Why weren’t Jameis Winston, Ronald Darby punished for not telling the truth?

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In past cases involving allegations of player misconduct, the NFL ultimately has issued punishment in part for not telling the truth during the investigation. For example, the league fined Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre $50,000 in his final season for telling something other than the truth during his texting scandal. Three years ago, the league justified the four-game suspension of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady by accusing him of destroying his phone, presumably in an effort to conceal evidence.

Enter Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. When allegations of inappropriate conduct with (essentially, sexual assault of) an Uber driver first emerged, Winston was adamant: “A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. 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. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.”

It’s now clear that Winston was lying. It’s also clear that his former Florida State teammate (and two-time defender against supposedly false claims) Ronald Darby was telling something other than the truth when he rushed to defend his friend.

Said Darby last November: “I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening of March 13, 2016 when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona. There were three of us in the car, not just one as has been reported. 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.”

Apparently, what Darby said is just not true. Either because he wasn’t in the car the entire time Winston was in the car with the Uber driver (a fairly critical fact) or because Darby has, in the relatively short time since issuing a statement in support of Winston a relatively long time after the incident, forgotten everything.

So if Winston and Darby initially lied, why didn’t the NFL punish them for it? It’s possible that the NFL doesn’t care about lying to the public (even though the NFL should), and that neither man told anything other than the truth to investigators. If that’s the case, the NFL’s investigators continue to leave much to be desired.

In a case like this, when allegations become public and the denials become public and loud, the first order of business should be to lock in the version that was provided for P.R. purposes. Then, after gathering more evidence, the players can be re-interviewed to see whether their stories hold up under more informed questioning.

The NFL apparently didn’t do that with Winston and Darby, or the NFL did and simply doesn’t want to punish them for doing essentially what the league previously accused Favre and Brady of doing.

Even if it’s a product of the league’s new “get back to football” approach, it sets a horrible precedent and sends an awful message to any players who are accused of misconduct in the future — lie without consequence unless and until inescapably confronted with the truth, and then take the punishment that would have been levied if you’d just admitted it in the first place.

40 responses to “Why weren’t Jameis Winston, Ronald Darby punished for not telling the truth?

  1. Three years ago, the league justified the four-game suspension of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady by accusing him of destroying his phone


    Brady makes bad situation worse by admitting to destroying phone
    Posted by Mike Florio on July 28, 2015, 4:01 PM EDT

    “Moreover, the decision to destroy the phone under those circumstances confirms the stereotypical “I do what I want” attitude that a multi-million-dollar quarterback with a supermodel wife and a house with a moat would be expected to project.”

  2. Why does anyone expect to ever see consistency or competence from Roger Goodell?

    He has his job because a majority of owners believe he is doing the work that is needed to cover up for their collective greed and hubris. Period.

    Consistency and competence be damned.

  3. if they lied to the public, but not the nfl, then the nfl doesnt care. the nfl is probably glad this story is still out there to be honest. it creates confusing storylines and mashes up the truth for anyone looking for a slight reasonable doubt to defend Jameis. this is the same MO they used for ben roethlisberger, and what allows a nation of steelers fans to root for him when hes just as bad of a person with the same inclinations of entitlement to women that Jameis has.

  4. The thrust of the article is that Winston is getting a pass … AGAIN. I wonder when his next victim will appear. With the Me Two movement I suspect we’ll soon see other allegations that will further muddy the reputation of the Tampa Bay Bucs and embarrass the Glazers. When talking about Brady, he offered to give the NFL free access to all messages, call records and texts. I wonder how many of us would like all photos, browsing history, contact lists, etc. in the hands of the NFL with its notorious leaks and unfair disclosure practices. The NFL was desperately trying to avoid the laws of physics (Ideal Gas Laws) so they latched on to the destruction of the phone which is meaningless unless they wanted Brady’s private photos of Giselle.

  5. “It’s possible that the NFL doesn’t care about lying to the public”.

    It’s possible?! Lmao! It’s been evident throughout most of the NFL’s recent PR bungles the league office has no problem saying things they know to untrue.

