In light of Jameis Winston’s history of alleged rape’s, his comments caused outrage.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback, Jameis Winston, stopped by a St. Petersburg, FL elementary school recently to give a speech to a classroom of third, fourth and fifth graders. The player’s 40-minute speech contained some oddly gendered thoughts, although the meet and greet was meant to be and heartwarming light.
Tampa Bay Times reports that Winston said “All my boys stand up, all my ladies you can sit down.” He continued on to tell the young girls to be “silent” and “polite,” while telling the boys to be “strong,” and reminding them they can do anything they set their minds to.
“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men 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!”
Several parents were visibly upset by Winston’s comments.
A speech language pathologist at the elementary school, Bonnie Volland, said that they’ve been working so hard with their students giving them hopes and dreams and helping them raise their expectations. “In the beginning, it was so good because he was talking about, ‘You can do it!’ and really giving our students a positive message,” she added
Winston’s comments felt particularly problematic due to his sexual assault accusation five years ago, as people pointed out after his speech was publicized.
Before Winston entered the NFL in 2015, he played football at Florida State University. In 2012 he was accused of raping a fellow student, Erica Kinsman. Kinsman sued Winston, in a 2015 civil complaint, for “sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape.”
Kinsman’s lawsuit claims that she met Winston on December 6, 2012 at a bar. She went back to his apartment with two of his teammates where he raped her while both of teammates watched, one of them filmed the incident.
In January 2016, Kinsman was paid a settlement of $950,000 by FSU to settle a lawsuit she filed against the university claiming they mishandled her case. However, Winston was never formally charged for the rape.
A lot people on Twitter responded negatively to Winston’s comments, with many criticizing the fact that he was even allowed to speak at an elementary school.