What should have been a happy story about an NFL player visiting a local school turned out all wrong for Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston.
Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Winston visited an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday and spoke to a group of third- to fifth-graders.
As some of the kids began to lose interest, Winston tried to get them to be engaged. Here is what Jones reported that Winston said:
“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.
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“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. Scream it!”
Yikes. Winston told the girls that they are supposed to grow up to be silent, polite and gentle. You might think that Winston didn’t mean anything by that remark, but it’s hard to forget that Winston was accused of rape while at Florida State.
Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at the school, said that inadvertent or not, Winston’s message wasn’t lost on the girls.
“One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I’m strong, too,’ ” Volland told Jones.
The Associated Press reported that Winston said “was making an effort to interact with a young boy in the audience who didn’t appear to be paying attention. He said he didn’t want to single him out so he asked all the boys to stand.”
“During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some,” Winston told the Associated Press.