Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made a sexist comment to a female reporter today, smirking at her question and telling her he found it “funny” to hear a woman ask a question about football.
The incident started during Newton’s normal media appearance. Jourdan Rodrigue, a female reporter for the Charlotte Observer, asked Newton a completely legitimate question about Panthers receiver Devin Funchess.
“Cam, I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well,” Rodrigue said. “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?”
Newton was smirking while Rodrigue asked the question, and he made a totally inappropriate comment before answering.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny,” Newton said, before then giving some thoughts about Funchess growing as a receiver.
Neither Rodrigue nor any of her colleagues in the local media followed up on that comment from Newton, but Rodrigue later took to Twitter to address the matter.
“I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job,” Rodrigue wrote. “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.”
Newton has surely spoken to hundreds of female reporters in the years that he’s been a famous athlete. It’s stunning that he would suggest that there’s something “funny” about a woman asking him a question about football. Newton will apologize because the Panthers, the NFL and his sponsors will urge him to, but here’s hoping he offers more than just a rote apology. A person with that big a platform should put a lot more thought into his words than Newton did today.