TAMPA – The NFL is investigating a complaint from an Uber drive who claims Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston groped her in Arizona March of 2016, The Buccaneers confirmed.
“I’m just finding out about that,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said as he wrapped up practice on Friday at One Buc Place. “There will be some kind of comment from the club later.’’
Buzzfeed broke the story in which cited a letter sent Thursday from NFL’s special counsel for investigations to the female claimant who says Winston grabbed her crotch.
“The (NFL) has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston,’’ the letter read. “The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter.’’
The Uber driver, described as “Kate,’’ told Buzzfeed she picked up Winston in Scottsdale, Arizona around 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13 2016 when two other men placed Winston in the front passenger seat of her car.
Kate, who asked not to be identified out of fear of negatitve retribution, told Buzzfeed Winston began behaving badly as soon as he entered the car.
She said he shouted homophobic slurs at pedestrians and then asked to stop for food, before he “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” further alleging that Winston held his hand there for several seconds.
“I wasn’t just creeped out,” Kate told Buzzfeed. “I was frozen. I mean, he’s an NFL quarterback and I’m 5-foot-6. I’m not prepared for that. So I completely froze.
Winston’s representative, Russ Spielman, issued a statement denying the allegations, telling Buzzfeed, “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.’’
Kate told Buzzfeed she was not seeking money as a result of her revelation but simply wanted the truth known about “a powerful man who felt entitled to my body when all I wanted to do was my job.
“I have been empowered by my sisters, who have forged this path by speaking up, and I must do my part to make it a little more well traveled,” Kate told BuzzFeed News.
“If I’m silent, I fear that further harm will come to other women, if it hasn’t already. He sexually assaulted me, and I have every right to tell the damn truth about it.’’
Winston, who is nursing a sore right shoulder and is not expected to play for a second straight week on Sunday, was at practice with the Buccaneers on Friday but he was not made available to the media.