Target: Jameis Winston, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Goal: Issue a public apology for telling young girls that they should be silent and polite.
A group of young children’s meet and greet with NFL player Jameis Winston went terribly awry when the player made inappropriate, sexist comments. Winston told the boys in the classroom to stand up while the girls remained seated before going on to say that boys are supposed to be “strong” and girls are supposed to be “silent, polite, [and] gentle.” He also told the boys to repeat the mantra “I can do anything I put my mind to” while the girls remained excluded.
Whether or not Winston intended to perpetuate sexism, that’s exactly what he accomplished by reinforcing tired gender roles that encourage men to be aggressive and women to be passive. His statements are all the more troubling in light of his history of alleged rape. While Winston has admitted to using “poor word choice” during the speech, he has not formally apologized. The young, impressionable girls in that classroom deserve to hear him acknowledge that what he said was wrong, and that girls, too, can do anything they put their minds to. Demand an apology from Winston by signing below.
Dear Mr. Winston,
The comments you made at a St. Petersburg elementary school earlier this week were far worse than a matter of “poor word choice.” When a young, impressionable girl hears that she is supposed to be “silent” and “polite,” it can have a profoundly negative impact on her self-esteem and confidence.
That is why I must urge you to issue a public apology to these students and their parents. The girls in that classroom need to hear that they are just as strong and capable as their male classmates.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Keith Allison