Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has issued an apology to the Uber driver who accused him of groping her. But the carefully worded apology avoids explaining exactly what he’s apologizing for.
That’s all by design, according to NFL Network, which reports that Winston and the NFL had a negotiated settlement that saw Winston accept his three-game suspension without appealing, and offer an apology to the woman, but not actually admit any guilt.
And that raises the obvious question: How sincere can an apology really be if it’s part of a negotiated settlement that includes no admission that he actually did what he’s apologizing for?
When Winston was first accused publicly, he left absolutely no doubt about his stance, releasing a statement that said, “The accusation is false.” Does Winston stand by that statement? Does he now admit that he groped the woman? Is his statement that he has stopped drinking alcohol intended to suggest that he was drunk and doesn’t remember the incident?
We don’t know, because Winston and the NFL settled on a carefully crafted statement. The NFL is helping Winston cover up exactly what he did by refusing to release his suspension letter, and Winston isn’t saying. Winston has apologized. Even if it’s fair to question the sincerity of an apology that refuses to take responsibility for one’s actions.