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FSU’s Jameis Winston Cited For Stealing Crab Legs, Crawfish

jameis-winston-heismanHeisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who avoided serious trouble just months ago, found himself in silly trouble Wednesday. The Florida State star quarterback was issued a civil citation after sheriff’s deputies say he walked out of a supermarket without paying for $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish.

According to Leon County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Michael Wood, Winston, 20, left the store without paying after ordering the food at the deli of a Publix in the Tallahassee area.  Publix employees called authorities, who went to Winston’s apartment, where he was “very cooperative” and said he forgot to pay for the food.

After consulting with Publix managers, deputies issued Winston a civil citation that will require him to complete at least 20 hours of community service. If he does that, no criminal charges will be filed. He will also likely have to pay restitution.

“The facts are not in dispute,” Wood said. “He left without paying.”

Wood said Winston was cooperative.

“He indicated to the deputies he had forgotten and when he got home he realized that he had not paid, but in fact he had made no effort to contact Publix or return to pay prior to the deputies’ arrival” three hours after Winston left the store, Wood said.

Winston, in a signed statement, said he’s taking full responsibility for an “unfortunate” incident.

“As reported in the news, last night I received an adult citation for petit theft from a local supermarket,” the statement read. “I went to the supermarket with the intent to purchase dinner but made a terrible mistake for which I’m taking full responsibility. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items.

“I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach. Over the last year, I’ve learned that my accomplishments on the fields can be a wonderful thing for my school, teammates, friends and family. At the same time, I must realize that my mistakes are magnified and can bring great embarrassment to all those who support me every day.

“I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation. I hope and pray my friends and family will view me as the 20-year-old young man that I am, and support me through this unfortunate situation. I am grateful to be able to participate in the adult citation program where I will complete community service.”

Florida State suspended Winston from its baseball team as a result of the citation. The university’s athletic department code of conduct-discipline policy provides that a student-athlete with a civil citation is eligible to practice and compete, but that the head coach decides whether he will.

A preseason All-American, Winston is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 16 appearances this spring.

“I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon,” FSU coach Mike Martin said.

Winston led the Florida State football team to the national championship last season as a freshman, starring in the undefeated Seminoles’ 34-31 victory over Auburn in the championship game.

“I fully support coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will,” football coach Jimbo Fisher said.

The civil citation is a pre-arrest diversion to keep people out of the criminal justice system, Wood said. It is a program, instituted within the past year, for nonviolent, minor crimes and first-time offenses for people without a criminal history, and is a discretionary decision by the officer. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office has issued only 32 citations since December.

Winston has been linked to other trouble in the past.

He was cleared in December of potential sexual assault charges by State Attorney Willie Meggs, who concluded there were too many gaps in the accuser’s story. Meggs said that the woman’s memory was faulty and that there was not enough evidence of a crime to win a conviction.

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