Cam Newton Says It's 'Funny' Hearing Female Reporter 'Talk About Routes'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 1: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appeared to make a sexist comment during Wednesday's press conference.

Newton chuckled and said it was funny to hear Jourdan Rodrigue, a female reporter for the Charlotte Observer, ask him about passing routes. Bridget Condon of ABC 11 in Durham, North Carolina, shared a clip of Newton's reaction to the question:

Bridget Condon @BridgetABC11

Wondering if anyone can explain to me what is so funny about a “#female talking about routes”🤔🤔🤔 #Panthers #CamNewton #Equality ?! #NFL https://t.co/D7lqMmn1KG

GQ's Jay Willis provided the transcript of Rodrigue's question:

Jay Willis @jaywillis

So Cam Newton said... this today https://t.co/k3kAZGEsOD https://t.co/dyaFqZDFFZ

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport shared a statement from Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond: "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."

Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer passed along details of the second encounter:

"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."

Rapoport also shared a statement from Rodrigue:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Statement from #Panthers beat reporter @JourdanRodrigue on Cam Newton’s comments & response https://t.co/vmffxQ7Jra

Rodrigue responded to Newton's comments on Twitter:

Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue

I don't think it's "funny" to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job.

Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue

@SmokeysHowl @jjones9 I spoke with him after and it was worse. I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.

The Association of Women in Sports Media also released a statement condemning Newton's remarks:

AWSM @AWSM_SportMedia

Statement from AWSM. https://t.co/P1fVi3KRsz

The Pro Football Writers Association released a statement on the comments as well:

Pro Football Weekly @PFWeekly

.@PFWAwriters statement on @Panthers QB @CameronNewton https://t.co/0GTcX2xDgn

USA Today's Lindsay Jones underscored why Newton was so far off the mark:

Lindsay Jones @bylindsayhjones

Oh come on. Welcome to 2017 Cam Newton, women have been covering sports for decades. @JourdanRodrigue deserves better than that. https://t.co/ofeu23Xq6J

While the NFL is a male-dominated league in terms of those who run teams and work on coaching staffs, that couldn't be further from the truth in terms of NFL fans, with women making up 45 percent of those who watch the game.

The idea that a woman, especially an NFL beat writer, doesn't understand the nuances of the game should be a relic of the past.