Report: Doubts About Many Winston Autographs

ESPN's Darren Rovell, who initially alleged that Jameis Winston had likely signed autographs for money, is now reporting many of the authenticated items he had previously uncovered may have been forged.

ESPN's Darren Rovell, who first reported the existence of large numbers of items autographed by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and authenticated by James Spence Authentication (JSA), is now reporting that JSA only received these items after those items had been rejected by another authentication firm.

Rovell's report states that Donnie Burkhalter a Florida memorabilia dealer had tried to set up a signing with Winston through former FSU running back Devonta Freeman, but Winston turned him down. Despite getting turned down, Burkhalter traveled to Tallahassee, where he again tried to set up a signing in the presence of a representative from autograph authentication company PSA/DNA, but Winston never showed up.

According to Rovell's report, Burkhalter then loaded all the memorabilia into his truck and returned later with those items signed, claiming he had given those items to a third party who then had Winston sign those items inside an apartment.

The others involved were understandably "very suspicious," and PSA/DNA refused to authenticate any of the Winston autographs from that lot. Burkhalter then apparently went to JSA, who authenticated all of the items without issue. JSA has previously come under fire for authenticating bogus items, including autographs by people who had been deceased at the time of the alleged signing.

Tom D'Angelo from the Palm Beach Post is also now reporting that Winston sat down with FSU compliance officials a month ago and identified "scores" of authenticated items bearing his signature as forgeries.

This should be no surprise to readers of this site, as we previously called some of these items into question, highlighting differences between the authenticated signatures and those of items Winston was absolutely known to have signed, thanks to excellent detective work from GraniteStateNole, one of our premium board posters.

Florida State issued a statement about this matter on October 17, stating that the Athletic Department compliance staff "is reviewing issues raised by the media related to autographed items attributed to Jameis Winston" and stating that there was no indication Winston ever received payment for his signature. Florida State made it clear at the time of the release that the university would have no further comment on the matter unless something else surfaced.

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