LBS- Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times was in attendance Wednesday when Winston spoke for 40 minutes to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Things started out great, with Winston encouraging the children to be positive, work hard in school and chase their dreams. But when Winston decided to give a short pep talk to only the young boys in the room, his message quickly became cringe-worthy.
Winston noticed that a few male students in the room looked bored, so he tried to capture their attention.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” he 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!”
Okay, I have a few questions. What was the purpose of this appearance? Was there a general theme to this speaking engagement? If you have been in an argument with a wife or girlfriend then you know that you've already stepped in the proverbial shit if you demand that one female sits down - never mind a classroom full of them. Anyone that has ever let the term "relax" slip from their lips in the general direction of a woman knows that verbally reprimanding the fairer sex as you generalize them as submissive underlings is going to cause you more of a headache than asking them to decide what they want for dinner. The problem here is that - unless he was trying to rally the entirety of an elementary school to get some 3rd down stops and fight for the tough yards - Jameis Winston was probably the wrong person for this job.
What we just learned probably should have been something we already knew, but it's a lesson nonetheless. Being able to get college/professional athletes' adrenaline pumping in the locker room is slightly different than keeping the attention of a bunch of pre-teens. Success is in one does not equal success in the other. Words spoken to football players in the heat of battle have to be chosen far less carefully than words spoken to the inquiring, sponge-like minds of our youth. I don't think Jameis Winston meant to be as sexist as his PG-version of "ladies should only speak when spoken to" sounded, but if you give a guy who has proven he has the gift of gab and no filter a microphone then you are complicit in what comes next.
Sure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback could probably benefit from some sensitivity training and a seminar on equal rights, but was it the following video of Jameis Winston ranting about getting in asses that made people think that he wouldn't? As a highly paid public figure with a questionable past he needs to do a better job of not reciting antiquated gender roles from the 60's, but let's not act like simplistic babble delivered in an aggressively motivational tone isn't his calling card...
Personally, I think he was misquoted. Everyone knows that Jameis pronounces "strong" with a 'K'...