Tampa Bay Knew Jameis Winston Was An Idiot
28 Jun, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended three games to start the 2018 season for an incident that took place over two years ago. The NFL suspended Winston under its personal conduct policy — a broad and nebulous framework that operates at the discretion of the commissioner and came under significant scrutiny last season while Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott challenged it in federal court.
The Winston situation is complex. This isn’t like a drug suspension, for which specific penalties are laid out for specific offenses in a collectively bargained policy. This situation involves a lot of factors, ranging from the conduct cloud under which Winston entered the NFL to the conflicting accounts of what happened on the night in question. It’s one of those disciplinary matters the NFL so often seems to take on despite a lack of helpful precedent or self-imposed guidance.
But take it on the NFL has, and the result is that Winston was suspended. We’re here to help try to answer some of the questions you may have about this whole thing and how/why it went down the way it did.
What’s this all about, anyway?
In March of 2016, a couple of months after the end of Winston’s rookie season in the NFL, Winston was partying with friends in Scottsdale, Arizona, and ended up in an Uber. The driver of that car, whose identity still has never been revealed, alleges that Winston grabbed her crotch while they were waiting in a restaurant drive-thru lane.
Did she press charges?
She did not and still has not, though she did report the alleged incident to Uber, which deactivated Winston’s account shortly after the night in question.
So how did anyone find out about this?
The incident only came to light last fall, when Winston’s accuser shared her story with BuzzFeed News. At that point, the NFL launched its investigation into the matter.
What has Winston said about it?
In a Nov. 17 Instagram post, Winston denied the allegations, writing in part, “I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false.” After the NFL announced the suspension Thursday, Winston released a longer statement, which read in part, “I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in.” Winston has informed the NFL that he will not appeal his suspension.
Are there any witnesses?
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby, a former Florida State teammate of Winston’s, issued a statement shortly after the publication of the BuzzFeed story saying he was in the car with Winston that night and that he was “confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true.”
But Outside the Lines reported late last week that the other individual with Winston and Darby that night was former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks, who’s serving a 15-year prison sentence for rape and sexual battery. Banks’ attorney told Outside the Lines that Banks disputes Darby’s account and says Banks and Darby put Winston in the Uber alone that night.
Mentioned In This Post: