Jameis Winston’s old Florida State teammate is coming to his defense.
After an Uber driver accused the Buccaneers quarterback of groping her during a 2016 ride, an allegation the NFL has said it is investigating, Ronald Darby said Winston is innocent and the story is “just not true.”
“I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening of March 13, 2016 when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona,” Darby said in a statement, via NFL Network. “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.”
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According to the original report from BuzzFeed News, the woman said Winston, sitting in the front seat, was the only passenger in the car in Scottsdale, where she says the then-22-year-old “grabbed my crotch” for 3 to 5 seconds while at a drive-through restaurant.
Darby is a cornerback for the Eagles and played alongside Winston in 2013 and ’14 at Florida State, where Winston also faced an allegation of sexual assault in a case that was settled.
The Bucs said they “take these matters very seriously” and will cooperate with the league’s investigation. Winston flatly denied any misconduct in the ride.
“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.”