cam newton-jourdan rodrigue CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 24: A general view of the New Orleans Saints versus the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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.

On Thursday, Rodrigue apologized for the tweets, writing that, “there is no excuse” for “the sentiment behind them.”

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.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.