TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was cited — but not arrested — for failing to pay $32.72 for seafood from a local grocery store Tuesday night.
Winston made an order for crab legs and crawfish Tuesday night from a Publix on Ocala Road, just a short drive from the Florida State campus. He was interviewed by Leon County Sheriff deputies a few hours later after a review of security video showed he did not pay for the seafood.
"The facts are not in dispute," Leon County Sheriff Maj. Mike Wood said. "He left without paying."
Winston, a football-baseball standout, will serve 20 hours of community service as part of an adult civil citation program and has been suspended indefinitely by the baseball team.
"I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon," Florida State baseball coach Mike Martin said.
The incident is just the latest for Winston, who has been investigated a number of times by Tallahassee police. In December, he was not charged following a three-week investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office after a Florida State student alleged that Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012. The federal government is looking into how Florida State handled its sexual assault inquiry (Title IX requires schools investigate sexual assault cases).
The Associated Press also reported in November 2013 that Winston and other Florida State players had been questioned after 13 windows at an apartment complex were broken as part of a BB gun battle in November 2012. Players were ordered to pay to repair the windows, according to the AP.
"As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket," Winston said in a statement. "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 hope and pray my friends and family will view me as the 20-year-old young man that I am, and support me through this unfortunate situation.
"I am grateful to be able to participate in the adult citation program where I will complete community service."
Wood said that Winston was cooperative with deputies, who met with Winston at around midnight. Deputies issued him a civil citation after talking about the matter with local Publix management. Wood said deputies mirandized Winston.
"He indicated to the deputies that he had forgotten and when he got home he realized that he had not paid but that he had made no effort to contact Publix or return to pay prior to the deputies’ arrival," Wood said.
The citation program is less than a year old but has been offered to those with no criminal history who have committed non-violent, minor crimes. Both Winston and Publix officials agreed to the program, and he has seven days to begin serving his community service.
Wood said the citation remains a civil matter unless Winston does not complete the 20 hours of service. If he doesn’t, the matter would be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office.
As a freshman, Winston completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 4,057 yards and a Florida State-record 40 touchdowns. He led the Seminoles to a 14-0 record and a 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS championship game.
He has found more success as a pitcher than as a hitter this spring. Winston is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA and five saves in 16 relief appearances in 2014. He has 25 strikeouts in 24 innings.