ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who was accused of raping another student when he was in college, said he made a “poor word choice” in comments about women in a 40-minute talk to students at a Florida elementary school earlier this week.
When the students — third- through fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg — started getting fidgety, Winston told the boys to stand up, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston told the children. “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.”
The quarterback went on to say, “But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong.”
Several hours later, Winston was asked by reporters about the speech and reflected about what he’d said. He said he was making an effort to interact with a young boy in the audience who didn’t appear to be paying attention. He said he didn’t want to single him out so he asked all the boys to stand.
“During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some,” he said.
The newspaper reported that some adults in the room were troubled by Winston’s comments, but didn’t want to comment publicly.
Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at Melrose, said Winston’s message about children being able to accomplish anything was positive. But when he told the boys to stand up and that they are strong, some of the girls took note.
“One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, “I’m strong, too,” Vollnad told the Times.
Winston was accused of raping a student in 2012 when they were both Florida State University students. Winston has said they had consensual sex. He was not arrested. Winston and the accuser settled a civil lawsuit in December.
Who Rocked At Black Girls Rock!
1. Tatyana Ali cradles her pregnant belly.Source:Getty Images for BET 1 of 29
2. 'Survivors Remorse' star Teyonah Parris.Source:Getty Images for BET 2 of 29
3. BET CEO Debra Lee kicks it with host Tracee Ross.Source:Getty Images for BET 3 of 29
4. Rihanna stays making headlines with edgy fashion.Source:Getty Images for BET 4 of 29
5. Longtime friends Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick.Source:Getty Images for BET 5 of 29
6. Kelly Rowland and Monica slay the red carpet.Source:Getty Images for BET 6 of 29
7. Iyanla Vanzant is a staunch supporter of Black women and girls.Source:Getty Images for BET 7 of 29
8. Singer Andra Day wants Black girls to rise up into greatness.Source:Getty Images for BET 8 of 29
9. Ledisi shows off her gorgeous locs and gown.Source:Getty Images for BET 9 of 29
10. British import Corinne Bailey Rae.Source:Getty Images for BET 10 of 29
11. 'Game' star Hosea Chanchez and 'Power' star Naturi Naughton hug it out.Source:Getty Images for BET 11 of 29
12. Eva Marceille follows the jumpsuit theme of the night.Source:Getty Images for BET 12 of 29
13. Monica Brown celebrates black girls who rock with daughter Laylah.Source:Getty Images for BET 13 of 29
14. Cicely Tyson supports Black girls who rock.Source:Getty Images for BET 14 of 29
15. Shonda Rhimes talks about her success and why her honor is bigger than just herself.Source:Getty Images for BET 15 of 29
16. Rihanna accepts her award by saying she's just tried to be true to herself.Source:Getty Images for BET 16 of 29
17. Host Tracee Ellis Ross.Source:Getty Images for BET 17 of 29
18. Monica performs a single from her new release.Source:Getty Images for BET 18 of 29
19. Opal Pittman and Alicia Garza, co-founders of Black Lives Matter, accept their award.Source:Getty Images for BET 19 of 29
20. Brandy performs with a host of dancers.Source:Getty Images for BET 20 of 29
21. Marsha Ambrosius, Imani Azuri and Corinne Bailey Rae make a saaangin' trio.Source:Getty Images for BET 21 of 29
22. Tracee Ellis Ross slays in sheer black gown.Source:Getty Images for BET 22 of 29
23. Hillary Clinton came to recognize Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock!Source:Getty Images for BET 23 of 29
24. Gladys Knight says her BGR Award is the best honor she's ever received.Source:Getty Images for BET 24 of 29
25. Beverly Bond, founder of Black Girls Rock!Source:Getty Images for BET 25 of 29
26. Honoree Amandla Stenberg is happy to be a part of Black Girls Rock!Source:Getty Images for BET 26 of 29
27. Danai Gurira accepts her award in a fabulous jumpsuit.Source:Getty Images for BET 27 of 29
28. Jazmine Sullivan sings 'Masterpiece' from her 'Reality Show' recording.Source:Getty Images for BET 28 of 29
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(Photo Source: AP)