  6. Given what a mess the NFL has made of the entire disciplinary process, they SHOULD be happy to turn this over to an independent arbitration system. But they won’t do that because Goodell has an absolute mania about power, and presumably most owners are in favor of that. So this whole clown show goes on and on, regardless of the human costs.

    For the next CBA, the NFLPA should insist on independent arbitration system for all disciplinary matters. It’s too bad that they probably won’t get enough player support to hold out for that. Nobody thinks he’ll be the one to get screwed by the Commissioner until it happens. (Yes, some guys are guilty of course, but even in those cases the League manages to screw things up one way or another.)

  7. 3 games for assaulting a female UBER driver, then lying about it. Not to mention his past indiscretions.

    Brady gets 4 games for something that probably never happened.

    Yup, seems about right…..

  8. The Favre thing still cracks me up. He sexted a female team employee and all he got was a 50k fine for not cooperating with the investigation. Oh yeah, it was a NY JETS team employee. If Romo, Brees or Brady did that they’d have been burnt at the stake.

  9. Roger Goodell hasn’t spoken a word of truth to he public in years. Why would the players think they are held to any other standard? Oh that’s right….do as I say, not as I do. $200M doesn’t buy much when it comes to leadership.

  10. As far as Darby is concerned, he likely hasn’t been suspended for two reasons.

    1. As Florio mentions, if there was a lie it was in a statement to the public and not as part of any police or NFL investigation.

    2. There is a legitimate explanation for his erroneous comments. The lawyer for the 3rd friend(currently in jail) claims that there were two separate Uber rides both with female drivers. In the first, all 3 friends were present in the car. Later in the evening, after Winston became severely intoxicated, he was put in an Uber ride by himself. Is it not possible that in his public statement Darby was referencing the first Uber ride and wasn’t aware of Winston’s other Uber ride, possibly because of his own inebriated state at the time. Now that doesn’t absolve Darby of criticism. His choice of company is questionable and he shouldn’t have rushed to make a public statement if he wasn’t aware of all the facts. Grounds for suspension, though? Not likely.

  11. There is a difference between lying to the general public and lying to investigators or police or in court. You couldn’t testify to have the stuff in your articles but the truth does not really matter until there are consequences for lying and the league has determined that applies to its investigators and less so to the police. Winston could have said nothing at all or he could have told him his version which is likely similar but not as graphic as her version.

  12. Goodell’s dad was a sitting United States Senator from the state of, did you guess it, New York! All the poor sports that poor talk about cheating start there and you that would be fair.

  13. Darby has, in the relatively short time since issuing a statement in support of Winston a relatively long time after the incident, forgotten everything.

    Because he’s a loser. Good luck getting anyone to believe anything he says now.

  14. Did you ever think it was something as simple as the NFL didn’t go very deeply into this since it didn’t involve a crime or violence? As I thought when I first saw the number of games and everything involved, it seemed more like this was more about one of their starting QBs being blacked out drunk to the point where he initially gave that ambiguous statement immediately after the incident was known of that he apologized for putting the driver in an uncomfortable situation, which he repeated again in his apology, which points to he was pretty messed up that night and that was more concerning to the NFL. This isn’t CSI. No one was tracking down Uber app information (even if it was possible, which I doubt) from 2 years ago. I doubt even the police could pull that off.

  15. Winston has been given a pass since his problems at FSU. The media has made him out to be an misunderstood angel. A little late to care now.

  16. If it’s any organization other than the Patriots, Dallas, New Orleans and a few others Goodell becomes ‘the dog that didn’t bark’. In edition to suspensions he has also stolen several 1st round draft choices.

    All while Eli screwed the fans, Peyton and his wife’s PED episode, and other teams misleading info on player injures etc. get a free pass.

    Everything seems to leak out of 345 Park Ave., except those football pressure reports the league took. Those apparently didn’t leak cause they would expose Roger for the dirtbag he is.

  17. The NFL is becoming as convoluted & corrupt as the Trump administration….. no wonder the 2 are so interlinked at this point in our history….. birds of a feather flock together!!!!

