The attorney for a friend of Jameis Winston spoke on the record to ESPN about the alleged Uber incident and seems to have shed some light on the matter.
Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, reportedly is being suspended three games by the NFL for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. The violation has to do with an allegation he is facing from an Uber driver.
In Nov. 2017, a woman who said she drove Winston in an Uber in March 2016, claimed that she was groped by Winston while driving him. The woman claimed that Winston was placed into her car alone by a group of friends and told by them she would be driving someone famous. She told Buzzfeed in her initial story that Winston was acting inappropriately from the start of the drive by yelling at people. She says he grabbed her crotch while they were waiting in a drive-through line at a Mexican fastfood restaurant. She says she initially froze and then he finally removed his hand after she said something.
Winston denied the allegation, and then called into question some details about the event. He said that the woman was mistaken about how many people were in the car.
“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,” Winston said in his statement.
Winston even got backup from another friend, his former college teammate, Ronald Darby. Darby vouched for Winston, saying he was in the car with Winston for their Uber ride and that they were in the backseat and nothing happened. The woman’s attorney says that is a lie.
So what to make of all this? Well, another man who was with Winston that night says that Winston and Darby appear to be talking about a different Uber ride.
Brandon Banks, a former Vanderbilt football player who is serving 15 years in prison for aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery for his role in a 2013 gang rape, says he was with Winston and Darby that night. Speaking on his client’s behalf, Banks’ attorney told ESPN that the three men were in an Uber ride together that evening, which was separate from the ride where Winston is accused of groping the driver.
“Brandon was never in the car with this victim,” the attorney told ESPN. “They were two different events, two different Uber drivers.”
If that is the case, then Winston and Darby appear to be lying intentionally to create confusion and distract from the accusation. Winston’s Uber account was suspended as a result of the matter.
Darby also defended Winston against the sexual assault allegation the quarterback faced at Florida State.