UPDATE: Cam Newton has apologized for his sexist remarks to Charlotte Observer‘s Panthers beat writer, Jourdan Rodrigue, for his comments where he said he found it “funny” that a female would “talk about routes.”
The quarterback took to Twitter on Thursday to post a video apology. “After careful thought I understand that my word choice was extremely disrespectful and degrading to women. And to be honest, that was not my intentions,” he said in the clip. “And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you.” He added that what he said was “extremely unacceptable” and mentioned that he has two young daughters that he encourages to do and be what they want to be. He acknowledged that he has lost sponsors as well as fans. “I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this.”
“Don’t be like me, be better than me,” he said. He then addressed reporters, journalists, moms, daughters, sisters and women around the world. “I sincerely apologize and hope that you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me,” he concluded.
It had been a strong start to Cam Newton’s season, up until Wednesday. The Carolina Panthers quarterback pushed his team to a 3-1 start that included last week’s surprising upset of the New England Patriots. But then Wednesday happened, and all of a sudden, all his on-field prowess seemed fairly moot.
The Charlotte Observer‘s Panthers beat writer, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked a reasonable question about the route running of Devin Funchess. Newton responded: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” with a grin plastered to his face. He then paused, still smiling, “Like, it’s funny.”
Here’s the video of Cam Newton saying “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes” pic.twitter.com/hd9Kg4CCeu
— Carlin & Reese (@CarlinReeseWIP) October 4, 2017
Newton then would answer the question. And once the press conference ended, Rodrigue said she sought Newton out for explanation, at which point he never apologized.
According to a column in the Charlotte Observer, he told her she didn’t understand the specifics of the routes. When she said that he had no idea what she knew, Newton responded by saying that, if she did know route specifics, he conceded that maybe he should had said it’s funny to hear “reporters” talk about routes.
But that’s not what he said with the cameras rolling. And as of Thursday morning, Newton has yet to make any sort of comment or apology for comments that have now circulated the sports world like wildfire. Today, the yogurt brand Dannon dropped Newton due to the remarks, stating:
“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women. “It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It’s simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”
I don’t think it’s “funny” to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
Ladies – do not feel forced into defending our sports knowledge. This is on Cam Newton – NOT ON US. Unacceptable in 2017 to go back to this
— Laura Okmin (@LauraOkmin) October 4, 2017
A Panthers spokesman said that Newton and Rodrigue had a conversation where “he expressed regret for those words.” Though, Rodrigue says there was no direct apology.
An NFL spokesman told the New York Times: “The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.”
Not everyone was ready to burn Newton for his comments, though. Some came to his defense, including former All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White.
Why is people making a fuss about cam and the woman reporter he laughed than answered her question but it was funny first time for me to
— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) October 4, 2017
Newton is no stranger to press conference controversy. Following a Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos, Newton mumbled his way through a brief and rather pointless presser that led many to question is maturity.
It’s safe to say that his comments on Wednesday afternoon, and his subsequent reaction, help answer that question.