TAMPA, Fla. — The Uber driver who accused Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston of assaulting her has released a statement through her attorney, John Clune, acknowledging the NFL’s work during its seven-month investigation that ultimately resulted in a three-game suspension for Winston.
“I am glad to see the NFL discipline Jameis Winston. I do appreciate his apology, even if it needs some work,” she said Friday.
“I would like to publicly acknowledge the NFL Investigators, particularly Lisa Friel and John Iannarelli, for their kind, professional and thorough investigation.
“My experience should highlight the importance of believing women when they have the courage to come forward about sexual assault. Perhaps that night could have been prevented if others had been believed before me.
“Mr. Winston once said, ‘Girls should be silent, polite, and gentle.’ I disagree.
Clune acknowledged that the investigation was stressful on his client, but that she is “handling it as well as you could hope.”
“We were pretty impressed with the league’s handling of this,” Clune said. “The length of the suspension can be debated, but from Day 1 it was obvious that the NFL took the matter seriously, both the process and the final outcome.”
He added that his client “is at peace with the final discipline handed out.”
Clune also revealed that Winston’s former Florida State teammate Ronald Darby, who came to Winston’s defense when the allegations first surfaced in November 2017, told the league something different than what he tweeted when he claimed he was in the vehicle with Winston at the time of the incident.
“We understand that Ron Darby’s statement to the league was that he no longer recalled the Uber ride in question and that his text messages show that he was still outside the International club as Winston was finishing the ride,” Clune said.
In a statement on Thursday, the NFL said Winston violated the league’s personal conduct policy “by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent.”
The league began its investigation in November 2017 when the woman, who identified herself as “Kate,” told BuzzFeed that Winston reached over and grabbed her crotch while waiting at a drive-thru in March 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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