Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston has received a ban for the first three games of the regular season, for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The ban, which has been deemed a ‘light punishment’ by many NFL fans, comes almost two years after Winston was accused of inappropriately touching an Uber driver in 2016.
Jameis Winston is no stranger to controversy. Since 2013, the 24-year-old has found himself on the wrong side of the law on a number of occasions, including allegations of sexual assault and shoplifting. Winston’s most recent run in with the law came back in 2016, when he was accused of groping an Uber driver, and following months of deliberation, the NFL have finally decided to punish the QB with a three-game ban.
In response to the ban, Winston offered this statement: “First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologise.
“In the past two-and-a-half years my life has been filled with experiences, opportunities and events that have helped me grow, mature and learn, including the fact that I have eliminated alcohol from my life.
Adding: “I apologise to my team-mates, the Buccaneers organisation and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season.
“Although I am disappointed in the NFL’s decision, I understand the NFL’s process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself.
Winston’s ban will see him miss the Buccaneers first three NFL regular season fixtures against the Saints, Eagles, and Steelers. It is thought that the NFL decided on this particular punishment to avoid a lengthy appeals process, but many fans believe that considering Winston’s history of legal issues, a harsher punishment would be more appropriate.
The main source of outrage for NFL fans however, are the ongoing rumours that Winston’s camp attempted to spin the story in order to negotiate a lighter punishment, with many drawing comparisons to Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for deflategate. While Winston could be back in action by late September, his reputation within the NFL may now be beyond repair.