It was supposed to be an inspiring speech by an NFL quarterback. Instead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis “Crab Legs” Winston decided to tell children—that’s right, little boys and girls—that men are strong and women should be silent.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Winston stood before third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla., and 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!’”
Winston continued: “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.”
And here’s where Winston took the conversation off the road and into a ditch from the 1950s:
“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!”
A female student, who’s apparently smarter than Winston, turned to her teacher and said, “I’m strong, too.”
And isn’t she the real hero of this sad attempt at motivating students? Seriously, the female student is the one who not only noticed that something was wrong here but also turned to her teacher and spoke truth to power. It’s sad when an elementary school student has more smarts than the adults in the room.
Winston apologized later for his sexist remarks.
“During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some,” he told the Times.
Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.