Sponsors Drop NFL Star Cam Newton After Sexist Remark To Female Reporter

A new controversy has brought some unwelcome attention to the National Football League, but this one has nothing to do with the National Anthem. Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton found himself smack dab in the middle of the controversy, as his flippant remarks to a female reporter that covers the team have been blasted as sexist in nature. As Money shares, sponsors are responding to the outcry.

It all stemmed from a simple question that the reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, had asked Newton during a press conference.

“I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well. Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him kind of truck sticking people out there?” Rodrigue asked.

For some reason, Newton found her question to be humorous, and he smiled broadly as he offered up a reply.

"It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like—it's funny," he said.

Needless to say, that was a mistake of epic proportions. The simple q&a session went viral, and Newton found himself in the middle of a firestorm. He was quickly blasted for his remarks, and conflicting reports emerged about whether or not he apologized to the reporter afterwards. Rodrigue would hop on social media to respond to the controversy.

“I don't think it's 'funny' to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job,” she wrote.

As often happens in today’s day and age, the firestorm evolved into a raging inferno. Newton’s remarks became a huge talking point, and sponsors that employ his services weren’t oblivious to the fact that this was a gigantic slip up on the part of a player that they pay a pretty penny to help market their products. Dannon yogurt wasted little time in jumping ship.

“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women. It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace,” a statement from Dannon read. “It’s simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer talk with him.”

Newton signed a lucrative deal to represent Dannon's Oikos yogurt in 2015, and he can now use the loss of that income stream as further confirmation that he has some things to think through. The Carolina Panthers and NFL have noted that his remarks are unacceptable, and Newton himself has released a humbling statement via video to apologize. Now that he’s come out and directly apologized, this one should blow over - but Newton needs to be crystal clear that he’s on thin ice in the public eye. The general public is willing to forgive a misstep, but a pattern of inappropriate behavior is a tougher sell.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed that someday soon we’ll be able to refrain from using the words ‘football’ and ‘controversy’ in the same sentence.

Source: Time, Fortune, The Hill
Photo: YouTube

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