Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made headlines with a sexist comment during a press conference on Wednesday.
Jourdan Rodrigue, a Panthers beat writer for The Charlotte Observer, asked Newton about one of his wide receivers: “Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards,” she asked. “Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him kind of truck-sticking people out there?”
Newton began smiling in the middle of Rodrigue’s question before responding.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton said, adding emphasis on the word “routes.” “Like, it’s funny.”
Rodrigue addressed Newton’s comment on Twitter:
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
She also said on Twitter that she spoke with Newton after the press conference about his comment, saying that conversation “was worse.”
I spoke with him after and it was worse. I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
On Thursday, Cam Newton issued an apology for his comments.
“After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women, and to be honest that was not my intention,” Newton said in a one minute, 48 second video he posted to his Twitter account. “And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you.”
Newton ended his video apologizing to “the women all around the world.”
“I sincerely apologize and hope that you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me,” he said.
Newton faced widespread backlash after his comments, with Dannon pulling out of an endorsement deal with Newton on Thursday.
“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,” Michael Neuwirth, a senior director of external communications for Dannon, said in a statement.
After the Newton’s initial remarks on Wednesday, Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond released a brief statement about the situation:
The Association for Women in Sports Media also issued a statement on Wednesday which called Newton’s comment “disrespectful.”
Newton has made headlines in press conferences before. In 2012, he called a female reporter “sweetheart” while discussing the Panthers’ struggles.
“The only thing I control, sweetheart, is myself. Offensively, I am the leader of this bunch and we haven’t been getting the job done,” Newton said at the time. He also garnered attention when he left his Super Bowl 50 postgame press conference early after losing to the Denver Broncos.