Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston apologized for “using poor word choice” while speaking to a Florida elementary school about gender roles Wednesday.
Winston's speech to the Melrose Elementary third- through fifth graders started out fine when he told the students they should live by three rules – God, school and the idea that “I can do anything I put my mind to." But it went south when a few students appeared to be bored with his speech, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
"All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down," Winston 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!"
Winston’s attempt at an uplifting and inspirational speech was overshadowed by the comments he made to the girls.
The former Florida State standout attempted to explain his comments Thursday.
“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,” he said. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”
Winston, 23, has been working on repairing his image after being accused of sexual assault while at Florida State.
He was not charged in the incident, but settled a lawsuit filed by the accuser and Florida State paid her $950,000 as part of another lawsuit.