Cam Newton made what can only be construed as a sexist remark to a female reporter during a press conference on Wednesday.
Jourdan Rodrigue, a Panthers beat reporter for The Charlotte Observer, asked Newton a perfectly reasonable question about Devin Funchess’s physical style of running routes.
Newton started chuckling to himself before she was finished with her question. He then said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
Newton then answered the question, but his comment was off-putting and offensive. Rodrigue was doing her job and asked a completely normal question, which Newton found amusing solely because it was asked by a woman. It’s not as if she’s the only person in the press pool who didn’t play football.
Rodrigue, predictably, did not find the situation funny in the slightest.
It gets worse — Rodrigue tweeted that she spoke with Newton after the press conference and insinuated that he made more offensive remarks.
Later, a Panthers spokesman issued the following statement, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: “I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.”
That directly contradicts Rodrigue’s account of what happened after the press conference, as she said in a statement (also released through Rapoport) that Newton did not apologize.
“This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers,” her statement reads. “I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other woman before me and beside me who work in similar jobs.
“I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments.”
The Association of Women in Sports Media released a statement denouncing Newton’s comment as disrespectful.
In an email to ProFootballTalk, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy strongly criticized Newton.
“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.”