Jameis Winston has led a pretty low-key life since he got to the NFL. He's played football. Tried to make his PR turn into fun-loving, leader quarterback. The Buccaneers aren't miserable anymore, either. But there are still moments now and then where he does some pretty stupid things.
Winston spoke at an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida, Wednesday for about 40 minutes and addressed an assembly of third-through-fifth-graders. At one point, he went into a call-and-response segment.
The Tampa Bay Times has the account (and video) of where the community outreach event went wrong:
"All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down," Winston said. "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!"
This is obviously gendered and wrong. A local hero comes in and spouts off some sexist B.S. It's difficult to even come up with an excuse for it. Especially with a not-so-distant past like Winston's. But he tried.
Winston later said he saw a young boy in the audience who wasn't paying attention and wanted to get him into his speech without singling him out. So he asked all the boys to stand up and one thing led to another and this led to a dumb stereotype being brought up as a lesson for young kids.
"I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some," Winston said.
Winston, of course, has had issues with women in the past. He was accused of rape while at Florida State. He was never charged but he settled a federal civil suit by the accused women in December. Florida State also agreed to pay the woman $950,000 to settle a Title IX complaint.
He was also suspended by Florida State for a game after he was yelling some vulgar and messed up stuff in the student union. Which was after he got caught stealing crab legs from a supermarket.
All of which is not to dredge up Winston's past but to give context to this moment. Winston messed up. His history only makes this look worse and makes us look at it through a different lens. No one should tell young girls that they are supposed to grow up into silent, gentle women whose place is sitting next to their man. That's a bunch of crap. And if Jameis Winston doesn't know that by now, then what's he doing speaking to elementary school kids?