Jameis Winston still being investigated for Uber incident, suspension still possible
The Buccaneers quarterback has been under investigation for more than seven months
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times this week, an NFL spokesman confirmed that the Winston investigation is still ongoing.
"This remains under review," the spokesman said of the Winston case.
[Update: Jameis Winston is reportedly now]
The Buccaneers quarterback is being investigated by the league for an incident that allegedly occurred more than two years ago. Back in November, an Uber driver alleged that Winston grabbed her crotch while the two were waiting in the drive-thru of a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 13, 2016.
The driver told BuzzFeed News that Winston "reached over" and "just grabbed my crotch." The driver also added that Winston kept his hand in place for three to five seconds and didn't remove it until she asked him, "What's up with that?"
Winston has denied the accusations.
"I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her," Winston said in November. "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."
After the accusations came out, Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby quickly jumped to Winston's defense. Darby, who was a teammate with Winston at Florida State, said that he on the night of the incident and that nothing inappropriate happened.
The downside for Winston here is that it's possible that he could be suspended no matter what happened on the night that the alleged incident took place. Even if he didn't do anything, Winston may have still violated the NFL's personal conduct policy.
As noted by ProFootballTalk, Winston would be in violation of the policy if he knew about the allegations before they went public, but didn't tell the NFL. Basically, it's his responsibility to alert the NFL of any possible pending allegations in a timely manner, assuming that he knew about them.
"Clubs and players are obligated to promptly report any matter that comes to their attention (through, for example, victim or witness reports, law enforcement, or media reports) that may constitute a violation of this Policy," it reads. "Clubs are expected to educate their employees on this obligation to report. Club reports should be made to NFL Security... Failure to report an incident will be grounds for disciplinary action."
Based on the fact that Winston allegedly had his Uber account suspended in March 2016 following the incident, he could have at least relayed that fact to the NFL, and the league could have looked into it then.
Although the NFL still has to complete its investigation, the feeling in Tampa seems to be that Winston is going to face some kind of suspension. Jeff Cameron, an ESPN radio host in Tallahassee who attended Winston's draft day party in 2015, said that Winston's camp is expecting a suspension.
"What he'll be suspended over is a failure to report and that's frustrating," Cameron said Wedneday, via JoeBucsfan. "The Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind. The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games."
No matter what happens, the Buccaneers are probably hoping that the NFL will have its investigation wrapped up before the team starts training camp in late July. The Bucs are obviously going to need to know who their starting quarterback is going to be, and if Winston is suspended for a week or two, that will likely change how the Bucs handle quarterback snaps during training camp.
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