Cam Newton apologizes for sexist comment, but some still don’t get it


Cam Newton apologizes for sexist comment, but some still don’t get it

By Ariana Portalatin

Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton recently apologized for sexist comments made to a female reporter at an Oct. 4 press conference, but even after doing so, some people still don’t get why his comments were offensive and uncalled for.

During the conference, Panthers beat reporter for The Charlotte Observer Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about the route running of a receiver, to which he responded, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement the same day that the organization didn’t support Newton’s comments; yogurt company Dannon Oikos announced they were ending their sponsorship of Newton Oct. 5 in response to his comments; and Gatorade, which Newton endorses, also released a statement condemning Newton’s remarks but did not halt their partnership. After the intense backlash from organizations and fans, Newton apologized for his remarks in an Oct. 5 video posted to his Twitter account.

Despite all the backlash, some individuals supported Newton’s comments, saying they were blown out of proportion and weren’t offensive because it was true that most women do not know much about football. Whatever way you spin it, Newton’s comments were out of line and should not have been said.

Rodrigue is a reporter specifically hired to write about football. To be surprised that she is knowledgeable about the sport is illogical because football is an integral part of her job. As with any job, you are hired with the understanding that you know what you’re doing and are able to perform well in that position. Imagine if someone made those same comments to Newton as a football player. It just doesn’t make any sense to question someone’s professional competence for no reason.

Even if Newton truly does believe women are less likely to know about football, he didn’t have to make that known, especially in front of Rodrigue’s peers and thousands of nationwide viewers. Newton simply could have answered the question and left Rodrigue’s sex out of it. His comments are especially offensive in a profession that historically has not been in favor of women: sports journalism.

Lesley Visser became the first ever female NFL beat writer in the 1970s when she was assigned by The Boston Globe to cover the New England Patriots. Throughout her career paving the way for future female sports writers, Visser experienced events similar to Rodrigue’s.

“For the 40 years that I have covered the NFL, the first 15 years were people agreeing with Cam Newton,” she said in response to Newton’s comments.

In 1978, Journalist Melissa Ludtke successfully sued Major League Baseball for her right to enter baseball locker rooms, a right that was once again successfully won in 2015 when several female sport writers were denied access to football locker rooms.

To be fair, Rodrigue was also shown to have made offensive comments of her own. She apologized Oct. 5 for racist tweets that resurfaced following Newton’s comments from 2012 and 2013, stating “There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them.” It can be said for any person: Think before you speak—or tweet. It is great that both Newton and Rodrigue saw the fault in their offensive comments, but it is important that others do as well. The fight for equality and inclusiveness is a continuous one, so it is important for everyone to recognize offensive comments and to not support them.