So Jameis is suspended by the NFL for three games for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The games he will miss will be against three top teams in the NFL. Week one at New Orleans and home games against the Eagles and the Steelers. Jameis was accused by an Uber driver of groping her in an inappropriate manner in 2016, just after his rookie season. Winston is not going to appeal the ban since it was part of a negotiated deal between him and the NFL. The standard suspension is actually six games, but since this is a negotiated deal, he is only getting three. As part of the discipline, in addition to the suspension Winston will also be required to a clinical evaluation and to follow any recommendations for therapy the league deems necessary. The league also said any further violations will result in a more severe punishment up to and including a ban from the NFL.
Winston responded to the suspension with the following statement:
The NFL informed me today that I will be suspended for the first three games of the season.
I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize. In the past 2 1/2 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.
I know I have to hold myself to a higher standard on and off the field and that I have a responsibility to my family, community, and teammates to live above the platform with which God has blessed me. I apologize to my teammates, the Buccaneers organization 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.
I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, teammate and leader I can be.
Winston’s accuser also released a statement regarding the suspension:
I am glad to see the NFL discipline Jameis Winston. I do appreciate his apology, even if it needs some work.
I would like to publicly acknowledge the NFL investigators, particularly Lisa Friel and John Iannerelli, for their kind, professional and thorough investigation.
My experience should highlight the importance of believing women when they have the courage to come forward about sexual assault. Perhaps that night could have been prevented if others had been believed before me.
Mr. Winston once said, “Girls should be silent, polite and gentle.” I disagree.
I have a lot of thoughts going through my head abut this situation. First and foremost is that despite the past actions of Winston while he was at Florida State, the Buccaneers still drafted him first overall in 2015, over Marcus Mariota, a player with no past history of what Jameis is being accused of, and not to mention in hindsight, arguable has had a better career thus far in the NFL and is a more respected player in the NFL. As a follower of the Buccaneers, I have never been a huge Jameis fan, and at the time of the draft, I questioned whether or not the Bucs made the right choice. In the three years since Jameis has been drafted, the Bucs have a losing record and have not made the playoffs. He has thrown 44 interceptions compared to 69 touchdowns, he has 8 rushing touchdowns compared to 31 fumbles, losing 15 of those. He has a 60.8 completion percentage and has been inconsistent at best. The off the field actions only exacerbate the cancer that Jameis has become to the Buccaneers and I don’t know that he has the ability either on or off the field to come out of this.
Living in the Tampa Bay area I have witnessed first hand 15 years of Buccaneer mediocrity. They have two playoff appearances since they won the Super Bowl in 2003, none of which has been with Winston on the roster. They have been the poster child of underachievers for the last 15 years, and there doesn’t appear to be any change in that position for the foreseeable future. The problem is they have a ton of talent, they have the pieces in place, but they do not seem to have the cohesion to get over the hump. They were 5-11 in 2017, and with Winston missing the first three games of 2018 they could end up starting the season 0-3 based on who they are playing. The season hasn’t even started yet and the Bucs are already behind the eight ball with another sub .500 season looming. Jameis is due to make a ton of money next year in 2019, and his performance this season will determine whether or not the Bucs will move on from Jameis or make him their franchise QB of the future. Get out the popcorn people this is about to get interesting.
On the field issues aside, Jameis has a history of abuses against women dating back to his days at Florida State. I don’t think he is a very good person, and despite the fact he stated he is committed to being a better person, there is nothing that he has done thus far to prove that he will change any of his behaviors. There is a culture in the NFL of abuse against women and because the NFL has not appeared to do anything to bring about change in the league, I don’t feel that the culture will change anytime soon. Football is my favorite sport, but I am disappointed in the actions of select individuals off the field and their attitude towards women and the sense of invulnerability they seem to feel they have in regards to that attitude. I know not all players feel and act this way, but those that do continue to give the NFL a black eye when stories like this see the light of day. The NFL needs to have a more aggressive approach to their players actions off the field and not just sweep them aside and move on. NFL players, coaches, management, owners, and league front office personnel need to be held to a higher standard, and part of this higher standard includes being tough on those individuals that represent the league when situations like this happen.