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Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston denies groping Uber driver in Scottsdale

(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver has accused Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston of inappropriately grabbing her during a ride in Scottsdale last year.

According to BuzzFeed News, a woman, who was identified only as Kate, who drives for the ride share, claimed Winston grabbed her crotch after she picked him up in Old Town Scottsdale in March 2016.

Kate said Winston immediately started behaving “poorly” once he was in the vehicle, including yelling homophobic slurs at passersby.

Winston then asked Kate if they could stop for food. While the pair were in the drive-thru line at Los Betos Mexican Food, an eatery about a mile from Old Town, Winston allegedly grabbed the woman’s crotch and held his hand there for about five seconds.

Kate told BuzzFeed News that he only took his hand away when she “looked up in shock and said, ‘What’s up with that?'” She said that she was “frozen” and that Winston was “very physically imposing.”

Kate said she reported the incident through the Uber app shortly after the incident and that representatives told her to file the incident with police. She said she did not because she feared backlash.

A spokesman for the Scottsdale Police Department confirmed that the victim did not file a police report on the incident.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Friday, Winston denied the allegations, claiming that the driver was “confused” about who allegedly assaulted 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,” Winston said.

“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,” he continued.

Winston’s representative, Russ Spielman, also issued a statement to BuzzFeed News denying the allegations, saying the only reason Winston is involved is because his “Uber account was used to call the ride.”

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby denied the claims to the publication, saying that he was in the car when the alleged groping occurred and “nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver.”

The allegation is being investigated by the NFL, a spokesman told BuzzFeed News.

“The matter is under review,” spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “The allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have.”

The alleged incident took place months before Winston settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2012, when they were both students at Florida State University.

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