On Friday, BuzzFeed released a report that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was being investigated by the NFL after Winston had been accused of allegedly groping a female Uber driver in March of 2016.
Winston has since released this statement.
The full statement:
A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. 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, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way.
Winston’s representatives had released their own statement earlier in the day, also denying the allegations.
“We categorically deny this allegation. It is our understanding the uber driver was unable to identify the specific individual who allegedly touched this driver inappropriately. The only reason his name is being dragged in to this is that his uber account was used to call the ride.”
According to Talal Ansari of BuzzFeed News, the NFL is currently investigating Winston after they learned of the allegations on Thursday.
A letter, viewed by BuzzFeed News, was sent from the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, Lisa Friel, to the Uber driver on Thursday. “The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston. The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter,” the letter read.
The report details an alleged incident from March 13, 2016, where the Uber driver claims that Winston was behaving poorly in the back of her car before being asked to stop for food. During the stop, the driver claims that Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch.”
Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter said during practice on Friday that the team will release a statement later in the day about the allegations.
Winston was also accused of sexual assault back when he was the quarterback at Florida State. Winston was cleared in that case.