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FSU suspends Jameis Winston over crab legs incident

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's Jameis Winston has been suspended from the baseball team after the Leon County Sheriff's Office issued him a shoplifting citation for leaving a Tallahassee Publix without paying for $32.72 worth of crawfish and crab legs.

The 2013 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the national championship football team and baseball relief pitcher told deputies he realized he had not paid for the food when he got home Tuesday night but he made no effort to do so, Maj. Mike Wood said at a news conference Wednesday.

Surveillance video confirmed that it was Winston, 20, who left the grocery store's premises, Wood said. Publix employees called deputies, who went to Winston's apartment about three hours later.

Winston — who Wood said was "very cooperative" — was never arrested and received a citation designed for first-time offenders. The office has given 32 such citations since December, Wood said. Winston must perform 20 hours of community service to avoid having the case go to the State Attorney's Office.

Baseball coach Mike Martin said in a statement Winston was suspended because of the citation. "I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon," Martin said. Football coach Jimbo Fisher said in a statement he supported Martin's decision.

Winston released a statement through his attorney, Tim Jansen, in which he said he takes "full responsibility" for his "terrible mistake."

"In a moment of youthful ignorance, I walked out of the store without paying for one of my items," Winston said. "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."

The incident spawned a series of puns and photoshopped illustrations on Twitter with references such as "Free Shellfish University" and a "shellfish decision."

In December, the State Attorney's Office ruled it did not have enough evidence to bring charges against Winston in a December 2012 sexual-assault case that later led to the U.S. Department of Education investigating whether FSU violated federal laws in how it handled the allegations.

Winston also has had other minor run-ins with law enforcement. In July, a Tallahassee Burger King manager accused Winston of taking soda from its machine but declined to pursue a petty theft case. In November 2012, Winston and three other Seminoles were accused of causing $4,200 worth of damage to their apartment building during a BB gun battle. The damages were paid, and no charges were filed.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

FSU suspends Jameis Winston over crab legs incident 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:40pm]

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