Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton has been rightfully slammed for his sexist comments at a press conference yesterday. When asked a question by Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue, Newton dismissed it as some kind of joke that a female reporter would be asking a question about one of his receivers running physical routes.
The tone-deaf response from Newton has been universally condemned by pretty much everyone with common sense and common decency as a neanderthalic regression back to a darker time. For her part, Rodrigue was straight-forward in her response on Twitter.
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
Elsewhere, Rodrigue was backed up by many of her colleagues across sports media, who offered a range of wisdom, humor, and experience to combat Newton. It’s shocking that we’re still here in 2017 and that one of the most recognizable athletes in the NFL would be perpetuating such stereotypes. Thankfully, there were voices that stood up around the NFL and other sports to combat them.
Newton could have talked about that great pivot route Funchess ran. Or how he beat Butler with a stem. Instead… https://t.co/2yTn8i1dqT
— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) October 5, 2017
It's funny to hear Cam Newton, who ranks 25th in the NFL in total QBR (43.3), talk about routes. pic.twitter.com/AhLvUokS6z
— Jackie Bamberger (@jackie_bam) October 4, 2017
Oh come on. Welcome to 2017 Cam Newton, women have been covering sports for decades. @JourdanRodrigue deserves better than that. https://t.co/ofeu23Xq6J
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) October 4, 2017
Better get used to it, Cam Newton. We "females" are not going anywhere. We love football, KNOW football, enjoy talking about football.
— Amy Lawrence (@ALawRadio) October 4, 2017
Newton’s comments really don’t make sense, because as multiple people have pointed out, the whole “you’ve never been there so you don’t know what you’re talking about” doesn’t hold water. Congressional reporters aren’t mandated to have passed legislation before they start covering Capitol Hill, right? Why must there be that kind of litmus test to cover sports? It’s a widespread criticism in conflicts between reporters and athletes, but there are scores of reporters (both male and female) who have a great knowledge about the game without ever having stepped foot in between the lines.
I'm going to ask my friends who cover transportation if they've ever been a subway car. https://t.co/WuVj3BIbu7
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) October 4, 2017
Reminder: My female colleagues and I have run the same number of college/NFL routes as most of our male colleagues.
— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) October 4, 2017
I know there are some who would rather their sports safe space be men only. TBH, I relish the fact that I make those people uncomfortable.
— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) October 5, 2017
Others used humor to respond to the comments, like ESPN investigative reporter Paula Lavigne, who hit back at Newton on his own controversial past.
As a female news reporter, I guess I'm lucky no one's ever suggested I can't cover crime because I haven't, oh, you know, stolen a laptop.
— Paula Lavigne (@pinepaula) October 5, 2017
And Kellie Rowe of Fox 2 in Detroit, who posted this hilarious troll of Newton.
you guys need to lay off cam newton pic.twitter.com/ah4Njwu9GU
— Kellie Rowe (@kellierowe) October 4, 2017
Finally, there was this response from Abby Hornacek, daughter of former Jazz guard and current Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek. You may have seen her as a reporter on ESPN’s coverage of the Drone Racing League. Judging by this deep ball she could probably step in and have a better completion percentage than Newton tomorrow.
Since you think it's "funny to hear females talk about routes," here's a post route " @CameronNewton pic.twitter.com/4CeW0mx4up
— Abby Hornacek (@abbyhornacek) October 4, 2017