"I think Cam made a mistake," Rivera said, per ESPN.com's David Newton. "I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said he shouldn't have said what he said. As far as I'm concerned, what I'd like to do is talk about the Detroit Lions, who we play on Sunday."
During Newton's weekly press availability Wednesday, the Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue asked him about Devin Funchess' route-running. Newton answered with "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes." GQ's Jay Willis shared transcript of the exchange:
Jay Willis @jaywillis
So Cam Newton said... this today https://t.co/k3kAZGEsOD https://t.co/dyaFqZDFFZ2017-10-4 21:15:44
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport relayed a statement from Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond, which said Newton and Rodrigue had a conversation where Newton "expressed regret for using those words." Rapoport also spoke with Rodrigue, who said Newton didn't offer an apology:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
Statement from #Panthers beat reporter @JourdanRodrigue on Cam Newton’s comments & response https://t.co/vmffxQ7Jra2017-10-4 23:34:03
The Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler reported Rodrigue approached Newton after the press conference to ask whether he believed a female reporter or fan would be unable to understand a receiver's route-running.
According to Fowler, Newton responded that Rodrigue "wasn't really seeing specific routes when watching the game, she was just seeing if somebody was open."
Newton apparently then said he should've directed his critique at reporters as a whole and not singled out Rodrigue as a woman.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy called Newton's statements "just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league," per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported Dannon has begun pulling advertisements that feature Newton as a result of the comments.