*Deep Breath* My first post on a new site, and I’m gonna start off a little controversial. (Hi Sports X Media! Nice to meetcha!) Normally, I try to stay away from controversial topics because I’m trying to put my best foot forward, so I don’t typically touch on them. I really try to be objective when I write and I try to take my own personal feelings out of it. And most of the time I’m able to do that. However, today, I’m going to try something a little different. And we’ll see how it goes.
Last Wednesday, as you all are now aware, Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s Quarterback Jameis Winston spoke to a group of elementary school students. No big deal. It’s the offseason, the kids love to see famous athletes all the time. Jameis has been through a lot and should have some good insight for these kiddos. Good intention at the time, right? Well…we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and maybe this was one of them. Jameis called out the boys, told them to stand up and essentially told them (Like he told his FSU team in 2013) “We’re strong, right? You’re strong! Boys aren’t supposed to be soft spoken…One day you’ll have a deep voice!” He then went on to tell the girls they they are supposed to be “silent, polite, and gentle” and that men can do “Anything they put their mind to.” Let’s stop the tape right there.
I’m the mother of 3 girls. Three amazing, potential-filled girls full of sass, smarts, and awesomeness. So, naturally, when I saw what he said, I shook my head, put it down, then sighed. And then I thought about it. And I didn’t know how to feel. I had some mixed emotions, and I think I finally came to a conclusion. A friend posted on Facebook that maybe he meant well. A couple of people responded, and asked why would he even be talking to elementary school kids? Who thought it was a good idea?? And rather then get into a back and forth on Facebook, I decided I’d write out how I felt.
I don’t think he meant to come off as badly as he sounded. I really don’t. Yes, he did some horrible stuff back in college. FSU was even more wrong for covering it up. His presser when he was cleared of all charges was ridiculous. It seemed to be more of a victory party, and honestly, I don’t think he realized the seriousness of what was going on. He’s 23 years old now, and obviously was younger then. Sounds weird, I know, however, the part of the human brain that processes rational thought doesn’t fully develop until around the age of 25. Again, not as an excuse, but possibly a reason. Why was he speaking to a group of elementary students? Because what principal wouldn’t want to give their students a really cool surprise of their town’s NFL Quarterback? If he didn’t say something asinine like that, would we be talking about it? Does he have a sordid past? Yup!! Has he learned from it and pretty much stayed out of trouble since he’s been in the NFL? Has he been a good leader for the team, done good things for the community? He sure has. I mean, Ray Lewis goes around giving speeches to people, and was charged with murder, right??
But I’m a mother to girls, how can I be OK with this? I’m sort of OK with this, because I sort of understand where he’s coming from. Follow me here……He got baptized and accepted Christ last year along with his girlfriend (unsure if she still is his girlfriend or not). And depending on his upbringing, and how his church functions, this could very well be a learned behavior. I’m sure you all know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is active in some form of religion and had a religious upbringing. And depending on their devoutness, they feel as though the man is the head of the household (and needs to have a deep voice), and that the woman is to submit to her husband as she would to Christ. That’s how some people just are. And who am I to say that they are wrong? While it’s not how I operate, but if it works for them, and they’re happy with that, then who am I to stop them? Maybe that’s just how he feels.
Do I want my girls to get the message that all they need to do in life is be silent, polite and gentle? Nope, not at all. Especially because one (as of now) wants to be a surgeon, and doing those things ain’t gonna get you too far. But that’s when I sit down and tell them, that it IS OK for you to stand up and do what is right, and speak up! Loudly! Make your voice heard! As a woman, you’re going to be second guessed all the time, just for being a woman. And also as a woman, you are STRONG and it’s important to show people that you are strong, and you’re a force to be reckoned with.
Well, elementary school kids can’t figure out what he means! They’ll take what he said at face value!!! Right, but as a parent, it’s our job to help our kids understand what he meant, and that athletes are human, and they make mistakes, and sometimes say some pretty silly things. If, as a parent you didn’t get all that I got out of it, the best thing to do is to tell your child, male or female that they can do anything that they put their mind to. Especially in the times that we find ourselves in now, you need to speak up. With a soft voice, deep voice, high pitched squeeky voice, whatever, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you do speak up and that if you have a goal, go get it! Don’t let this one person (yes they are famous and do some pretty awesome things) deter you from doing what you want to do in life. If anything let this blunder be an example for you. You can mess up, own it, learn from it, and become a better person for it.
*Exhale* There! I got it off of my chest. I hope you guys see where I’m coming from. If not, please, feel free tell me all about your thoughts on Twitter @Mom23RN