Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended three games for violation of the National Football League’s Personal Conduct Policy. To show how it pays to be an NFL Owner rather than a player, the headline for Jameis Winston directly says he violated league policy, but for soon-to-be-former Carolina Panther’s Owner Jerry Richardson, the headline reads “findings of investigation…”.
Before you read the report by the NFL, the un-explained matter here is why did the NFL not seek to evaluate why the Uber Driver did not call police? It sets up a terrible environment where someone can point the finger at an NFL Player, who in point of fact with respect to 49ers linebacker Rueben Foster, was completely innocent. In Foster’s case, had the girlfriend not admitted to a lie, Foster may be in jail, now.
And take the case of my late cousin, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts running back Fred Lane, Jr., who was shot and killed by his wife, who then claimed self-defense due to domestic violence. A complete lie. It was found that she was trying to take his money.
Let’s get this out of the way: Jameis Winston certainly should not have been in a situation where he could be accused of groping a woman. Period. He maintains he did not do that, but then says he was drinking. If he was drunk, and as it turned out alone, then he set himself up. If that’s not true, Winston should file an appeal, immediately.
What Jameis Winston has to realize is that because of the mental illness of racism, there are people who are white (and also black) who just don’t want to see a black quarterback do well, and will find any little thing he does they think is wrong and use it against him. This situation is not little.
I maintain that, had Winston selected Stanford and David Shaw, and not Florida State, this would not have happened at all.
Moreover, Dirk Koetter has to share some blame for this, and for not setting up an off-season environment that sets him on a course for growth as a quarterback. Coach Koetter does not have a systemic way of guaranteeing Winston’s improvement in how to execute his offense. So, if he throws an interception, rather than going over what coverage was ran by the defense and what play was called by the Bucs, he just yells at him on the sidelines, like some college coach in the 80s. Winston can’t coach himself, because that would mean allowing him to design his own offense – something Koetter would not allow.
If we expect Winston to get better then Koetter must change. That said, Winston has been on a path of statistical improvement each year. He’s just not turned the corner into being able to take over a game and win it, consistently. He can do it.
Here’s the NFL announcement in full:
JAMEIS WINSTON of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was notified today by NFL Special Counsel for Conduct TODD JONES that he has been suspended without pay for the Buccaneers’ first three regular-season games for a violation of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
In November 2017, the NFL learned of an incident involving Winston and a shared-ride service driver that had taken place in March 2016 in Scottsdale, AZ. The incident, which had been immediately reported by the driver to her employer and which resulted in Winston’s removal from the ride-sharing platform, was also publicly reported last November.
The league promptly initiated a comprehensive investigation that included interviews with several persons, including the driver, Winston and others with relevant information. The league also examined an extensive amount of other evidence, including telephone records, business records, data from electronic devices and other communications. Based on the investigation, the NFL found that Winston had violated the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, which allows for discipline to be imposed even when criminal charges are not presented.
In his letter advising Winston of the suspension, Jones stated after full consideration of the record, including a meeting with Winston and his representatives, and a written submission by his attorneys, that the driver’s account of the incident was consistent and credible. As a result, the investigation had concluded that Winston violated the Personal Conduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.
As part of the discipline, Winston is also required to obtain a clinical evaluation and fully cooperate in any recommended program of therapeutic intervention. A failure either to obtain the evaluation or to cooperate with treatment will result in further discipline. In addition, a future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL.
Winston has advised the league office that he accepts this discipline. His suspension therefore will take effect as of the final roster reduction on September 1 and he will be eligible to return on September 25 following the Buccaneers’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Winston may participate in all of his club’s preseason activities, including games.