One of quarterback Jameis Winston's most highly publicized off-field incidents at Florida State involved the theft of crab legs from a local supermarket. The potential No. 1 overall draft pick recently offered a new account of what happened.
According to Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports, the former Heisman Trophy winner explained to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on ESPN's Draft Academy that an employee at Publix supermarket supplied him with the crab legs.
Well, a week before was my buddy's birthday and we had got a cake. 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 went 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.
On April 22, USA Today's Rachel Axon provided comments from Maria Brous, Publix's director of media and community relations, who denied these claims:
When we conducted the original investigation with the store associates and management both, we found no information that would corroborate the story that there was any arrangement for Jameis or any other FSU athlete to get any product for free," said Maria Brous, Publix's director of media and community relations.
Perry Kostidakis of FSUNews.com passed along a statement from the school's athletic director, Stan Wilcox:
Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat reported on April 26 that, according to a source close to the program, "Florida State does not expect any NCAA violations to stem from the latest revelation in Jameis Winston's shoplifting incident."
What Winston described is still theft, but an employee offering items for free is certainly different than simply stealing off the shelves, which is what most seemingly assumed the former Seminoles star did.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters Wednesday that Florida State's compliance department looked into the matter and determined it was an isolated incident, according to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman:
ESPN analyst and former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley believes what Winston described is fairly commonplace in big-time college sports:
It doesn't seem as though the crab leg incident has had any ill effect on Winston's draft status thus far, but perhaps this explanation will make teams even more comfortable with selecting the talented quarterback.
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