Jameis Winston: Store employee 'hooked us up' with crab legs

ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

FormerFlorida Statequarterback Jameis Winston, who is projected to be the first overall selection in the NFL draft, said during an appearance on ESPN's Draft Academy that he did not steal crab legs last year and that they instead were given to him by a grocery store employee.

The former Heisman Trophy winner was issued a civil citation for shoplifting on April 29, 2014, after he walked out of a Tallahassee, Florida, supermarket without paying for $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish.

At that time, 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."

On the Draft Academy show, which aired Tuesday night but was taped before the NFL scouting combine in February, Winston, when asked about the incident by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, said: "How I'm supposed to handle, like, if I just got them for free? I just say, 'I just messed up?'"

When asked by Harbaugh to elaborate on the incident, Winston said he got free food from an individual working at that store before.

"Well, a week before, it was my buddy's birthday and we had got a cake. And 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," Winston said.

"And when I came in 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."

Florida State suspended Winston from the baseball team as a result of the citation. He was reinstated to the team five days after receiving the citation, after he completed his community service.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, asked Wednesday during the ACC spring teleconference about Winston's comments, said "it was totally news to me" and that the Seminoles' compliance department was looking into the matter.

"I had no knowledge of it until I came in this morning," Fisher said. "But FSU, we did make contact with Publix back then to make sure there was nothing going on."

Fisher said he was confident the incident was an isolated one.

"The details disclosed by Winston in that interview were not previously known to the University," the school said in a statement Wednesday. "As is the case with all matters of this type, we will work in partnership with the NCAA to determine whether a violation occurred."

Publix said the company conducted an investigation at the time and 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."

Maria Brous, Publix's director of media and community relations, told USA Today Sports that the report from the sheriff's office was consistent with his statement a year ago. She also said that Publix employees were asked directly if there was any arrangement with Winston.

"There was no information that would lead us to believe that any of our associates were involved in giving away product," Brous told USA Today Sports.

Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com contributed to this report.

Related Video