Former college teammate Ronald Darby defends Jameis Winston against accusation

Current Philadelphia Eagles cornerback and former Florida State player Ronald Darby released a statement in support of his former Seminoles teammate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

A former Uber driver in Scottsdale, Arizona, has said that Winston, sitting in the front passenger’s seat, reached over and grabbed her between the legs in the early morning hours of March 13, 2016 during a fare, holding his hand there for three to five seconds, until she looked at him in shock and asked, “What’s up with that?”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston  is being investigated for allegedly groping a female Uber driver in 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Darby has released a statement, saying he was with Winston during the ride. His statement read:

“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 woman, identified as Kate – she did not want her last name known – showed BuzzFeed News the letter she received from NFL special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel saying that the league had opened an investigation into her allegation.

Kate said other men had placed Winston in the front seat of her car, telling her she was driving someone famous; almost immediately, she said, Winston began acting inappropriately, yelling homophobic slurs to pedestrians.

She reported the grabbing incident to Uber and also told friends (she showed the text history to BuzzFeed, and friends affirmed that she’d told them), but she did not report the incident to law enforcement; she told BuzzFeed she does not want money from Winston.

She indicated that the bravery of other women speaking out about the actions of other famous men led her to want to tell the truth “about a powerful man who felt entitled to my body when all I wanted to do was my job,” she told BuzzFeed.

Winston has released a statement saying the driver “was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her,” and that “I am certain I did not make 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.”

The Eagles’ Ronald Darby (R) defends his former college teammate Jameis Winston. (Getty Images)

Darby also said he was with Winston in December 2012, when Winston was accused of sexually assaulting a female FSU student in his off-campus apartment.

Darby and another Florida State player, Chris Casher, gave affidavits to authorities saying they saw Winston having sex with that woman, and that it was consensual. Darby and Casher refused to testify at a student conduct code hearing for the rape allegation.

Winston was not criminally charged in that incident. Florida State settled with the alleged victim for $950,000 in federal court in January 2016; she and Winston reached an undisclosed settlement last December.

Winston is not playing in Sunday’s Buccaneers game against the Miami Dolphins due to a shoulder injury.