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NFL investigating Jameis Winston for allegedly groping an Uber driver in 2016

The league will look into the matter to determine if there was a violation of its personal conduct policy.

NFL: New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is investigating Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston over allegations that he groped a female Uber driver in 2016, according to BuzzFeed News.

The league’s lead investigator, Lisa Friel, sent a letter to the alleged victim confirming that the NFL is looking into the matter.

“The League has been informed that you may have been the victim of such a violation perpetrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Jameis Winston. The league takes allegations of this nature very seriously and has opened an investigation into this matter,” said the letter, which was obtained by BuzzFeed.

The Uber driver responded to a request for a ride in downtown Scottsdale, Ariz., on March 13, 2016. Winston was the only passenger. He sat in the front seat. When the driver took Winston through the drive-through at Los Betos Mexican Food, Winston allegedly reached over and grabbed the driver’s crotch, leaving his hand there for three to five seconds.

The driver also said that Winston “behaved poorly” from the moment he got in her car. She alleges that, among other things that she did not specify, Winston yelled homophobic slurs out the window at pedestrians.

BuzzFeed reached out to Winston’s representatives and to the Buccaneers for comment. Winston issued a statement on Friday denying the allegations.

“I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her,” the statement read. “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.”

WInston said in the statement that he denied the allegations to Uber, but confirmed that Uber suspended his account.

In fact, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby said he and another individual were passengers in the Uber ride with Winston, according to ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Darby, Winston's college teammate, also said Winston did not behave inappropriately.

Darby went on and released a statement Sunday morning, saying he needed to "come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts."

"There were three of us in the car, not just one as has been reported," Darby said. "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.”

On Sunday, November 26, Schefter reported that the NFL spoke with the Buccaneers head of security, Andres Trescastro, about how the league was going to look into the accusation against Winston. The investigation, according to Schefter, isn't expected to come to a close by the end of the season.

The driver hired attorney John Clune, the same attorney who represented the Florida State student who accused Winston of sexual assault in 2012. Clune wants the NFL to investigate Darby's comments. He said Darby should "immediately turn his phone over to the NFL so the GPS history can be forensically examined."

The Buccaneers said they are “obtaining further information.”

The driver filed a complaint with Uber shortly after the alleged incident. According to information obtained by BuzzFeed, Uber has banned Winston from its app and from using its service in the future.

Winston was accused of sexual assault while he was a student at Florida State University. He was never charged, and no consequences came from a Title IX hearing at FSU. Winston later settled a federal lawsuit his accuser filed against him over the alleged sexual assault.

He was also suspended for one game with the Seminoles for standing on a table at FSU and yelling “F--k her right in the p---y.” Last year, while speaking to a classroom full of schoolchildren, Winston told the girls that they were supposed to sit down and be silent, while the boys needed to stand up and be strong.

The woman did not go to police because she feared backlash. But Winston can still face discipline from the NFL if the league’s investigators determine these allegations are true.