ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is being criticized after comments he made to students at Melrose Elementary School on Wednesday.
The Buccaneers said via Twitter that Winston visited the school to “deliver a message of inspiration and self-confidence.”
Winston had the children repeat inspirational words, what he calls his “third rule of life,” “I can do anything I put my mind to!”
In the video obtained by News Channel 8 from Pinellas Schools, Winston says he sees some children slumping in their chairs. He then asks the boys in the room to stand up.
“All my boys stand up. The ladies, the ladies sit down, but all my boys, stand up, stand up. We strong, right?”
Winston then urges the boys to repeat “I can do anything I put my mind to!”
“But, the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle, but my men!” Winston said. “My men now, they’re supposed to be strong, okay?”
Sports fans took social media to vent their frustration over the comments.
“Seems to me that if anyone should be quiet, it’s Jameis Winston” said user @Achloryn.
Others took to the quarterback’s defense.
“Jameis Winston does more good for communities every month than many of you will do in a lifetime… Chill out, he didn’t mean it like that,” said user @GregoryGrind.
Winston released the following statement:
“I was excited to spend the afternoon with the children and inspire them to succeed in school, dream big and achieve anything they put their minds to. 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. I love interacting with kids of all ages and will continue trying to find ways to make a positive impact in their lives.”
Pinellas County Schools also released a statement:
“We understand why the remarks caused concern, and we appreciate Mr. Winston’s follow up comments apologizing for the poor choice of words in that moment of his presentation.”
The Buccaneers have not released a statement regarding the incident.
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