Scottsdale, AZ - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been accused of sexually assaulting a female Uber driver.
The incident occurred on the morning of March 13, 2016, when the Uber driver identified only as 'Kate' picked up Winston in Scottsdale, Arizona, about 2 AM.
In her statement, Kate said that Winston behaved poorly during the ride, even "shouting homophobic slurs at pedestrians," before he asked if they could stop for food.
She said that while waiting in the drive-through at a Mexican restaurant, Winston "reached over and just grabbed my crotch." Kate said Winston kept his hand on her crotch for about three to five seconds and only removed it when she looked at him and said "What's up with that?"
"I mean he's an NFL quarterback and I’m 5 [feet] 6 [inches]. I’m not prepared for that. So I completely froze."
Kate said she filed a complaint with Uber but did not report the incident to the police because "I didn’t want to be publicly known as the woman who Jameis Winston groped."
In his statement, Winston said:
"I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to 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. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. 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."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the incident had been reported to the NFL, and said that the NFL was seeking "any information that Uber may have."
Winston's statement isn't clear, but suggests that somebody else was in the car and sexually assaulted the driver in front of him.
Winston was a first-round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015. In a statement, the NFL team said, "We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation that is being conducted by the NFL."
In 2012, a Florida State University student accused Winston of sexual assault. The victim filed a federal civil lawsuit, which was settled in December, 2016.
In February, Winston gave a speech to elementary children in which he said that females are supposed to be silent.
"All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down," Winston said in his speech, according to Tampa Bay Times. "But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren't supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I'm saying? One day y'all are going to have a very deep voice like this (in deep voice). One day, you'll have a very, very deep voice.
"But the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y'all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to. Scream it!"
Winston is also known for leading Florida State University to the 2013 BCS National Championship.