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Heisman Trophy winner Winston cited for shoplifting crab legs

Jeremy Brevard | USA Today Sports
Jeremy Brevard | USA Today Sports
Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Duke Blue Devils at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 7, 2013.
By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was cited after leaving a Publix grocery store without paying for about $32 worth of food, including crab legs, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

The civil citation for shoplifting is not a criminal charge. Major Michael Wood said Winston told deputies he forgot to pay for the items on Tuesday.

Wood said Winston will not face charges after agreeing to be diverted into a non-criminal program. If he completes the program, no misdemeanor charges will be filed.

“I want to start by clearly stating that Jameis Winston has not been arrested for any crime. He was issued a civil citation,” Wood said.

Wood said deputies caught up with Winston at his apartment, where he admitted to leaving the store without paying.

FSU announced Wednesday that Winston, also a pitcher, has been suspended from its baseball team.

“As a result of his citation last night, we are suspending Jameis Winston from the baseball team,” said FSU baseball coach Mike Martin said in a statement Wednesday. “I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon.”

Football coach Jimbo Fisher stood by Martin’s decision.

“I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will,” Fisher said.

Winston released a statement later Wednesday.

“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. 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.”

Winston led Florida State to the national championship last season as a freshman, starring in the undefeated Seminoles’ 34-31 victory over Auburn in the championship game. He tossed the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.

On the season, Winston passed for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Winston has had previous run-ins with the law, but no arrests.

In December, the state attorney in Florida decided not charge Winston after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has since opened an investigation into FSU’s handling of the allegations against Winston and potential Title IX violations by the university.

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