ESPN - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston says he made a "poor word choice" in making stereotypical gender comments during a speech at an elementary school on Wednesday.
While speaking to third- through fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Florida, Winston called on the male students to stand up while directing the female students to stay seated.
"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 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."
Jameis Winston is a man who can't outrun his notoriety. The punchlines surrounding a mature, composed, and wise beyond his years quarterback are all stemming from his time in college where he made some highly questionable decisions. This, the incident involving his appearance at an elementary school, goes to show that although he made a mistake, he is not being given the benefit of the doubt.
Does he regret how he worded it? Sure. It was tone-deaf and inappropriate for the current cultural climate, but it was a mistake stemming from him going beyond a 'necessary contractual appearance' at an elementary school and wanting to make a bombastic speech about the future of the boys in the room. It was a mistake. Absolutely. But by no means was it an indication of an immature man. Give him the pass on this, accept the apology pretty please, and let's begin to see Jameis as what he is now, not what he once was.