The NFL is suspending Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for three games after completing an investigation into an allegation that he grabbed a female Uber driver’s crotch in 2016.
The suspension came after officials determined the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner violated the league's personal conduct policy, the NFL said in a statement.
The driver previously told BuzzFeed News she was hailed to the lively party scene of downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, to pick Winston up around 2 a.m. on March 13, 2016. She filed a complaint with Uber soon after the ride, writing that “apparently a big athlete in the nfl” reached over “and put his fingers on my crotch.”
As a result of the complaint, Uber suspended Winston's account.
In a statement, the NFL said that during the course of its investigation — which spanned eight months and included "telephone records, business records,
data from electronic devices and other communications" — investigators found that the "driver’s account of the incident was consistent and credible."
"As a result, the investigation had concluded that Winston violated the Personal Conduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate," the NFL said.
The NFL is also requiring Winston "to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended program of therapeutic intervention," adding that a failure to do so will "result in further discipline."
"In addition, a future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL," the league reported.
The quarterback had denied the allegation, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News in November.
In a statement on Thursday, Winston did not deny the allegation, but apologized to the driver "for the position I put you in."
"First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize," Winston said. "In the past 2 1/2 years my life has been filled with experiences, opportunities and events that have helped me grow, mature and learn, including the fact that I have eliminated alcohol from my life," Winston wrote.
Winston, who is not going to appeal the decision, also apologized to his teammates, the Buccaneers organization, and fans "for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season."
"Although I am disappointed in the NFL’s decision, I understand the NFL’s process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself," Winston added.
The Buccaneers said in a statement that they were "disappointed that Jameis put himself in a position" that violated the NFL's conduct policy, adding that the they "accept today's decision by the commissioner."
Winston did not deny the allegation in his statement Thursday. A previous version of this post said he did.