Jameis Winston has been incredibly impressive on the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite his past troubles off the field. He led them to a 9-7 record last year and has really helped turn the team and his own life around. Just when everyone thought he was doing well off the field, Winston went to speak to an elementary school in Florida and he made some of the most old-fashioned gender stereotypes imaginable.
When in school at Florida State University, Winston had a lot of issues hanging over his head such as a rape allegation, yelling sexually explicit comments in front of other students on campus, and allegedly stealing crab legs from a Publix supermarket.
Since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Buccaneers in 2015, he has tried to make himself look better and clean up his act. That is likely why Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Florida, invited him to speak to kids in third through fifth grades. As reported by Tampa Bay Times, Winston’s words did not necessarily come across in the greatest of fashion.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down. But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now, a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this [in deep voice]. One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.
“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men [are] supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Obviously, this is not the best message to send to young children or anyone for that matter. His words are speaking out against females and telling them to stay seated while advising males to stand up with pride and strength.
As expected, Winston’s words did not sit well with the internet.
Dear girls (to whom @Jaboowins spoke and otherwise) and boys as well: dare to dream and to accomplish, don’t let others define or limit you.
— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) February 23, 2017
Hiring Jameis Winston to give a speech to children is like hiring Johnny Manziel to be the featured speaker at a D.A.R.E event.
— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) February 23, 2017
It took 2 years, 2 months, and 7 days post-draft for Jameis Winston to look like an idiot. Gotta hand it to him; Much longer than expected.
— A Tomlinson (@arietomlinson) February 23, 2017
Others such as Jenna Laine of ESPN did speak out in defense of Winston and said she has been covering him for two years and she doesn’t “believe his intent was to disparage women.” Others said he simply misspoke while Winston himself said he did make a poor choice of words.
ESPN reported that after the backlash started making the rounds, Jameis Winston attempted to clear things up and let the world know what he actually meant. Winston said that his words were aimed particularly at one student as he didn’t want to single him out but motivate him.
“I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention, and I didn’t want to single him out, so I asked all the boys to stand up. During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”
This was really a good thing that Winston did by going to the school and using his own time to speak to the children. Again, his speech to the kids may not have been something where he was purposely trying to put down females, but it came out no other way.
At the end of the day, no one really knows if Jameis Winston was trying to be malicious but it was already too late for the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His words to the kids at Melrose Elementary in Florida will follow him forever even if he later clarified what he meant. It’s just the way the world of sports happens to be and the way that fans take things. Even if Winston wins an NFL Championship one day, all will remember he told girls to be “silent.”
[Featured Image by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]