Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Winston, 24, was accused of groping an Uber driver in 2016 but it was not publicized until a BuzzFeed report in November 2017 sparked an NFL investigation.
Winston will not appeal the suspension, per SI’s Albert Breer, who reported that the three games was part of a settlement agreement between the NFL, NFLPA and Winston’s reps.
The typical suspension for a violation of the personal conduct policy is six games.
Winston is also required to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended therapeutic intervention.
The alleged victim, identified as “Kate,” told Buzzfeed that Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch” while they were waiting at a drive-thru of a fast-food restaurant at 2 a.m. in Scottsdale, Ariz.
She added he also shouted homophobic slurs before groping her from the front passenger seat. She subsequently filed an incident report with Uber but did not contact the police.
The NFL confirmed her allegations in its statement.
“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’s statement read.
Winston, who has previously denied the allegations, released a statement on Thursday in which he acknowledged the incident, apologized to the Uber driver and revealed he has cut alcohol out of his life.
“The NFL informed me today that I will be suspended for the first three games of the season,” he said.
“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. 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.
“I know I have to hold myself to a higher standard on and off the field and that I have a responsibility to my family, community, and teammates to live above the platform with which God has blessed me. I apologize to my 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.
“I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, teammate and leader I can be.”
Winston was also accused of sexual assault in 2012 at Florida State, which resulted in a $950,000 settlement.