Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has apologized Thursday after responding to a question from a female sports reporter with a sexist comment.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Newton said his "word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women" and apologized for the remark.
On Wednesday, Charlotte Observer Panthers beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue attended Cam Netwon’s weekly press conference, as she does every week, and asked the Panthers quarterback a legitimate question about his receiver’s routes.
Instead of answering the question, Newton put Rodrigue on the spot simply for being a woman who was doing her job as a sports journalist.
Cam makes it really hard for people to root for him pic.twitter.com/uF0mGdL9Ua— Jasmine (@JasmineLWatkins) October 4, 2017
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. Like, it’s funny.”
Newton smirked as Rodrigue asked the completely legitimate question before making the sexist remark, which was met with awkward silence in the press area.
Rodrigue responded to the comment with a tweet after the press conference.
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 added that she confronted Newton in person about the sexist and uncalled-for commentary, and according to Rodrigue, Newton’s response was even 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
The Panthers released a statement after the press conference.
“I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam 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.”
It’s important to note that the team’s statement is vastly different from Rodrigue’s account of the post-conference conversation. She said Newton’s second comments were worse.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy also issued a statement to USA TODAY Sports:
“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.”