Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby says he was in the Uber with Jameis Winston nearly two years ago and that accusations Winston groped the driver “are just not true.”
Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback, is under investigation by the NFL for allegedly grabbing the female driver between her legs on March 13, 2016, after she picked him up in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Darby, who played with Winston at Florida State in 2013 and 2014, released a statement Sunday, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
"I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening of March 13, 2016 when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona," Darby said. "There were three of us in the car, not just one as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that 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."
According to the initial report from BuzzFeed News, the woman claimed that Winston was the only passenger and sat in the front seat.
“He sexually assaulted me, and I have every right to tell the damn truth about it,” she told BuzzFeed.
John Clune, a lawyer retained by the woman, reiterated the claim that Winston was the sole passenger. When asked by USA TODAY Sports, the NFL declined comment on whether Darby would be investigated.
And to be clear, no one else was in the car besides Mr. Winston and if anyone is “confused”, it isn’t the Uber driver.
Mr. Winston's friend from his FSU days is just making things worse by inserting himself into this.
We have asked the NFL this morning to investigate Mr. Darby and are demanding the he immediately turn his phone over to the NFL so the GPS history can be forensically examined.
The woman, identified as Kate in the story, did not go to the police, but did file a complaint with Uber.
"The behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong,” an Uber spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times. “The rider was permanently removed from the app shortly after we learned of the incident."
Winston has denied the allegation.
"The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
"While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."
According to ESPN, Darby also defended Winston in 2012, when Winston was accused of sexually assaulting FSU student Erica Kinsman. Darby, along with FSU defensive end Chris Casher, said they were in the apartment and saw Winston and Kinsman having consensual sex. Winston never faced criminal charges.