A note to Cam Newton — simply because you make an obscene amount of money and hold the athleticism to take a team to the Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can belittle a reporter because of her gender.
Here’s what the Panthers quarterback had to say to Jourdon Rodrigue after she asked him a routine question at a press conference Wednesday.
Here’s the video of Cam Newton saying “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes” pic.twitter.com/hd9Kg4CCeu
— Carlin & Reese (@CarlinReeseWIP) October 4, 2017
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.” hmm…
It’s “funny” to see a grown man bully a reporter simply because she’s female. It’s “funny” that the face of an entire franchise can be so tone deaf.
Newton had exuded plenty of immaturity before. I don’t want to blow this conversation out of proportion. However, it is also troubling that Rodrique claims Newton felt no remorse for his comment following the press conference once she confronted him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 4, 2017
A Panthers spokesperson claimed that he had a conversation with Newton and that he “expressed regret” about his comments. Here’s what Newton said according to Rodrigue’s paper, The Charlotte Observer.
After the news conference, Rodrigue wanted to find Newton and talk about what he said. She did catch up with him briefly. The conversation, according to Rodrigue, was not taped but went something like this:
She asked the quarterback if he really didn’t think a female could understand routes.
Newton said she wasn’t really seeing specific routes when watching the game, she was just seeing if somebody was open. She argued that he didn’t know what she saw nor how hard she had studied football, and that maybe the two of them needed to have a deeper conversation.
Newton said that maybe he should have said it was funny to hear “reporters” talk about routes and that, if she actually did know about them, then she knew more than most reporters. Then he gestured toward the locker room, still filled with her colleagues.
Rodrigue ended by asking Newton – whom she had introduced herself to on the first day of her employment with The Observer in October 2016 – if he knew her name after she had covered the team almost every day for the past year.
Newton said he did not.
“Jourdan Rodrigue, Charlotte Observer,” she said, and then walked away.
Should Newton be burned at the stake for this altercation? Of course not.
It is good that he’s being held accountable. It’s 2017, not 1967.
Reporters get belittled by players and coaches all the time. It’s an intimidating setting. Journalists are expected to ask ‘important’ questions to star athletes in a room packed full of their colleagues, all while on a tight deadline. Dumb, or simply irrelevant, questions are asked all the time. What Rodrigue asked certainly wasn’t dumb. And she certainly didn’t deserve to be made the joke of the room for simply doing her job.
The sooner Newton actually apologizes the better.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.