Cam Newton has lead the Carolina Panthers to a 3-1 record, a so-far impressive turnaround from their lackluster 2016 season. Things were going well for the quarterback until last night.
During a news conference in Charlotte yesterday, Jourdan Rodrigue, a female beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, asked Newton about the physicality of wide receiver Devin Funchess and if Newton got enjoyment out of watching him run such physical routes. Newton proceeded to put his foot in his mouth, responding, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like — it’s funny.”
This sexist comment did not go over well with the reporter, or the public. She took to Twitter later that day to respond to the incident:
Some people challenged her on Twitter, asking why she didn’t confront Newton about his comments, to which she responded:
Panthers director of communications Steven Drummond said in a statement that he spoke with Newton and Rodrigue “and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.” (ESPN).
Rodrigue contradicted this statement, saying Newton did not apologize: “This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs,” Rodrigue said. “I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments.” (ESPN)
The NFL also issued a statement saying “the comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.” League spokesman Joe Lockhart said the NFL will further investigate this incident.
Not only is the league firing back, Dannon, who has a sponsorship deal with Newton, said they would no longer be working with him. The statement read “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.” (ESPN)
The Association for Women in Sports Media said this about Newton’s response:
Cam Newton has yet to respond to these statements, but he needs to. Sexism has no place in out society or in the workplace. Rodrigue was simply doing her job, and doing it well. Newton completely crossed the line, and the repercussions are starting to trickle in. What do you guys think? Will he lose more endorsements? Should he be suspended? Is his apology going to come too little to late? Stay involved in the conversation by commenting on this blog and following me on Twitter and Instagram @beauty_cleats9 .
To watch the clip of Cam’s press conference, check out the pinned post on my Facebook page via ESPN.