Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been accused of sexism after comments made to Panthers beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue.
Rodrigue asked Newton a question about the routes of one of his receivers following a practice session, to which Newton initially replied: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes, like, it’s funny.”
A route is a pattern of movement that a receiver will use to get on the end of a pass.
Newton went on to answer the question before the press conference moved on, but Rodrigue and others were clearly not happy with the 28-year-old’s reaction.
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
And Rodrigue clarified that she had spoken to Newton afterwards, tweeting: “I spoke with him after and it 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
According to a statement from Rodrigue issued to NFL Network Insider’s Ian Rapoport, Newton did not apologise.
Many took issue with Newton’s comments, which represent a frustrating element of the wider world of sports.
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 (@Kat_Terrell) October 4, 2017
Unfortunately, Cam Newton's sexism happens more than people think. We get this from athletes, coaches, colleague, readers, viewers...— Jenny Dial Creech (@jennydialcreech) October 4, 2017
Shame on Cam Newton. And it's a crying shame the sexism that women have to fight through overt and otherwise in this industry.— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoPHL) October 4, 2017
Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond issued a statement as well, which said that Newton had “expressed regret for using those words”.
The NFL’s statement on the subject read: “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.”