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A day after Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, one of the most recognized stars in the NFL, laughed at the question of a reporter because she’s a woman, Newton apologized for his misogynistic chuckling.
On Wednesday, Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton a question about receiver routes, and Newton responded by saying, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes… It’s funny.”
That led to outrage across the NFL media landscape. Rodrigue said Newton never apologized, the league said the comments were “plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league,” and Dannon yogurt—one of Newton’s major sponsors—said he would not represent the company again.
On Thursday night, Newton released this video of apology, saying he had learned a valuable lesson and urging his fans to “Don’t be like me. Be better than me.”
“After careful thought, I understand my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women, and to be honest, that was not my intentions. And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you. I’m a man who tries to be a positive role model in my community and tries to use my platform to inspire others. I take ownership to everything that comes with that, and what I did was extremely unacceptable. I’m a father to two beautiful daughters, and at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be. The fact that during this whole process, I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke was really on me, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this. To the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this, as well. Don’t be like me. Be better than me. To the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, super-moms, to the daughters, the sisters, and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologize and hope that you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me. Thank you.”
But Rodrigue also found herself apologizing on Thursday after old, racially-tinged tweets resurfaced.
Rodrigue reportedly posted those tweets when she was still in college. The Observer said in a statement, “We don’t condone the posts or the messages they convey. We believe Jourdan is deeply sincere in her apology and regret about those tweets.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.