When I woke up this morning I never dreamed I’d write-up one post involving Jameis Winston and the Great Crab Caper let alone three. Yet, here we are.
In an interview with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh that appeared on an ESPN NFL draft special, the former Florida State quarterback, for the first time, stated publicly that he had received a seafood hook-up from an individual who worked at a Tallahassee grocery store. Winston went on to claim that he had gotten a similar hook-up from the Publix employee on at least one other occasion prior to that.
That’s different from the tale he spun at the time he received a shoplifting citation in May of last year, with Winston saying in a statement of apology at the time that he simply forgot to pay for the seafood. It also differs from what Winston told university officials, with FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox being forced this afternoon to issue a statement in which he claims the hook-up details were not previously known and that the university will work with the NCAA to determine if any violations occurred.
“We have become aware of statements made by Jameis Winston during a recent interview with Jim Harbaugh describing the circumstances of his alleged receipt of food from a local grocery store. The details disclosed by Winston in that interview were not previously known to the University. As is the case with all matters of this type, we will work in partnership with the NCAA to determine whether a violation occurred.”
On an ACC conference call Wednesday, head coach Jimbo Fisher stated that FSU’s compliance department had previously looked into the issue but felt like it was an isolated incident.
“FSU, we did make contact with Publix back then to make sure that there was nothing going on back talking to our compliance this morning,” the coach said. “They had communications about that before, and they had communications today.
“And they think it’s totally an isolated incident that happened and (we’re) during the process working of it right now. So I don’t think it’s anything else more than that.”
Publix also released a statement addressing the today’s developments:
“We are not in the practice of allowing food to exit our store without payment. When the incident originally occurred with Mr. Winston, we did conduct an internal investigation to ensure that our policies were being adhered to. 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 merchandise to FSU athletes or any other customers.
“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 individual responsible for Winston’s hook-ups is still employed at the store. Or, at least, at the beginning of the day he was.
And, at the end of the day, it’s not believed FSU will face any type of significant action from the NCAA. A slap on the wrist by way of a secondary violation or two, potentially.
Unless, of course, this working partnership with the NCAA turns up additional information on not just Winston but other FSU student-athletes, football players included, who were on the receiving end of free food that The Association would consider impermissible benefits. That would change the tenor of a game many had thought was over long ago but Winston restarted again in the TV special.