Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston has been suspended from the Florida State baseball team after being issued a civil citation Tuesday for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix grocery store.
The two-sport superstar is currently the closer for the Seminoles' No. 6-ranked baseball team.
“As a result of his citation last night, we are suspending Jameis Winston from the baseball team,” Seminole baseball coach Mike Martin said in a statement issued by the university. “I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon.”
“I fully support Coach Martin's decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will,” Jimbo Fisher said in the statement.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office met with media members Wednesday to provide details of the incident. Maj. Mike Wood said that at around 9 p.m. Tuesday, Winston walked out of the Publix with $32.72 worth of groceries, primarily crab legs.
After being alerted by Publix staff and an off-duty deputy on hand, sheriff's deputies met with Winston at his residence. Winston was "very cooperative," Wood said, acknowledging that he had not paid for the crab legs and explaining that he had forgotten to pay before leaving. Winston admitted he had made no effort to contact the Publix, or arrange to pay for the crab legs.
"As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket," Winston 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," Winston said. "I make no excuses for my actions and will learn and grow from this unfortunate situation."
Per the sheriff's office, surveillance video shows Winston entering and exiting the store. "The facts are not in dispute," Wood said.
Specifying that the civil citation was "not a criminal arrest," Wood said the citation was only available for "non-violent, minor crimes" committed by an individual with "no criminal history." Winston has seven days to enroll in the civil citation program, which will require 20 hours minimum of community service. He is also expected to repay the $32.72.
"There is no reason to believe he won't fulfill his obligations," Wood said.
Per the school statement: "FSU's Athletic Department Code of Conduct/Discipline Policy provides that a student-athlete with a civil citation is eligible to practice and compete. The decision as to whether they are allowed to practice and/or compete rests with the head coach."
Winston has no previous arrest record. The redshirt sophomore was accused of sexual assault in December 2012 but not charged after an investigation from the state attorney's office concluded in December 2013. The handling of the case by the Tallahassee Police Department was later heavily criticized.
The defending national champions open their 2014 football season against Oklahoma State in Dallas. Winston will enter the year -- citation or not -- as the presumptive Heisman favorite and potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft after leading the Seminoles to a perfect 14-0 season and the final BCS Championship as a redshirt freshman. He threw for 4,087 yards and a 40-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, leading the FBS in quarterback rating.
Winston's full statement:
"As reported in the news, last night I received an adult civil citation for petit theft from a local supermarket. 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."