Several outlets, including the Tampa Bay Times, are reporting that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston put his foot in his mouth during a pep talk at a Florida elementary school. Reports say that Jamies’ 40 minute talk, while for the most part very good, took a bit of a misstep when he decided to single out boys and girls.
During his talk to the students, Jameis 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. 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!
There is a lot wrong with that statement from Jameis. If you read it in a vacuum, the statement upholds a patriarchal view that is severely outdated and discriminatory. However, that is not what Jameis was implying. If you watch the video, Jameis is attempting to “wake” the boys who appeared to be bored during his talk.
Jameis is a lot of things. A perfect public speaker is not one of them. Maybe in time he will get better, but as for now his word choice is often poor. Not unlike many people who try and speak publicly. He unsuccessfully and poorly tried to infuse emotion and passion into some young boys he saw that were bored and uninterested. What was problematic is, the attempt fell into old stereotypes and tropes about men and women. This is something that occurs all the time. We as a society all need to do better as it relates to status quo and tropes.
You will undoubtedly see tons of pieces taking Jameis to task today and trying to make more out of this story than there is. It is worth noting that following his talk to the elementary school, Jameis did say that his choice of words was poor and he was not trying to say that little girls or women need to be silent.
See the video below.