely seen as a mockery of education. When he left school, all his problems went away. Winston, on the other hand, is said to have sexually assaulted a female student and then used his star athlete status to skip out on consequences. When he left school, that didn't really alleviate the problem.
Kevin Durant was the same way. When he was at University of Texas, people were frustrated with the cynical way he was complying with the NBA requirements, but the real problem was the NBA, not Durant. As soon as he left school, the problem was over. Now his single-minded focus on professional success makes him even more popular.
Unfortunately, people like Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger show that even sexual assault will be forgiven an unrepentant champion. Maybe we've made progress in the years since their assaults, but I'm afraid of what we'd find out if Jameis Winston wins a Super Bowl.