Jameis Winston Has A New Explanation For Taking Those Crab Legs: They Were Free

One of the most bizarre stories in sports last year was Florida State QB Jameis Winston’s inexplicable theft of crab legs from a Tallahassee Publix. The security video revealed that Winston walked out of the store casually without making any attempt to conceal the merchandise he failed to pay for. At the time, it seemed like sheer audacity and entitlement — he wasn’t an anonymous figure in Tallahassee, so did he feel invincible?

That’s why Jameis’ new version of the story, which he told to Jim Harbaugh during filming of ESPN’s Draft Academy, makes a lot of sense. He claimed a Publix employee told him he could have the crab legs for free, ostensibly as a way of paying tribute. Now, that’s simply his word, which is best taken with a grain of salt like the word of any public figure. (Although I can totally see a grocery employee wanting to act magnanimous to Jameis — the “I got you” line is all too believable.) But if it’s true, Jameis had good reason to keep mum about it until after he was out of college — the NCAA, of course.

Free crab legs would obviously be an impermissible benefit that would besmirch the sacred purity of the student-athlete, and as such would have surely resulted in a suspension. Of course, if the NCAA goes snooping now and finds that anybody still at Florida State knew about Winston’s version of events, the school could be in line for profoundly dumb sanctions. But that won’t be Jameis’ problem, because he’ll soon be making millions of dollars in the NFL, and probably won’t be punished if he gets more free stuff (as long as he clears it with the business giving it away).

Speaking of which, it wasn’t as if the crab legs incident was dropping him on anyone’s draft boards, but I’m sure that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can rest a little easier knowing that their quarterback of the future isn’t so dumb as to intentionally steal crab legs from a grocery store in a town where everybody knows his face. If they believe him, that is.

(Via College Spun)