It’s somewhat of a moot point now that Jameis Winston has been suspended, but an eyewitness to the incident that led to punishment for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback had a memory lapse.
Winston on Thursday was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the league’s violating personal conduct policy.
The NFL handed down the suspension following a lengthy investigation into allegations that Winston groped a female Uber driver in March 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Winston apologized to the Uber driver for his actions, even though he staunchly denied the accusations when they first came to light in November 2017.
Ronald Darby, a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles and former teammate of Winston at Florida State, also maintains nothing happened, releasing a statement in November that he was with the quarterback in the back seat of the car.
“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,” wrote Darby in his 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.”
However, Darby’s account was deemed inaccurate after league investigators discovered he was not in the vehicle the entire time.
Darby apparently changed his version of the story in a subsequent statement to league investigators, the attorney for the victim told ESPN.
“We understand that Ron Darby’s statement to the league was that he no longer recalled the Uber ride in question and that his text messages show that he was still outside the International club as Winston was finishing the ride,” attorney John Clune said.
Darby has not been heard from since Winston’s suspension. Neither has the third man he referenced in his initial statement — former Vanderbilt player Brandon Banks, currently imprisoned for rape.