After a couple of months of relative quiet, Jameis Winston is back in the headlines for an off-the-field incident — from a couple of years ago.
According to a report from Rachel Axon of USA Today, the Florida State quarterback, along with teammate Chris Casher, was stopped by university police at gunpoint during an incident in November of 2012. Winston was observed brandishing what one witness described as a long-barreled handgun on a hiking trail; it turned out to be a pellet gun.
Winston and Casher claimed that they were shooting squirrels with the pellet gun and informed people along the trail of the type of weapon they were carrying.
After the police officer “drew my firearm from its holster and pointed it at the suspects with my finger outside the trigger guard,” the two players were handcuffed and briefly detained. They weren’t arrested, charged or issued citations — FSU’s Code of Conduct prohibits possession of weapons, including pellet guns, on campus — and were released shortly after the incident began.
The pistol and pellets, however, were confiscated.
Oddly enough, that incident occurred a few hours before the continuation of an ongoing BB gun “battle” involving Winston and other Seminole football players that ended up causing more than $4,000 worth of damage. The players made restitution and no charges were ever filed.
Those are two of what have been a handful of legal run-ins for Winston during his brief time in Tallahassee.
In July of 2012, Winston was accused of stealing soda from a Burger King, although no charges were filed Late last year, he was investigated for the alleged rape of an FSU student in December of 2012; it was determined there wasn’t enough evidence in that case to pursue an indictment.
Then, in April of this year, Winston was cited for shoplifting seafood from a local grocery store.
Earlier this month, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner addressed his much-discussed incidents and acknowledged that he needs to be more accountable for his off-field actions.
“I’ve got to hold myself to a certain standard that the media may view me in, that the regular people may view me in, but I know I can do that because I’ve learned the true definition of being a leader and being a leader on and off the field,” the redshirt sophomore said during the ACC Media Days. “As a leader for the Florida State Seminoles, I not only have to respect the name on the back of my jersey, but I have a great university that is looking for me to be a great student athlete, and more importantly I have teammates that are counting on me.
“Accountability is something that’s very important to me, and so, yes, I have learned, and I’ve learned that leadership is more important playing the quarterback position than anything else.”