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The NFL is investigating Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston after an Uber driver accused him of groping her in 2016. A league spokesperson told CBS News on Friday that “the matter is under review.”
Uber says the female driver reported the incident shortly after the trip in March 2016. The company called Winston’s alleged behavior “disturbing and wrong,” adding that the NFL star was banned from the ride-sharing app after the incident occurred.
The driver, who spoke to BuzzFeed News, which first reported the news, claims that she picked up Winston in March 2016 when he asked her to stop at a drive-thru restaurant. While waiting in line, she claims Winston “reached over” and grabbed her crotch for three to five seconds. She says he only removed his hand when she objected.
Winston, 23, has denied the allegation, calling the driver’s story false.
“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,” he said in a statement. He added that he is supportive of the “national movement to raise awareness” of similar situations of sexual harassment.
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“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,” Winston said.
The Buccaneers said they are in the process of “obtaining further information” on the incident. “We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation that is being conducted by the NFL,” the team said in a statement.
In 2016, Winston settled awith a woman who accused him of raping her while he was attending Florida State University in 2012. The school settled a separate Title IX lawsuit filed by the woman for $950,000 in January of that year, The Associated Press reports. The university also made a five-year commitment to sexual assault awareness and prevention, and agreed to publish annual reports about the programs.
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