According to sources including Jeff Cameron of ESPN Tallahassee, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is set to face a three-game suspension at maximum for sexual assault.
The incident took place in Arizona in March 2016, wherein the late hours of the morning, Winston allegedly groped his Uber driver, according to the driver’s account to Buzzfeed. Winston is said to have “grabbed her crotch.” As Cameron reported on his radio show, Winston is most likely facing a suspension 27 months later for negligence more than the act itself.
The NFL has struggled to properly discipline players for domestic assault and abuse, and makes judgment if and only if word of these actions receives media coverage.
The timing of the suspension seems far too late but if the NFL used that time to verify the truth of what went on, that’s a small step in the right direction. News of the NFL’s investigation of the incident broke in November 2017.
Truth is especially important in this case because of Winston’s past history with sexual assault allegations.
In December 2012, before the quarterback was set to attend Florida State University, he was accused of drugging and raping a woman he met at a bar. The woman, Erica Kinsman, believed that Winston was the man who raped her, prompting four years of court, he-said-she-said, and a million dollars’ worth of hush money in a January 2016 settlement between Florida State and Kinsman, two months before the incident that Winston likely faces a suspension for now.
This incident nearly ended Winston’s career. We may never know whether Winston was the one who allegedly raped Kinsman, though the settlement remains a suspicious indication.
While Winston still has his career playing football for now, his past should teach him to straighten up his behavior, however unfair the accusations against him may be. The only hole in Erica Kinsman’s story is how she identified Winston, and that was because she was too intoxicated the night before to know for sure. Any more incidents and Winston will likely in serious trouble.
In the short term, Winston will most likely be replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick for the first three games of the 2018 season, putting Winston’s Buccaneers in another unfavorable position to reach the playoffs in the now-tough NFC South.
Image: Florida State QB Jameis Winston (5) rushes off the field after a 59-20 loss to the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 College Football Playoffs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 12, 2015. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)