On Thursday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston acknowledged that he’s being suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The event that led to his suspension stems from an accusation made by a female Uber driver, who said she was assaulted by Winston back in 2016. She alleged that Winston had grabbed her crotch. After an investigation, the NFL concluded that, in fact, he had touched the driver “in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent.”
Let’s not forget that this was an allegation Winston staunchly denied in 2017.
Well, on Thursday, Winston seemed to admit his guilt with a statement that was shared by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
“I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in,” Winston wrote. “It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize.”
The second part of that statement caused this scribe’s eyebrows to perk up, and I’ll explain a bit more about why that is in a moment.
Going back to Winston’s prepared statement, however, there’s more that really rubs me the wrong way. The young quarterback seems to essentially blame his actions on alcohol when he wrote, “I have eliminated alcohol from my life,” in the past 2 1/2 years.
By putting a time stamp on this, he’s pointing to the incident with the Uber driver. So now we have Winston semi-admitting he groped this poor woman while pretty much blaming it on the booze.
Finally, Winston had the gall to say he is “disappointed in the NFL’s decision,” while saying he understands “the NFL’s process.”
What a load of crap.
Either admit you were wrong and embrace the consequences or shut up. That may sound awfully harsh, but this so-called apology he’s issued deserves nothing less.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s go back to the statement where Winston says “it is uncharacteristic of me.”
That’s certainly debatable.
Winston has been accused of far worse than groping a woman inappropriately in the past. He was accused by another woman of rape back in 2012, when he was a student at Florida State. That case ended up getting settled out of court, and there are reports indicating police and FSU itself helped cover up evidence to protect him.
Then there’s the simple fact that Winston has kept some very unsavory company. In fact, one of the men he was with the night of the Uber incident is now in prison for 15 years for participating in a gang rape at Vanderbilt in 2013.
Winston has never been convicted of rape, but there’s enough circumstantial evidence to suggest his character isn’t exactly squeaky clean when it comes to how he’s treated women in the past.
With all that being said, the lengthy, apologetic statement issued by the NFL star Thursday just doesn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy about this young man.