Tampa Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston apologised for the actions that led to him receiving a three-game suspension, which was confirmed by the NFL on Thursday.
The suspension stems from an alleged March 2016 incident with an Uber driver in Arizona in which she accused Winston of groping her. No charges were filed.
Winston released a statement that read: "The NFL informed me today that I will be suspended for the first three games of the season.
"First and foremost, I would like to say I'm sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologise. In the past two and a half years my life has been filled with experiences, opportunities and events that have helped me grow, mature and learn, including the fact that I have eliminated alcohol from my life.
"I know I have to hold myself to a higher standard on and off the field and that I have a responsibility to my family, community, and team-mates to live above the platform with which God has blessed me.
"I apologise to my team-mates, the Buccaneers organisation and fans for letting them down and for not being able to be out there for the first three games of the season.
"Although I am disappointed in the NFL's decision, I understand the NFL's process, and I embrace this as an opportunity to take advantage of the resources available to help me achieve the goals that I have for myself.
"I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, team-mate and leader I can be.”
The Bucs' first three games, now with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to be the starter, are against the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. Winston completed 282 of 442 passes for 3,504 yards and 19 TDs with 11 interceptions in 2017 as the Bucs went 5-11.
The NFL said in a release that Winston "has advised the league office that he accepts this discipline" and will not appeal.
The Bucs released a statement that read: "All members of our organisation are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the Personal Conduct Policy of the NFL.
"We are disappointed that Jameis put himself in a position that has been found to violate the policy and accept today's decision by the Commissioner."
23. September 2018
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