Cam Newton, the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, apologized Thursday for making sexist remarks to a female reporter.
“After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women,” the football player said in a video posted on Twitter.
Newton came under fire after a news conference Wednesday when Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer posed a question about the route-running of his teammate and wide-receiver, Devin Funchess. “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton responded, grinning widely and emphasizing the word “routes.”
“I don’t think it’s “funny” to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.” Rodrigue wrote on Twitter.
On Thursday following Newton’s comments, Dannon dropped its sponsorship of the 28-year-old athlete, who has repped the company’s Oikos yogurt since 2015.
“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton toward Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women,” read a statement from Dannon. “It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It’s simply not O.K. to belittle anyone based on gender.”
“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,” Newton said in his apology.
“The fact that during this whole process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke is really on me,” Newton said. “I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this.”