On Wednesday, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton came under fire for laughing at a question from Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue before declaring that, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.”
Newton was rightfully pilloried for the remark, which suggested a lack of regard for the many women who cover sports at least as capably and intelligently as their male peers. When the quarterback failed to apologize, the criticism intensified. On Thursday Dannon Yogurt announced it was cutting ties with Newton.
But because Newton has in the past been the target of attacks that appear racially coded, the online conversation over his comment to Rodrigue quickly devolved into a racism vs. sexism debate that was often light on nuance. That only intensified when Twitter users discovered tweets sent by Rodrigue years ago that condoned racism and used the n-word.
— IamQuidpro (@IamQuidpro) October 5, 2017
On Thursday, Rodrigue apologized for the tweets, writing that, “there is no excuse” for “the sentiment behind them.”
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 5, 2017
If nothing else, this whole incident shows that the world is not full of good guys and bad guys, victims and perpetrators. Newton has been the victim of racism, but on Wednesday he was the perpetrator of sexism. Rodrigue was the victim of sexism Wednesday, but previously she was the perpetrator of racism. Rodrigue messed up sending those tweets, which does not at all diminish that Newton messed up by suggesting women don’t know anything about football.
Yep, this may require us to hold more than one thought in our heads at the same time.
1. Cam said a stupid thing that deserves to be criticized
2. Much of the *other* criticism he gets is dumb/coded
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) October 5, 2017