Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is under fire after he told a female Observer reporter it’s funny to hear a “female talk about routes,” at a press conference Wednesday.
Jourdan Rodrigue, Panthers beat reporter for the Observer, asked Newton about his thoughts on receiver Devin Funchess’ physicality while running routes.
“Does that give you a little bit of an enjoyment to see him kind of truck-sticking people out there?” Rodrigue asked Newton, to which he replied “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” before laughing and answering the question.
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Newton’s remarks were quickly condemned online for being sexist and dismissive of female sports reporters.
“What frustrates me about Cam Newton's comments: He’s not joking around with friends, he’s being condescending to a reporter doing her job,” Katherine Terrell, an ESPN reporter wrote.
The comments were further condemned by people who highlighted such comments are still made in today’s society. “It’s 2017 and Cam Newton says this: ‘It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.’, as a response to a reporter asking him a question,” columnist Becky Griffin said in a series of tweets.
Newton’s comments, and the reaction to them, also were quickly picked up by media outlets ranging from ESPN to TMZ Sports to CBS Sports.
The NFL released a statement, condemning Newton’s comments as well.
“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,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in the statement.
Some people, however, did come to Newton’s defense.
“I Donno, it sounds worse, typed in a tweet but if my wife talked about routes this would be same reaction,” one Twitter user said.
Former Atlanta Falcons’ receiver Roddy White shared Newton’s sentiments, tweeting he thought the same thing about women discussing routes at first.
“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,” White tweeted.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Rodrigue said Newton’s comments belittled her and “countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs.”
“I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments.”
LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS