The NFL plans to suspend Tampa Bay Buccanneers quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, ESPN reported Thursday.
The sanction stems from an incident in March 2016, in which a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., claimed that Winston grabbed her crotch.
The report said that the league had not yet notified Winston of its official decision and noted that the length of the punishment could increase or decrease. NFL Media reported Thursday that Winston was “expected” to be suspended for “several” games.
The NFL did not return Fox News’ requests for comment.
The driver, known as “Kate,” went public with her claims against Winston in an interview with BuzzFeed News this past November. She said that Winston groped her while they waited in a drive-thru line at a local Mexican restaurant.
Kate said she filed a complaint with Uber after her ride with Winston, but declined to file charges because “I didn’t want to be publicly known as the woman who Jameis Winston groped.”
Winston denied the driver’s claims at the time, saying in a statement that she was “confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her.”
“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,” Winston added. “At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.”
The Buccaneers selected Winston with the first overall draft pick in 2015 out of Florida State. He started 13 games in 2017, of which Tampa Bay only won three. In those 13 games, Winston completed 63.8 percent of his passes, throwing 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Winston was previously accused of rape by a fellow FSU student, Erica Kinsman, in 2012. The lawsuit was settled with undisclosed terms in 2016.