TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Jameis Winston has put his much-publicized crab legs caper back in the headlines.
Florida State issued a statement Wednesday saying it will investigate Winston’s comments aired on ESPN that the ex-Seminoles quarterback believed he had an understanding with an unidentified grocery store employee that led to last year’s shoplifting incident.
Athletic director Stan Wilcox said in the statement that Winston’s comments were new details to the school.
“As is the case with all matters of this type, we will work in partnership with the NCAA to determine whether a violation occurred,” Wilcox said.
Speaking earlier during an Atlantic Coast Conference coaches teleconference, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Winston’s comments are likely true but added it appears to be “totally an isolated incident.”
“If he says it is (true), I guess it is,” said Fisher, who said FSU’s compliance office contacted the store after Winston’s citation in April 2014 and again Wednesday.
A spokeswoman with the grocery store chain had a much different take on the quarterback’s comments than Fisher did, saying it would welcome a conversation with Winston.
“At the end of the investigation, we were confident that our policies were being executed by the store management team, and that we are not in the practice of giving away merchandize to FSU athletes or any other customers,” Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Florida-based Publix said in an emailed statement.
“If Mr. Winston has new information that he would like to share with Publix, that is pertinent to this incident, we would ask that he contact us directly. We would take appropriate action, including reopening an investigation.”
The Heisman Trophy winner and possible top overall NFL draft pick made the comments on an ESPN pre-draft show that aired Tuesday.
Speaking to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Winston said an employee told him, “Anytime you come in here, I got you,” and that the employee had previously given him a cake for a friend’s birthday.
Winston originally said he left the store and forgot to pay for $32 worth of crab legs. He was suspended for three baseball games and completed 20 hours of community service, one of a series of off-field incidents _ some serious, some less so but embarrassing nonetheless _ that followed him throughout his college career.