The NFL decided to punish Winston following an eight-month investigation into the incident, which was denied by the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
Darby said he was with Winston in the car and released a statement in November in which he said “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.”
So why was Darby’s version of events apparently ignored? According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Darby’s account was deemed inaccurate after league investigators discovered he was not in the vehicle the entire time.
The Uber driver told BuzzFeed News that she picked up Winston around 2 a.m. local time in Scottsdale, Ariz., on March 13, 2016. The driver alleged Winston “behaved poorly” as soon as he got in the car, and then asked her to stop at a drive-thru restaurant during the ride.
While in line, the driver said Winston, who she said was the only passenger in the car, reached over and “grabbed” her crotch for three to five seconds.
When the accusations came to light in November, Winston released a statement which said in part: “I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her.”
Darby released his statement two days later, refuting the allegations and claiming he and Winston were seated in the backseat of the vehicle.
The 24-year-old Winston became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He was hampered by a shoulder injury in 2017, limiting him to a career-worst 3,504 passing yards with 19 touchdowns in 13 games.
Winston has completed 939 of 1,544 passes for 11,636 yards with 69 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in 45 career games with the Buccaneers. He has also rushed for 513 yards with eight scores.