As the 2014 NFL Draft rolls up on us this Thursday, one of the top prospects for next year's draft continues to chip away at his draft stock brick by brick, through sheer stupidity, if nothing else.
Last week came news that 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, apparently famished, went to a Publix grocery store in Tallahassee to satisfy his hunger. Being a Heisman Trophy winner with a flair for the dramatic and a desire to do everything "big," he didn't merely go for a box of crackers or a bag of chips.
No, it was crab leg and crawfish time, baby!
Only one small problem -- Jameis Winston "forgot to pay for them."
(Please picture the quotes surrounding that phrase in the largest font possible and picture me making the "air quotes" finger gesture with the maniacal eyes of a Tyler Hansbrough.)
For his transgression, Winston received an adult citation, which essentially removes the possibility of an arrest on his record, provided that he completes the required community service (which he did over the weekend -- more on this in a moment). He was also suspended indefinitely from the Florida State baseball team, on which he is one of their top relief pitchers (and has since been reinstated).
The police report, a full copy of which can be found in this post at The Big Lead, is ridiculously long for a $32 shoplifting case. We are talking a few dozen pages.
The highlights of the police report paint the picture of a young man whose decisiveness in the pocket is considerably more impressive than his decisiveness (or lack thereof) in the produce and dairy aisles:
"Mr. Winston then turns away from the seafood counter and starts to walk towards the produce section. Mr. Winston then makes a left turn in the produce section and then another left walking towards the dairy section. Mr. Winston then continues down the dairy section, also known as the back speedway of the store. At the end of the dairy section Mr Winston is observed picking up a stick of butter, valued at $3.69."
My big takeaway from that paragraph -- DAMN, butter is expensive!. (I'm a store-brand Country Crock guy. Sorry, Paula Deen.)
Also, not a big surprise, but Jameis Winston's sworn affidavit with his side of these events is a blank page, which can be construed as either a young man exercising his Miranda rights or a young man who is in college and doesn't like writing the narrative of anything, let alone his aborted trip to the grocery store.
The details of the police report from everyone who did decide to go on the record are not very supportive of Winston's contention of innocent absentmindedness, insomuch as he basically picks up multiple items and just strolls out of the store (right past the security guard!).
One overriding cloud hanging above all of this is the contention by many (including ESPN's Marcellus Wiley) that Publix is essentially a wink-wink all-you-can-eat buffet for Florida State athletes, like a Caribbean cruise where you just grab food whenever you want it (only with toilet paper, shaving supplies and a pharmacy), and that Jameis Winston wasn't doing anything that a few dozen FSU athletes hadn't already done over that weekend, and that he was more or less "falling on the sword" to keep the NCAA from sniffing around their bountiful fruits of free Cheese Whiz and deli meats.
I've had one former Florida State athlete tell me that Publix wasn't the only one in on feeding Seminole athletes, that there was essentially a "crab legs arms race" going on between Publix, Winn Dixie and the Piggly Wiggly.
You can't make this stuff up.
For his part, Jameis Winston's story has a happy ending. According to TMZ, Winston served his 20 community service hours at the local YMCA cleaning equipment and mopping floors, and apparently if there were a Heisman for manual labor, Jameis Winston would be...well....JAMEIS WINSTON!
He kicked ass!
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Winston decided to put in his time at a Y.M.C.A. in Tallahassee ... where he worked for 5 hours a day for 4 straight days, beginning Thursday night and ending Sunday afternoon.
We spoke with someone at the center who tells us Jameis "put in work" -- cleaning gym equipment, mopping floors, sweeping and other janitorial work.
"He was good, the members loved him ... we were happy to have him."
Jameis Winston has been reinstated to the FSU baseball team, and somehow I think that this stumble will have little effect on his status with the football team. I would guess that FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher has made arrangements for Winston to have his crab legs (and BUTTER, don't forget the butter!) delivered.
Just a hunch.