NFL investigating Jameis Winston for allegedly groping an Uber driver in 2016

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 5: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches a replay on the screen from the sidelines after being hurt in the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 30-10. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

(WFLA) – The NFL is investigating allegations against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston who is accused of grabbing a female Uber driver’s crotch in 2016, BuzzFeed News reports.

The news website obtained a letter to the Uber driver from Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, which reads, “The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston. The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter.”

The alleged incident took place in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Uber driver, identified as Kate, told Buzzfeed she picked Winston up around 2 a.m., and that he was the only passenger.

“I started driving, and right away, Jameis behaved poorly.” She said he started shouting homophobic slurs at pedestrians, then asked to stop for food. While they were waiting in line at a drive-thru at a Mexican restaurant, “he reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” Kate said. She said he held his hand there for three to five seconds. “I wasn’t just creeped out, I was frozen,” said Kate, who described Winston as “very physically imposing.”

“I mean he’s an NFL quarterback and I’m five foot six. I’m not prepared for that. So I completely froze,” she said.

Winston’s representative, Russ Spielman, denied the allegations in the following statement to BuzzFeed: “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. The only reason his name is being dragged into this is that his Uber account was used to call the ride.”

When asked about the NFL’s letter, he said, “I don’t have a comment on that, what you’re hearing is the first time I’m hearing about that.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t respond to BuzzFeed’s requests for comment.

An Uber representative told the website, “That kind of rider behavior is absolutely not tolerated on the platform, I recommend contacting law enforcement as soon as possible.”

Uber also said the driver would not be “matched with this rider going forward” and that, “While our privacy policy prevents me from disclosing the exact action taken, in the past riders with these kind of instances have not been welcomed back to the service.”

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