Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby said Sunday he was in the car with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on the evening Winston has since been accused of groping an Uber driver and said Winston did not make contact with the driver.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network passed along Darby's statement:
"I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening of March 13, 2016, when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona. There were three of us in the car, not just one as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true."
The driver's lawyer responded to Darby on Twitter:
John Clune @CluneEsq
We have asked the NFL this morning to investigate Mr. Darby and are demanding the he immediately turn his phone over to the NFL so the GPS history can be forensically examined.2017-11-19 17:35:56
John Clune @CluneEsq
And to be clear, no one else was in the car besides Mr. Winston and if anyone is “confused”, it isn’t the Uber driver. Mr. Winston's friend from his FSU days is just making things worse by inserting himself into this.2017-11-19 17:35:22
Talal Ansari of BuzzFeed News reported Friday the NFL was investigating Winston after an Uber driver accused him of grabbing her crotch while waiting in the drive-thru of Los Betos Mexican Food in Scottsdale, Arizona. The driver also told Ansari that Winston shouted homophobic slurs at pedestrians and noted Winston was the only passenger in the car that evening.
"The matter is under review," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Ansari. "The allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have."
A letter to the driver from the NFL's special counsel for investigations, Lisa Friel, read: "The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston. The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter."
Winston released a statement regarding the incident, per Rick Stroud of TampaBay.com:
"A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver 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. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.
"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. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don't want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."
It's the second time Winston has been publicly accused of sexual assault. Erica Kinsman accused Winston of raping her in 2012. Both Winston and the university settled lawsuits with Kinsman.