‘It’s funny’

Panthers QB Cam Newton loses endorsement deal after mocking female reporter for using common football term

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. (Twitter)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton came under fire after responding to a question about a receiver’s route-running by telling Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue that “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.”

“It’s funny,” Newton repeated, smiling exaggeratedly. The remark, which drew criticisms of sexism, has cost the quarterback an endorsement deal. Newton initially declined to apologize for the comment, but by late Thursday night he said he was sorry.

The press room, according to Rodrigue’s colleague Scott Fowler, went silent after Newton’s “joke,” since it was clear that the only thing Newton found funny was that a woman thought she understood football.


Watch video of Newton’s comments below.

Catching up with Newton after the press conference, Rodrigue said that Newton refused to apologize for his comments, and instead only reiterated that he doubted she knew what a route actually was. Asked about the exchange, a representative for the Panthers claimed that Newton had “expressed regret for using those words.”

The N.F.L. issued an apology to Rodrigue through its spokesman Brian McCarthy.

“The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league,” said McCarthy. “They do not reflect the thinking of the league.” On Thursday, Newton lost an endorsement deal over the sexist remark. Dannon, the popular yogurt brand, dropped him as a spokesperson, saying in a statement that “We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton toward Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women.”

On Thursday evening, Newton issued an apology by way of a video posted on Twitter. “My word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful toward women,” Newton said in the apology, adding that he’s the father of two young girls, whom he said he encourages to do and be anything they want in life. As it turned out, Rodrigue also ended up issuing an apology on Twitter. With the spotlight on her amid the uproar, old tweets she posted four and five years ago were discovered, Yahoo Sports reported. In two of the tweets, Rodrigue lauded her father for being “racist” and in the third she used a racial slur. “I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account for 4/5 years ago,” she wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize,” she wrote. Below, watch Newton’s full apology.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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