NEW YORK, N.Y. – The face of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise will not be suiting up in Week 1 when the team faces the New Orleans Saints. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston won’t be taking the field in Week’s 2 or 3, for that matter. The NFL suspended Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
The suspension stems from an investigation into a 2016 incident involving Winston and a shared-ride service driver in Scottsdale, Arizona. The league became aware of the incident in 2017, with the driver reporting to her employer that Winston groped her in the crotch area while at a drive-through window.
Per the league’s release:
“The league promptly initiated a comprehensive investigation that included interviews with several persons, including the driver, Winston and others with relevant information. The league also examined an extensive amount of other evidence, including telephone records, business records, data from electronic devices and other communications. Based on the investigation, the NFL found that Winston had violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, which allows for discipline to be imposed even when criminal charges are not presented. “
The release goes on to say that “a future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL.”
Winston released a statement following the release of the league’s decision:
In three seasons as the Bucs quarterback, Winston has thrown for 11, 636 yards and 69 touchdowns. He was the first-overall pick out of Florida State in the 2015 NFL Draft, and the Heisman Trophy winner in 2013.