JAMEIS WINSTON of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was notified today by NFL Special Counsel for Conduct TODD JONES that he has been suspended without pay for the Buccaneers’ first three regular-season games for a violation of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
In November 2017, the NFL learned of an incident involving Winston and a shared-ride service driver that had taken place in March 2016 in Scottsdale, AZ. The incident, which had been immediately reported by the driver to her employer and which resulted in Winston’s removal from the ride-sharing platform, was also publicly reported last November.
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.
In his letter advising Winston of the suspension, Jones stated after full consideration of the record, including a meeting with Winston and his representatives, and a written submission by his attorneys, that the driver’s account of the incident was consistent and credible. As a result, the investigation had concluded that Winston violated the Personal Conduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.
As part of the discipline, Winston is also required to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended program of therapeutic intervention. A failure either to obtain the evaluation or to cooperate with treatment will result in further discipline. In addition, a future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL.
Winston has advised the league office that he accepts this discipline. His suspension therefore will take effect as of the final roster reduction on September 1 and he will be eligible to return on September 25 following the Buccaneers’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Winston may participate in all of his club’s preseason activities, including games.