  18. As someone else mentioned, it is very possible that Darby didn’t know about Winston’s Uber ride after Darby left his company. If Winston never told him, or lied about it, Darby was telling the truth…at least as far as he knew.

  19. Michael E says:
    June 30, 2018 at 9:16 am
    haha. Brady makes bad situation worse by admitting to destroying phone
    A phone which Fraudger had no right to, and which Wells never demanded (because he can’t). But more importantly, Brady belatedly offered his phone logs (as is the standard acceptable to the NFL, eg, as in Zeke Elliott’s appeal), but “arbitrator” Fraudger refused and had the fact sealed. And the NFL already had ballboys’ & all Pats’ staff phones. And they already had all of Brady’s (freely given, not required) private emails – which the league promptly leaked to further blacken him. But you bought the lies, and lash out from time to time, because it softens your salt a little.

  20. radar8 in another article Banks clearly states that he and Darbey put Jameis in the Uber & continued their evening without him. No wiggle room there, Darbey was lying as he undoubtedly did at FSU.

  21. Roger the fraudger makes an insane amount of money because he’s willing to take the heat for the billionaire owners of the NFL teams. Most of us would not care what the public thinks of us in we were compensated to that level also. The owners are happy to have someone take the heat and the grief for what to them is just a few dollars.

  22. redlikethepig says:
    June 30, 2018 at 9:19 am
    The President has shown that telling the truth is unnecessary.


    You mean the guy who told the whopper when he said “If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance”?

    Or maybe you mean the guy that said “I never had sexual relations with that woman…Ms Lewinski”?

  23. Guys like Winston and Company never do anything wrong. Brady got suspended because Rodger the Dodger knew His people wouldn’t protest Rally and burn cars because they didn’t like a Judgement!

  24. The thing people always forget with the Brady thing is that he asked the investigators repeatedly if they wanted his phone prior to him getting rid of it. They just used it as an excuse to have a smoking gun even though they told him it was fine to get rid of it.

  25. Winston did get punished, so that’s kind of irrelevant. Given that we haven’t even seen the report of what the NFL found, there’s not even any evidence we have to say that he wasn’t lying. We only have the suspension.

    And there is no evidence that Darby lied either. At best he did not realize anything else occurred, and at worst he omitted details. If Darby thought that Winston was actually innocent, then he did not lie.

    I am confused at to why you’re suddenly not on the player’s side for this Winston thing. Do you just reserve that for Patriots players?

  26. “The thing people always forget with the Brady thing is that he asked the investigators repeatedly if they wanted his phone prior to him getting rid of it. They just used it as an excuse to have a smoking gun even though they told him it was fine to get rid of it.”


    They never asked for his phone. They asked him to turn over texts that Brady and his agent were allowed to select. Brady never offered to turn over his phone.

  27. Thank God the NFL got it right. Sexual assault, three games. Taking air out of a football, maybe, four games. If their skin colors were reversed the kneelers would be going ballistic right now.

  28. Goodell and the NFL are just about as a crooked justice system is as is Judge Judy. There isn’t any consistency, with punishment that Goodell hands down on his own. Whether it’s Brady, Elliot or any of the lesser name players. The only place you will find consistency in his judgement is that he will always be lenient/help players from the NYG and a few other choice teams. Ie. The NYG and John Marra because Marry ALWAYS supports Goodell. That is why there isn’t any punishment for cry baby Manning. That is why Elliot got 6 games, even though the NFL’s OWN investigator, a female, recommended NO suspension. It’s all BS and political. That and the cry baby players making millions that want “justice” and to be “comfortable” for the rest of their lives while only making $20 million, is why I am done watching the NFL. I love football, but done with the BS.

  29. I do not get this idea that Goodell has been “lenient” with regard to Giant players infractions. It’s possible that they took their time in cutting Brown. Were the Giants supposed to be punished for that? And Manning wasn’t convicted of any crime. The entire sports memorabilia “industry” is a scam, anyway. Your QB is down with the program, too. Save your $$, people.

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