Report: NFL to suspend Jameis Winston over Scottsdale groping
PHOENIX — The NFL will reportedly suspend Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the season in connection to an alleged groping incident that occurred in Scottsdale in 2016.
According to ESPN, the league found that Winston violated its personal conduct policy when he allegedly grabbed the crotch of a female Uber driver after she picked him up in Old Town Scottsdale.
The woman, identified only as Kate, told BuzzFeed News last year that 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.”
Winston has denied the allegations, tweeting at the time 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.
ESPN reported that the league has not yet notified Winston of its official decision, but that it could come as early as Friday. The “circumstances surrounding it still could lead to an increase or decrease of the three games.”
Rick Stroud with the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that Winston is not expected to appeal the decision.
If he is suspended, Winston could lose $124,000 in his base salary, which is $705,000 this season. His base salary is expected to be more than $20.9 million next season.