Heisman Tropy winner, two-sport athlete, and amateur motivational speaker Jameis Winston reportedly received a citation for stealing crab legs from a Tallahassee grocery store, according to several sources. Aside from the forehead-slapping notion of a 6’4″ 230-pound man attempting to be inconspicuous, there’s a lot going on in this deceptively simple occurrence.
Sports, race, money, and power are dominating the media as they have converged in different ways over the past month. By now, we’ve all heard the news of Donald Sterling’s comically racist and profitable reign of ineptitude heading toward an end in Los Angeles. We also saw star University of Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier spend the days after hoisting the National Championship trophy talking about the nights he went without food because the NCAA won’t allow him to profit from his athletic ability.
Winston’s story lives at that intersection of Sterling and Napier. One can already imagine the racist taunts and vitriol that will trickle from the slack-jawed mouths of idiots in local newspapers’ comments sections, and anonymous Twitter accounts. The fact that he stole crab legs, and not peanut butter and jelly, will no doubt fan those flames. I admittedly felt my face warm with embarrassment as the news of Winston’s attempt at the five-finger shellfish discount crawled down my Twitter feed.
However, one can reasonably expect to hear more discussion about the NCAA paying its players. In less than two months, we’ve had the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Basketball Championship complaining about pushing his body to the limit without having enough to eat, and the Most Outstanding Player of the most recent National Championship football game stealing food.
More than anything, these stories should prove—if it were ever in question—that we are not living in a post-racial society, money trumps all, and Publix has a better defensive front than Auburn.
Update: Winston reportedly has been suspended from the Florida State baseball team after the alleged stealing incident. No timetable has been set for the suspension at this time. Both his football and baseball coaches released statements regarding Winston’s status as a student-athlete.
FSU baseball Coach Mike Martin says, “I am confident he will complete his community service obligation and the situation will be resolved soon.”
FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher added, “I fully support Coach Martin’s decision and will also make sure that Jameis meets all obligations, which I know he will.”