When the news broke in May 1994 that Florida State football players had received free athletic apparel and shoes from a Tallahassee Foot Locker, it took three months for then-Florida coach Steve Spurrier to come up with the classic dig, “Free Shoes University.”
The Internet changes everything, doesn’t it?
Within an hour after news broke on Wednesday that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston had received a civil citation for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix, tweets, texts, faux headlines, memes and photo-shopping exploded through social media, gleefully posted, tweeted, re-posted and re-tweeted over and over again.
They were the usual suspects in situations such as this: the Seminoles’ arch-rivals.
Fans of Florida, Miami, Auburn and Clemson took the greatest delight in Winston’s latest incident and used the crab legs and seafood theme to churn out one hilarious web posting after another.
One Auburn fan tweeted: “If this is true, I’m going back to bed because the day isn’t going to get any better.”
SB Nation, which broke the news of Winston’s citation, called Wednesday “one of the best college football Twitter days in history.”
Some of the best web jabs:
■ “I fought the claw and the claw won.”
■ “Claw and Order.”
■ “Free Seafood University” or its cousin, “Free Shellfish University.”
■ “One might call Winston ‘shellfish’ ”
There were so many photo-shopped pictures of Winston and crab legs that websites were able to produce slide shows with dozens of examples. There was Winston in a Heisman Trophy pose holding a bundle of the crustacean limbs; Winston kissing the national championship trophy that had been transformed into crab legs; Winston’s head superimposed on a crab and on the body of one of the cast members of “The Deadliest Catch,” overlooking a huge container of snow crabs.
Perhaps the best one was a shot of Winston running the ball but holding a bundle of crab legs, racing down the aisle of a Publix, and stiff-arming an Auburn player who was dressed in a Publix apron.
Even the media got into the act. Acerbic college football writer and commentator Paul Finebaum tweeted that his radio show would do a remote from Red Lobster.
Winston’s judgment has naturally been called into question in serious columns and articles.
But even that was turned into a joke:
“Really wonder about Jameis Winston’s decision-making,” tweeted Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated. “This entire episode is high-bisque, low-reward.”