Darby Defends Jameis Winston
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby is supposed to jump back in the action tonight in Dallas but the speedy cornerback decided it was time to get involved off the field a little earlier than that by defending his friend and former Florida State teammate Jameis Winston, the subject of sexual assault allegations from an Uber driver.
According to Darby he was in the same Uber with the now-Tampa Bay quarterback back in Arizona on March 23 of last year and witnessed nothing inappropriate despite the driver's assertion that Winston groped her inappropriately.
"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," Darby said in a statement. "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."
Winston, who has a history of sexual assault and harassment allegations at Florida State, also denied the allegations:
"A news organization [BuzzFeed] 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 former No. 1 overall pick insisted. "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."
The recent #MeToo movement on Twitter has focused on allegations against powerful and successful men who have used their standing and money to force themselves sexually on women.
"At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account," Winston explained. "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."
Meshed together the two statements accomplish two things but fail to actually refute the driver's claim that she was touched inappropriately.
Both Darby and Winston claim there was more than one passenger in the car while Darby placed the QB in the back seat while an unknown third passenger was in the front with the driver and could have been the perpetrator considering the allegations.
According to the driver, she responded to a request for a ride in downtown Scottsdale and Winston sat in the front seat with the first stop being the drive-through at a Mexican restaurant where Winston allegedly reached over and grabbed the driver’s crotch.
The NFL is currently in the midst of investigating the incident.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen