Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston may actually be innocent of the allegations made against him by an Uber driver in March 2016. Even if he is, he’s guilty of being dumb.
This incident happened less than a year after the Buccaneers drafted him under the cloud of a rape allegation that resulted in a civil lawsuit, not to mention other boneheaded off-field incidents, including the stealing of crab legs and the shouting of a vulgar phrase. At the time Winston allegedly groped the Uber driver, the rape lawsuit was still pending.
Again, maybe he’s innocent of the latest allegations. But he apparently did enough to put himself within the bubble of plausible accusation — and given his history and the then-pending rape lawsuit, that’s just dumb.
It’s still not clear what the NFL contends that he did, but multiple reports indicate he’s not being suspended for failing to timely report the allegation, but for the underlying conduct. Which means that the alleged victim in this case told a sufficiently compelling story to the NFL, and/or Winston didn’t.
Which means that Winston did something that invited an allegation that at a minimum will mar his career and at worst could completely derail it. At this point, much depends on what the NFL specifically concludes, and the manner in which media and fans react to it.