For the record, we didn't want to be right about this. I had a gut feeling and couldn't betray it. Chant Rant went on the record, several times, admonishing the behavior. This just didn't seem like a case of "Oh, I forgot to pay for it." That defense seemed awfully empty and so did his statement. It didn't feel right, but as it turns out, the Leon County Sheriff's Office believes that Winston made an attempt to avoid the deputies.
Now we're left with the reality that Winston, in all likelihood, knowingly shoplifted and then lied to cover it up. As I'm typing this, I really don't want it to be true. But surveillance tape is what it is; it's not a he-said, she-said account of events... it's the actual event.
We all know what it's like when we're caught doing something we're not supposed to be doing. We flinch, pause, pivot. We've all been there. And Winston was there, in that Publix, knowingly taking what he didn't pay for and flinched in that moment when he saw the deputy.
The idea that Publix was giving Winston free seafood is also unlikely at this point. We discussed that idea a few days ago and it actually seemed the most likely of scenarios until the Leon County Sheriff's Office released its report. He wouldn't flinch if he felt he was doing something wrong. The manager also wouldn't have had concerns if it was a known occurence that football players and/or local celebrities get compensated with free food.
So now we're just left with something of a painful realization: Jameis Winston stole something and then lied about it. I suppose we should add this to his list of transgressions filed away in "youthful ignorance."
Will anything else come of this fiasco? Possibly. He served a four day suspension, which seems ridiculous no matter how you spin it. If he is guilty, what are we teaching him by "benching" him for four days? It's not enough, especially when you tally the incidents together. The ledger is starting to get overwhelming and something must give.
I wouldn't go as far as Jeremy Fowler and bench him for a game. Florida State needs to do something however, but it should be about giving back to the community and not benching him for a game. Benching a player for a game is cliche; he sits out for three hours of one day. If you're going to try and help someone realize the err in their ways, it'll take more than three hours.
So, Noles... what do we think? Winston is, and will be, our quarterback, but what are we to do? Nothing? Yeah. Nothing. Nothing but hope he manages to stay out of trouble long enough for him to get to the NFL. It seems he can't stay out of his own way, but let's hope Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State administration can do something about that.