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Cam Newton Apologizes a Day after Making a Sexist Comment Toward a Female Reporter

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Cam Newton, a Carolina Panthers football player, found himself in trouble Wednesday after making a sexist comment toward a female reporter in a news conference.  During the conference, reporter Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer asked Newton about “wide receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of routes” and if he got enjoyment out of that, according to an ESPN article.

Before answering the question, Newton laughed and then responded by saying:

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes, like, it’s funny.”


Newton’s response was both degrading and uncalled for and it makes the implication that women don’t, and can’t, understand football because of their gender.  Rodrigue took to Twitter to talk about the incident saying:

And when Twitter users asked if Newton had been confronted, Rodrigue tweeted back:

A summary of their conversation after the news conference can be read here

While the Panthers director of communications Steven Drummond said Newton had “expressed regret” for his words in their conversation, Rodrigue said he did not apologize.

For me, the most surprising part of this story isn’t that a sexist comment was made against a female sports reporter, because this unfortunately happens to many women in the field.  What really concerns me is how long it took for Newton to issue an apology.  The comment was made Wednesday afternoon and it wasn’t until Thursday evening that he addressed the issue and admitted his comment was inappropriate. 

In a SportsCenter interview, ESPN College Football Contributor Paul Finebaum, who has been covering Newton for years, expressed his dismay at what he had said and talked about how disappointed he was in how it was handled.

“What really concerns me is the tone deafness of this franchise,” he said.  “This franchise has never been very good.  The communications department has been among the worst in the NFL.”

To see more of his interview, see the video at the top of the aforementioned ESPN article.

Newton finally apologized in a video posted to his Twitter page

In the video, he apologizes for what he said, calling his actions “extremely unacceptable” and “degrading and disrespectful to women.”  He directly apologized to all women and also cautioned young people, saying:

“And to the young people who see this, I hope you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me; be better than me.”

In his apology, Newton also said: “The fact that during this whole process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I’ve learned that the joke is really on me.”  On Thursday, Dannon, the yogurt company that Newton has been appearing in ads for since 2015, announced that they cut ties with him after the comment he made.  There’s no word yet if Newton’s other sponsors will also be cutting ties.

In the video, Newton talked about his two daughters and said “at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.” 

That’s exactly the mentality that he, and anyone for that matter, should always have.  It’s no secret that football is a male-dominated sport, but women are more than capable of understanding and covering the game and they should be just as welcome in the industry as any man is.  Gender is not an indicator of a person’s ability and it is especially not a reason to shame or demean someone.

Shout-out to all the women in sports reporting: keep doing what you’re doing and never let anyone make you feel as though you don’t belong or don’t deserve the positions you’ve worked hard for.  Stay fearless and unapologetic: you have every right to be where you are.


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Amanda is a senior Journalism and Communication double-major with a minor in English. Aside from writing, she loves reading, spending time with family and friends, and making videos. If you can’t find her, she’s probably at the beach. Someday, she hopes to be a director and writer for TV/Film and spend all of her free time traveling. But for now, you can read her articles on Her Campus UConn.