NFL quarterback Jameis Winston was visiting Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg on Wednesday when he tried to deliver a message about strength and motivation. The only problem? He singled out only the boys, telling the girls to sit down.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” said Winston, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 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 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!”
Later, Winston tried to backtrack his comments, saying that he was trying to direct his comments specifically to one little boy and so had asked all of the boys to stand rather than singling the one boy out.
“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,” Winston told the paper. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”