ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (KDKA) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston made some awkward comments while giving a pep talk to a group of elementary school students.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the football star told kids at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg that “strong” boys “can do anything,” but asked the girls to “sit down,” and told them they “should be silent.”
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “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 when he transitioned to advice for the young girls, he said: “But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.”
While the school principal said it was an overall good day, several people were put off by the message.
A speech language pathologist who was in the room during the speech said one of the little girls turned to her and said, “I’m strong too.”
Winston later tried to give some explanation for his somewhat strange comments, saying that he was attempting to interact with one of the boys who didn’t seem to be paying attention.
“I didn’t want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up,” Winston said. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”
The quarterback was accused of sexual assault while at Florida State, but was not charged with a crime and settled a civil suit with his accuser.