Jameis Winston was giving back to his community when he addressed students at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla., Wednesday.
Buccaneers quarterback, Jameis Winston, made a major misstep when he visited a Florida elementary school and singled out the “strong” boys who “can do anything” while telling the girls to “sit down … be silent, polite, gentle.”
The off-season gaffe occurred Wednesday at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg Florida where Winston, 23, was addressing a group of third- through fifth-graders.
The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner was there to share his three tenets in life: God, school and the importance of having a can-do attitude.
“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.
The regrettable comments were made during the 40-minute session with the youngsters as he tried to deliver a positive can-do message as motivation.
Some commentators see the unfortunate line as damaging and hurtful, even if the intentions might not have been malicious. Awkward to say the least, especially as one little girl picked on the nuance and turning to one of her teachers said: ‘I’m strong too”, the paper reported.
Given Winston’s history, he was accused of rape among other misdemeanors, while at FSU, but never actually being charged with a crime and ultimately forcing FSU into settling a civil suit for $950, 000 with accuser Erica Kinsman, his choice of comments was distinctly poor to say the least. Insinuating that girls are somehow less important than boys or lack motivation won’t help his ongoing efforts to rehabilitate his tarnished image.
The $950,000 settlement, according to Kinsman’s attorneys, was the largest payoff in history to a single plaintiff to settle a Title IX claim related to a sexual assault.
later Wednesday, Winston tried to backpedal later in the day when the insensitive undertones of his remarks were brought to his attention. He had initially delivered his “I can do anything” message to the entire group of grade school students, but later singled out the boys because he felt that they were not participating and repeating the mantra back at him.
Jameis Winston, the second year quarterback for Tampa Bay Buccaneers led Tampa to a winning season
Winston [Right] leaving his student conduct code hearing early Dec. 2014, in Tallahassee, Florida. He was cleared, but his accuser Erica Kinsman, subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against FSU and prevailed