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Monday, December 18, 2017

Jameis Winston accused of sexually assaulting Uber driver

Jameis Winston

The NFL is reportedly investigating an incident in which an Uber driver claims she was sexually assaulted by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

The driver, who has only been identified as Kate to protect her privacy, shared with Buzzfeed News a copy of a letter the NFL sent her on Thursday acknowledging that league officials are looking into the matter. Kate says Winston reached over and grabbed her crotch without permission when he was a passenger in her car in March 2016.

The woman told Buzzfeed News that she received a request to pick up a passenger at around 2 a.m. on March 13, 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz. She was informed by an excited group of men that she would be driving for Winston, and the men placed Winston in the front passenger seat. Kate says no one else got into the car and that Winston “behaved poorly” right away by shouting homophobic slurs at pedestrians. He then asked her to stop for food, which is when she says the assault happened.

Kate said she was waiting in line at the drive-thru of Los Betos Mexican Food when Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch.” She said the 23-year-old held his hand there for several seconds and removed it after she asked,” What’s up with that?”

“I wasn’t just creeped out, I was frozen.” Kate recalled, describing Winston as physically imposing. “I mean he’s an NFL quarterback and I’m 5-foot-6. I’m not prepared for that. So I completely froze.”

Kate immediately reported the incident to Uber, but she says she did not go to the police out of fear of public backlash. An Uber representative said the type of behavior allegedly exhibited by Winston is “absolutely not tolerated” and recommended that Kate contact law enforcement. A screenshot shared by Buzzfeed News showed that Kate reported the incident at 3:52 p.m. on the day she says it occurred. An Uber representative told Buzzfeed that Winston has been banned from using the service.

Some photos on the Arizona Cardinals website show that Winston was in the Scottsdale area on March 12 taking part in Kurt Warner’s charity flag football event.

Russ Spielman, one of Winston’s agents, issued a statement denying the allegation and claiming Uber was unable to confirm if Winston was actually the man in the car.

“We categorically deny this allegation. It is our understanding the uber driver was unable to identify the specific individual who allegedly touched this driver inappropriately,” Spielman wrote. “The only reason his name is being dragged in to this is that his uber account was used to call the ride.”

Winston was accused of raping a woman while he was in college at Florida State in 2012, and he has since settled a civil lawsuit in the case. Erica Kinsman, the woman who says she was forced to have sex with Winston, shared her disturbing account of the incident roughly two years ago.

The Buccaneers did not provide comment on the allegations or NFL investigation.

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