Cam Newton issued an apology Thursday evening, saying he takes full ownership for a sexist remark he made to a female reporter during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“After careful thought, I understand my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women, and to be honest that was not my intention,” the Carolina Panthers quarterback said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this. 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.”
— Cameron Newton (@CameronNewton) October 6, 2017
Newton’s apology comes after Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, announced it would “no longer work with him” over his degrading response to a question asked by Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue.
“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women,” Michael Neuwirth, a spokesman for Dannon, said in the statement. “It’s simply not OK to belittle anyone based on gender.”
According to multiple reports, Dannon will still honor its contract with Newton, but will pull all its advertisements featuring the NFL superstar as its pitchman. Newton replaced actor John Stamos as the company’s frontman in January 2015.
On Wednesday, Rodrigue asked Newton a fairly straightforward question about wide receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of his routes, which the quarterback appeared to find humorous.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” a smiling Newton responded. “It’s funny.”
C'mon Cam, it's 2017pic.twitter.com/rpeknn8hSL
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) October 4, 2017
Rodrigue, who covered Penn State football for the Centre Daily Times before joining the Charlotte Observer last year, issued a strong rebuke on Twitter following the exchange, writing that “I don’t think it’s “funny” to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”
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
Steve Drummond, the Panthers director of communications, claimed that Newton and Rodrigue had a conversation following the comment in which the quarterback “expressed regret” for his comment, but Rodrigue fired back that Newton did not apologize.
“I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later,” Rogrigue said. “He did not apologize for his comments.”
Newton’s comments were widely ridiculed by journalists across the gender spectrum, and garnered a strong rebuke by the league, which indicated it plans to get more involved in the situation and said in a statement “the comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.”
Suddenly thrust into the national spotlight, Rodrigue was forced to apologize on Thursday after several racially charged tweets were uncovered on her account from several years ago. In two of the tweets, she claimed she was enjoying the racist jokes being told by her father during a drive through Navajo country. In another, she used a racial epithet in a NASCAR joke.
“I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account 4/5 years ago,” Rodrigue said in a statement shared on Twitter Thursday afternoon. “There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize.”
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 5, 2017