Apparently the fallout from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s comments at a Florida elementary school were so severe that his head coach has now had to disavow them.
Last week, while speaking to elementary school children, in a speech designed to motivate, Winston addressed the boys and girls in the class, all of whom appeared to be African-American, using the gender norms and stereotypes accepted by nearly all people.
All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down. 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 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!
For this great crime, Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter felt the need to apologize for Winston. While speaking at the NFL scouting combine, Koetter said, “Anyone who knows Jameis well knows that when he gets up in the morning, he wants to do good.
“Jameis made a mistake. He’s 23 years old and like anyone on that platform, when you have microphones in front of you to talk to a group of people, you’re going to make mistakes from time to time. There have been other ones in the sports world very recently. Jameis continues to exceed expectations as the face as the face of our franchise every single day. We couldn’t be happier with Jameis. It was an unfortunate situation, but he owned up to it and moved forward.”
An “unfortunate situation?” Jameis wants to do good, but “he’s only 23 years old,” so “he’s going to make mistakes from time to time?” This statement reads eerily similar to the same statement coaches give when their players tear up nightclubs, get busted doing drugs, or beat their wives.
How does that statement match what Winston actually said? Winston told the black boys in the room to be strong, and that they could do whatever they set their mind to. In 2015, 66% of black or African-American families, lived in single-parent households, the overwhelming majority of those households headed up by women.
That message of strength, mental and physical, is an especially powerful and important message for young black boys. And, no one should apologize for that.
However, Winston’s greatest sin here, clearly, was reminding women of the societal/cultural expectation that they be “silent, polite, gentle,” since that expectation conflicts directly with the feminist demand that women be “loud, confrontational, and opinionated.”
Which is also sad since women, and men, used to understand that a woman’s true power came from never having to say anything. The ability to change a man’s entire day with a look sufficed, eliminating the need to get a tattoo, motorcycle, and nose ring.
Next time Dirk Koetter wants to apologize for someone, maybe he should apologize for them.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn