On Thursday, an incident that occurred 27 months ago in Scottsdale, AZ, finally resulted in Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston being suspended by the NFL for three games in the upcoming season.
Here’s the timeline that led us all to today.
March 12th, 2016- While in Arizona working out with a personal trainer and also participating as a guest instructor at a Kurt Warner football camp, Winston and two others are out on a Saturday night of drinking and partying. The other two have now both been identified as his former FSU teammate Ronald Darby, who now plays for the Eagles, and former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks. Banks has since been convicted in a gang rape of a Vanderbilt student and is currently serving 15 years in prison.
Banks told the media last week (for the first time in 27 months), that three took an Uber to a nightclub together, but that Winston became drunk and unruly. So, he and Darby called another Uber to get Winston to his hotel, individually. It is that Uber ride that has been the one in question.
March 13, 2016- An unidentified female Uber driver files a formal complaint with her employer that Winston, while in the front seat of the Uber ride early Sunday morning first exhibited loud and confrontational behavior even towards pedestrians in a crosswalk. Then, after taking him to a fast food restaurant drive thru, he reached across the seat and put his hand inappropriately for several seconds on her crotch. Uber took immediate action on the complaint and banned Winston for life from the service.
The accuser never filed a police report with Arizona authorities to begin a criminal investigation.
November 17, 2017- In an exclusive story to the online site, Buzzfeed News, the Uber driver, who identified herself as “Kate,” publicized the incident for the first time. Here’s the recap from our Roy Cummings last year:
The Uber driver 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.
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.’’
“A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago,’’ Winston said in a statement.
“The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. 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.’’
November 19th, 2017- Darby releases a statement saying that the accusations are false and that he and Winston were not in the front seat of the Uber and that the third person (who we now know was Banks) was in the front seat.
“There were three of us in the car, not just one as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true.”
We now know from Banks’ statements that Winston and Darby were not telling the truth about a second Uber ride, where Winston was alone with the driver.
Later on November 19th, 2017- “Kate” hires John Clune, the attorney who represented Florida State student Erica Kinsman in her lawsuits against the school and against Winston, for her rape allegation in 2012 that he was never charged or punished for. Both the school and Winston eventually settled the suits with Kinsman. Clune, demanded to the media that the NFL not only investigate Winston but also Darby about the truthfulness of their statements and denials.
December 31st, 2017- The Bucs close out the regular season snapping a five game losing streak when Winston throws the game winning touchdown pass to WR Chris Godwin with :09 remaining to defeat the Saints. Tampa Bay finishes with a 5-11 record.
March 27th, 2018- Three months later, the Bucs organization from Coach Dirk Koetter, GM Jason Licht and Co-owner Joel Glazer, all publicly back Winston in separate media interviews at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. While saying they didn’t know the status of the investigation, and respecting the process of the NFL, they are all hopeful that Winston will be vindicated and ready to play week one this fall.
June 21st, 2018- A Tallahassee radio host, Jeff Cameron, tells his radio audience that his “sources in the Winston camp” tell him that Winston is preparing to be suspended for as many as three, but possibly only one game by the NFL. Cameron, goes onto to say that the uncertainty is because the NFL is still investigating.
June 22nd, 2018- ESPN’s Adam Schefer, arguably the premier media insider in the NFL, reports that the Winston suspension will be at least three games and will be announced no later than July 1st.
June 28th, 2018- The NFL formally notifies Winston that he is being suspended for at least the first three games of the 2018 season. That is pending him completing a psychological evaluation and getting “any recommended program of therapeutic intervention.” And, that any failure by Winston to do so could increase the suspension this fall.
The league further finds “Kate” the Uber driver as, “consistent and credible” in her testimony to them about the events of early Sunday March 13th, 2016.
The league makes no mention of Ronald Darby, his testimony or possible punishment for him.
Winston releases a statement that in part apologizes to the Uber driver, his teammates and the Bucs organization and says he will not appeal the NFL ‘s findings and punishment.
Winston will therefore miss Tampa Bay’s first three games: at the Saints, at home with the Eagles and at home with the Steelers.
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