- An Arizona-based Uber driver has sued Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston over an incident in which she alleged the Heisman winner groped her.
- Winston received a three-game suspension after an NFL investigation found he “[touched] the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.”
- Although Winston is slated to return to the field next week, the incredible play from backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has cast doubt on whether or not he will regain the starting role in Week 4.
A bad week got much worse for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
The fourth-year signal caller has been sued by the Arizona-based Uber driver who alleged that the former Florida State Seminoles standout groped her on a ride in March 2016. The driver – referred to as “Kate P.” in federal court documents – hired attorney John Clune, who represented Erica Kinsman when she accused Winston of raping her in December 2012.
According to papers submitted to the court, Kate P. is seeking more than $US75,000 for sexual battery and punitive damages. Winston has not faced criminal charges from the incident.
An eight-month NFL investigation into the incident found that Winston violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy by touching the driver “in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.” Winston was suspended by the league for the first three games of the season, and given backup Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s impressive play in Tampa Bay’s contests against the Saints and the Eagles, it is looking increasingly likely that the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback will not return to his starting role when his suspension ends next week.
Florida State settled Kinsman’s rape case against Winston in 2016 by awarding her $US950,000 and enacting new policies and education initiatives on campus.
“This is not about trying to get the most money out of Jameis Winston,” Clune told Marc Tracy of the New York Times when Kinsman filed the suit. “If he had been found responsible and expelled, the need to do something like a civil lawsuit would have gone way down, and would not necessarily have been something we would have pursued.”
These incidents were far from Winston’s only brushes with scandal. According to a report by Rachel Axon at USA TODAY Sports, Winston and an FSU teammate were stopped by police at gunpoint after shooting at squirrels with a pellet gun. They engaged in a BB gun “battle” at their apartment complex later that night that caused an estimated $US4,000 worth of vehicle damage.
In July 2013, Winston had the police called on him for stealing soda from a Burger King in Tallahassee. Just less than a year later, Winston was famously caught on video stealing $US32.72 worth of crab legs from a supermarket in Tallahassee. Finally, in May 2014, he was suspended for a game after he stood on a table and shouted disparaging things about women in the middle of FSU’s campus.
Tampa Bay appeared to believe that Winston’s transgressions were behind him when they selected him first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“Jameis will be the first guy to tell you he hasn’t made great choices all the time, but it’s a learning process,” then-head coach Lovie Smith said, according to Rick Stroud at the Tampa Bay Times. “We would not bring in a player that we didn’t feel like we could handle or be a productive part of society and our football team.”
Winston’s agent declined to comment when reached by Business Insider.
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