Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was issued a misdemeanor citation for shoplifting crab legs and crawfish from a Publix on Tuesday.
Winston was not arrested. The Leon County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday afternoon that the matter was currently not a criminal one. If he completes 20 hours of community service and pays for the food, he will not face criminal charges. The news was first reported by Tomahawk Nation on Wednesday morning.
The sheriff's office said Winston left without paying for $32 of crab legs and crawfish and told deputies he forgot to pay for his order. The food is prepared at the deli counter and is paid for at the cash registers.
After leaving the store around 9 p.m., the office said he was contacted by law enforcement – who discussed the matter with the store in the interim – at approximately midnight at his residence, where he admitted to not paying for the food.
Winston is also a member of Florida State's baseball team and the school announced Wednesday afternoon that he had been suspended from baseball.
"As a result of his citation last night, we are suspending Jameis Winston from the baseball team," baseball coach Mike Martin said in a statement. "I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon."
In the statement, FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher said he agreed with the suspension.
"I fully support Coach Martin's decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will," Fisher said.
After the Leon County Sheriff's Office press conference Wednesday afternoon, Winston released a statement.
"As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket," Winston's statement said. "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 am grateful to be able to participate in the adult citation program where I will complete community service."
The case is currently pending until Winston's completion of the citation program. If he fails to complete the program, it can become a criminal case for petty theft. However, Maj. Michael Wood of the sheriff's office said Winston was agreeable to fulfilling the parameters of the program.
This isn't Winston's first run-in with authorities, though he's yet to be charged with an official crime. After an investigation into accusations of sexual assault against Winston in December 2012, a Florida state prosecutor declined to press charges against the quarterback in December 2013 because of a lack of evidence in the case. According to the AP, Winston was also questioned by authorities in November 2012 about his role in a longstanding BB gun fight. He was also accused of taking soda from a Burger King in the summer of 2013.
The type of citation Winston was given for the incident Tuesday night, an Adult Civil Citation, "is an alternative to first time, misdemeanor arrest."
According to the civil citation website: "It is based on an intensive intervention and diversion model that provides law enforcement a discretionary tool to divert adults from an arrest while still ensuring public safety and holds offenders accountable for their actions.
"Only Law Enforcement Officers have the discretion to issue a Civil Citation. Eligibility is determined by each participating circuit’s stakeholders. Successful completion of the program results in the participant not having a criminal record."
Given the parameters outlined on the site, had Winston been charged with anything previously, he would not have been eligible for the citation. The sheriff's office said it has issued 32 of these type of citations since the program's implementation in December.
The alleged incident is less than a week after the NCAA formally approved unlimited snacks and meals for athletes. However, the changes go into effect on August 1.
As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Winston won the Heisman and led Florida State to a 14-0 record and the BCS national title. He became the second straight redshirt freshman to win the Heisman after Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel in 2012.
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