Jameis Winston sued by Uber driver over alleged groping incident

Jameis Winston is currently two weeks into a three-game suspension he received from the NFL over his alleged groping incident. (AP Photo)
Jameis Winston is currently two weeks into a three-game suspension he received from the NFL over his alleged groping incident. (AP Photo)

Already suspended by the NFL for allegedly groping an Uber driver, Jameis Winston might now be headed to court.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was sued in civil court on Tuesday by Kate, the Arizona Uber driver who alleges that Winston grabbed her between the legs at the drive-through of a Mexican restaurant, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times. The lawsuit reportedly claims both emotional distress and seeks “exemplary or punitive damages to punish and deter such conduct.”

Why the Uber driver is suing Winston now

The lawsuit comes more than two years after the incident, reportedly due to the driver’s displeasure with how Winston has conducted himself as the situation played out.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“She is unimpressed by his continued lack of honesty or awareness into his behavior,” Kate’s attorney, John Clune said. “Maybe a more direct financial penalty will get his attention. He needs to learn from this and have some genuine insight or pay the penalty.

“She knows that she might be just a speed bump for him in his football career, but she is not going to be a small one.”

Winston has not received any criminal charges over the incident, but he is currently two weeks into a three-game suspension he received from the NFL. He received that suspension after an eight-month investigation by the NFL that determined he had violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

What did Jameis Winston allegedly do?

The incident in question occurred on March 13, 2016, when Kate picked up Winston in Scottsdale, Arizona, around 2 a.m. According to a report from Buzzfeed, Winston requested they stop at a Mexican restaurant for a burrito. While they waited at the drive-through, Winston reportedly reached over and grabbed her firmly between the legs for multiple seconds, eventually pulling his hand back after she asked him what he was doing.

Kate would later file a complaint with Uber, saying Winston “is NOT safe for other drivers.” Winston’s camp initially claimed he had been in the car with Florida State teammate Ronald Darby and another acquaintance, with Darby saying that he did not see any physical contact between Winston and the driver, but that was later refuted.

Winston, who has a checkered past going back to before his NFL career, has denied all allegations. This is the second time he’s been sued by a woman for sexual assault, having previously settled a lawsuit from former Florida State student Erica Kinsman.

Winston facing awkward QB battle with Buccaneers

While the Uber driver’s lawsuit is intended to hurt Winston financially, he might already be staring down a significant consequence over his suspension from the NFL.

With Winston sitting the bench, the Buccaneers turned to journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick to fill in for the three games without their star. In two games to begin the season, Fitzpatrick has exploded for a league-best 819 passing yards and a 151.5 passer rating.

The 35-year-old Fitzpatrick has the Bucs at 2-0 and is the first player in NFL history to open a season with two games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdowns, with Winston reportedly supportive of the team’s hot start.

There are valid questions over the sustainability of Fitzpatrick’s production and how much of his success is thanks to a very strong group of receivers, but there is now a growing sentiment that Winston returning as a back-up might be what’s best for the Bucs.

More from Yahoo Sports:
Iowa State golf star found dead, man charged
Browns coach didn’t know key info about kicker
NFL Power Rankings: Rams’ big gamble is paying off
Pat Forde: 7 new college coaches who have been busts so far