Jameis Winston finds himself embroiled in scandal once again after a BuzzFeed News report found that he groped his female Uber driver’s crotch in 2016.
The Uber driver reportedly picked up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and a few friends from a party around 2 a.m. on March 13, 2016, in downtown Scottsdale, Ariz. She said that as soon as she began to drive, “Jameis behaved poorly.”
She told BuzzFeed News that Winston sat in the front passenger seat. During the drive, the Heisman winner allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at pedestrians and asked to stop for food.
That’s when Winston sexually assaulted her, she said.
While waiting in the drive-thru line at Los Betos Mexican Food, the driver said, “He reached over and he just grabbed my crotch” for 3 to 5 seconds. Reeling from shock, she said she looked up and asked him, “What’s up with that?”
In a statement released via Twitter on Friday afternoon, Winston said that the driver was “confused” about who was sitting next to her during that Uber trip.
“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.
The driver reported the incident to Uber, but was instructed to file a report with law enforcement. At the time, she declined to do so, fearing retaliation due to Winston’s status as a star athlete.
But now she’s speaking out against “a powerful man who felt entitled to my body when all I wanted to do was my job,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Uber confirmed that the company had received a complaint and Winston was banned from using the service.
“The behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong,” an Uber spokesman said. “The rider was permanently removed from the app shortly after we learned of the incident.”
Photos on the Arizona Cardinals website show Winston in attendance of Kurt Warner’s “Ultimate Football Experience,” a flag football tournament and charity event on March 12, 2016.
“The matter is under review,” according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
“We are in the process of obtaining further information regarding today’s media report,” the Buccaneers said in a statement. “We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation that is being conducted by the NFL.”
In his statement, Winston said that he doesn’t want to “engage in a battle with the driver,” but that he supports victims speaking out against sexual predators.
“I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false,” he said.
Winston is no stranger to controversy.
During his time at Florida State University, Winston was involved in a drawn-out legal battle after a student claimed that he raped her. The case was settled for $950,000 in 2016. He was also suspended for one game for yelling an obscene phrase on campus.
More recently, he told elementary students in St. Petersburg that boys should be “strong” and girls should “be silent, polite, gentle.”
Winston, who is dealing with a right shoulder injury, was shut down for at least two weeks by the Bucs on Nov. 6.