Florida State’s Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston was given a misdemeanor citation for allegedly shoplifiting $32.70 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Tallahasse Publix store on Tuesday, the latest in a series of involvements with law enforcement since he came to FSU in 2012.
Leon County Sheriff’s Major Michael Wood said during a news conference on Wednesday that Winston ordered the food from the deli section of the store and left without paying. Publix employees called police, who went to Winston’s apartment. He admitted not paying for the food but said it was because he forgot.
Deputies issued Winston a civil citation that requires him to complete at least 20 hours of community service. If he meets that requirement, no criminal charges will be filed.
Winston released a statement expressing his remorse.
“I realize that I am in the public spotlight and my conduct needs to be above reproach,” he said in the statement.
Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin has suspended Wisnton from the team pending the completion of the community service.
“As a result of his citation last night, we are suspending Jameis Winston from the baseball team,” Martin said in a statement released through the FSU sports information department. “I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon.”
Wood said Winston cooperated with police.
“He seemed fairly honest in that he did not pay for the item,” Wood said. “I’m not here to vindicate or villify Jameis. He left without paying. That warrants a civil citation for petty theft.”
Wood said Winston qualified for the civil citation because he has no prior criminal record.
“It’s for first-time offenders,” he said. “There’s a list of minor, non-violent, non-sexual offenses that qualify.”
Winston is a relief pitcher for the Seminoles and has appeared in 16 games. He has five saves, a 1-0 record and has struck out 25 batters in 24 innings pitched.
FSU’s Athletic Department Code of Conduct/Discipline Policy provides that a student-athlete with a civil citation is eligible to practice and compete. The decision as to whether they are allowed to practice and/or compete rests with the head coach.
FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher said he’s leaving the disciplinary action in Martin’s hands, since baseball season is ongoing. Winston completed spring football practice with the Garnet and Gold Game on April 12. Winston led the Seminoles to a 14-0 record and the BCS National Championship last season.
“I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will,” Fisher said.
The incident is the third brush with law enforcement Winston has had in the last two years. He and teammates were forced to pay for broken windows in their apartment complex after having what was described as a “BB gun fight.” Also, Winston was asked to leave a fast-food restaurant after filling a cup with soda at the fountain area, despite not paying for the drink. The restaurant declined to file charges.
Winston was investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department and the state attorney’s office for allegations of rape last fall. No charges were brought.