The unfortunate part about this is that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s comments at a news conference Wednesday might not be the worst thing he said.
Jourdan Rodrigue, Panthers beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, asked Newton about Carolina receiver Devin Funchess embracing the routes he runs.
Newton’s started his answered by saying: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes, like ... it’s funny.”
After that peculiar response, Newton talked more about Funchess. But it’s funny to hear an NFL quarterback be surprised that a woman could ask such a specific football question.
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Well, not funny at all. Actually, it’s disturbing, because there is a multitude of talented female journalists covering the sport these days.
The clip of Newton saying that to Rodrigue (which you can see above) led to criticism on social media. And one person wondered if this wasn’t just another case of Twitter overreacting.
That’s when Rodrigue had this response to that very question:
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.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
According to her LinkedIn profile, Rodrigue has been the Panthers beat writer for a year, so you’d think Newton wouldn’t have been surprised. Before that, she covered the Penn State football team.
Rodrigue also tweeted this:
I don't think it's "funny" to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
UPDATE: Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer was at the news conference and said that Rodrigue did talk with Newton afterward. Fowler wrote about that:
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.
It’s also not funny that Newton would think Rodrigue wasn’t really seeing specific routes and then tried to couch it by claiming he should have said “reporters” instead of “female.”
The Panthers put out a statement later on Wednesday and said Newton “expressed regret for using those words.”