After delivering a controversial speech at a St. Petersburg, Florida, elementary school Wednesday during which he said ladies are supposed to be "silent, polite and gentle," Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston explained his comments.
According to Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times, the Pro Bowler made the following distinction between the boys and girls he was addressing at Melrose Elementary:
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!
Later that day, Winston expressed regret for his word choice and said he was simply attempting to appeal to a particular child in the room: "I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn't seem to be paying attention, and I didn't want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up. During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some."
The 23-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner has quickly become an influential voice in the community due to his status as the face of the Bucs franchise.
That fact puts his comments under a microscope, especially when it comes to gender equality since he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2012 while at Florida State.
Winston was never charged with a crime, but he did settle a civil lawsuit with his accuser out of court.