Jameis Winston: I used 'poor word choice' when I told girls 'to be silent'

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s talk with elementary school students on Wednesday didn’t go as planned. What started as a speech about Winston’s three life rules -- God, school, and the idea that you can do anything you put your mind to -- turned into Winston telling the third, fourth, and fifth-grade girls in the audience that they’re “supposed to be silent” as “ladies.”

Several hours later, Winston chalked up his remarks to “poor word choice.”

“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,” Winston said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”

Here’s what happened, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Tom Jones, who also noted in his story that Winston “delivered a good message” for 40 minutes:

“We’ve been working so hard with our students giving them hopes and dreams and helping them raise their expectations,’’ said Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at Melrose. “In the beginning, it was so good because he was talking about, ‘You can do it!’ and really giving our students a positive message.”

Things went wrong when a few students appeared to be bored.

“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!”

Volland told the newspaper, “One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I’m strong too.”

You can watch a portion of Winston’s speech below:

Winston’s poor choice of words comes just two months after he reportedly reached a compromise with Erica Kinsman, who filed a lawsuit against Winston in 2015 for an alleged sexual assault when he attended Florida State in 2012. He subsequently filed a counterclaim alleging defamation. Winston, who claimed the two engaged in consensual sex, was not charged. 

He went on to become the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and has spent the past two seasons quarterbacking the Buccaneers.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories