Jameis Winston, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recently stopped by a St. Petersburg, FL elementary school to give a speech to a classroom of third, fourth and fifth graders. While the meet and greet was undoubtedly meant to be light and heartwarming, Winston’s 40-minute speech included some oddly gendered sentiments.
“All my boys stand up, all my ladies you can sit down,” the 23-year-old football player told the room of students and parents this past Wednesday, Tampa Bay Times reports.
He proceeded to tell the young girls to be “silent” and “polite,” while telling the boys to be “strong,” and reminding them they can do anything they set their minds to:
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. 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 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!
According to Tampa Bay Times, many of the parents were visibly upset by Winston’s comments.
“We’ve been working so hard with our students giving them hopes and dreams and helping them raise their expectations,’” Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at the elementary school, told Tampa Bay Times. “In the beginning, it was so good because he was talking about, ‘You can do it!’ and really giving our students a positive message.”