Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs QB Winston safe for now, but suspension likely looming

Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire


TAMPA – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston won’t be active for the Bucs game against the Dolphins this week but his inactivity has nothing to do with the fact he’s been accused of groping a female Uber driver.

Winston remains sidelined because of a sore right throwing shoulder, and for the time being at least, that shoulder injury will probably be the only thing that will keep him sidelined.

The reason is that the Uber driver that has accused Winston of groping her during an early-morning drive through Scottsdale, Arizona some 20 months ago never filed charges against Winston with the police.

Had the driver, who has only identified herself as “Kate” out of fear of retribution from football fans, filed charges, Winston would be in danger right now of being placed on the Reserve/Commissioner’s Exempt List.

That list, however, is only for players who have been charged with a crime. Winston, who has admitted to being in the car with the accuser but denied any wrongdoing in the matter, has not.

So there’d the loophole in the NFL’s Player Personnel Policy that will allow Winston to remain active while the NFL’s investigation into this matter goes on. And it could go on for a while.

The NFL’s investigation has just begun and remember, the NFL spent more than a year investigating Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s domestic violence case before Elliott ran his suspension through the courts.

This issue, then, is not going away any time soon, but neither it seems is Winston, who nevertheless faces the strong possibility of eventually missing time due to a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

That policy states that, “in cases where a player is not charged with a crime … he may still be found to have violated the Policy if credible evidence establishes he engaged in conduct prohibited’’ by the policy.

It’s been a while, though, since the NFL has had to look into a sexual assault case. Though domestic violence cases have become all too common around the NFL, the last high-profile sexual assault case the league had to deal with happened in 2010.

That one involved Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was initially given a six-game suspension that was later reduced to four games by Commissioner Roger Goodell following an appeal.

It may be next year before it happens, but don’t be surprised if Winston winds up serving a similar suspension.

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