After he served his suspension from the Florida State baseball team for shoplifting crab legs and crawfish from a Publix, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston sent his father a long text message telling him he was "good" and that the suspension included the best days of his life.
And while the incident may have turned into a good experience, it's something that the quarterback's father said is a sign that the university and he have 'probably kind of dropped the ball on that a little bit' on helping Winston be aware of the spotlight that comes with being the most famous college football player in the country.
Those close to the quarterback say the citation, for which he has performed 20 hours of community service, is the honest mistake of a college kid adjusting to the intense spotlight. If he wasn't aware of its glare, he should be now, they say.
"We hope so," Antonor Winston tells USA TODAY Sports. "Not only him. I think it should show the university and us, I think we probably kind of dropped the ball on that a little bit."
Winston received a civil citation for the incident, which happened on April 29. He walked out of the store with three pounds of crab legs and a pound of crawfish, telling sheriff's deputies that he had forgotten to pay. The next day he was suspended from the FSU baseball team, for which he is an outfielder and closer, until he completed the community service as part of the citation.
On its own, it's not a horrible offense. However, when accumulated with the allegations of sexual assault against him in 2012, accusations of taking soda at a Burger King and being questioned about a campus BB gun fight, it was a bad sign for a player who talked about getting more mature and being better at everything he did following the ACC Championship Game.
In April, the Department of Education opened an investigation into Florida State's handling of the sexual assault allegations.
"It's just a different standard for (Jameis) and Johnny (Manziel)," Winston's father said. "He's just got to endure, just make better decisions and he's just got to endure that."
Perhaps it's simply more of a brighter spotlight, but not only does Winston have to make better decisions for himself and the reputation of Florida State, he needs to do so for his draft stock as well. When he enters the draft, whether it's after the 2014 season or beyond, Winston may be dissected and talked about just as much as Manziel, who fell to the No. 22 pick in the first round.
One way to help quell that discussion would be to put the words of himself and his father into action and only make headlines for what happens on the field for the rest of his college career.
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