Winston investigation continues to drag on
“The decision will come sooner rather than later. I will predict it will come before the start of training camp.” Those were the words of JoeBucsFan writer and longtime Buccaneers reporter Ira Kaufman on the Rock Riley Show Friday in response to a question about the investigation into quarterback Jameis Winston.
The investigation, which began last year, stems from a 2016 incident where Winston was alleged to have groped an Uber driver. No charges were filed and no legal action was taken, but Winston was banned from the ridesharing service as a result of the incident. News first broke about this during the 2017 NFL season, leading to an NFL investigation that continues.
It is still unclear whether Winston will be suspended at all, but the NFL has set a precedent for issuing such suspensions after related investigations. Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six weeks last season following a similar investigation into allegations against him. The power of the NFL’s front office to do this has been the subject of considerable controversy, but it has been backed up in courts and is firmly established now.
A decision prior to training camp would, at the very least, allow the Buccaneers to adjust with the knowledge that their starting quarterback will or will not miss games and how many games a suspension would be. It would also, critically, give both Winston and the league time to deal with any appeals that would ensue as a result of any suspension. That makes it more likely that a final decision—one that has gone through the appeal process and any court proceedings that may come up—will be locked in before the first week of the NFL season.
Until the NFL concludes the investigation, both the Buccaneers and their fans are left waiting to find out what the results will be and how it will impact the Bucs’ 2018 season.