During a recent session as he prepares for his introduction to the NFL, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston shed new light on his 2014 shoplifting charge by characterizing the legal matter as a mix up. He didn’t steal the crab legs, he says, a store clerk gave them to him for free.
Winston met with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh’s quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch as part of ESPN’s “Quarterback Academy” show. The coaches quizzed the star quarterback on his college career and his personal ideas and philosophies and the discussion invariably led to Winston’s shoplifting charge.
Bringing up the incident, coach Fisch said, “That’s the elephant in the room for you.” He went on to say that everyone wants to know what really happened and what the young football star learned from it all. He also warned that staying silent on the arrest makes him look like he’s covering it up or hiding it.
“So, what happened?” Harbaugh chimed in. “So, explain that to me. Explain that to me. You got them for free? Explain that to me”
Contradicting past stories about what really happened, Winston explained that it was all just a mix up.
Well, a week before, it was my buddy’s birthday and we had got a cake and we met a dude that worked inside Publix and he said, ‘Hey, anytime you come in here, I got you.’ So that day we just walked out and he hooked us up with that.
And when I came in to get crab legs, I did the same thing and he just gave them to me and I walked out. And someone from inside the store had told the security that I didn’t pay for them. And that’s how the whole thing started.
Winston was charged with shoplifting early in 2014 when he was detained outside a Publix store in Leon County, Florida, in possession of a bag of crab legs for which he had not paid.
At the time Winston said he just “forgot” to pay for the items.
After being charged by the County Sheriffs, Winston received a two-game suspension from his position as pitcher on the Florida State baseball team,. He also received 20 hours of community service and a citation for $32.72.
The incident, many say, shows that the Publix store has for a long time been giving free stuff to football players.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org