Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first three games of the 2018 regular season without pay for violating the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, the NFL announced Thursday.
The suspension follows a seven-month investigation into allegations that Winston groped a female Uber driver in March 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Winston released the following statement, per ESPN.com:
“First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize. I apologize to my teammates, the Buccaneers organization and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season.
“Although I am disappointed in the NFL’s decision, I understand the NFL’s process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself.”
The Bucs also issued a statement regarding Winston’s suspension.
“All members of our organization are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the Personal Conduct Policy of the NFL,” the statement read. “We are disappointed that Jameis put himself in a position that has been found to violate the policy and accept today’s decision by the Commissioner.”
The NFL launched its investigation last November after the female driver told BuzzFeed that Winston reached over and grabbed her crotch while waiting at a drive-thru at 2 a.m. No police charges were filed, but the driver filed a formal complaint with Uber and Winston’s riding privileges were revoked.
Winston denied the allegations, saying he believed the woman was mistaken as to the number of passengers in the car and his location within it. Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby — Winston’s teammate at Florida State — said he also was a passenger in the vehicle and supported Winston’s claim that him and Winston were in the vehicle’s back seat while an unidentified third person rode in the passenger seat.
The Uber driver’s attorney disputed Darby’s account, claiming that Winston was the only passenger in the vehicle.
Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, is entering his fourth NFL season at age 24. He threw for 3,504 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 13 games last season.
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