Cam Newton came under fire on Wednesday for laughing at a female reporter’s question about wide receivers.
During a press conference, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer asked about wide-receiver routes. Before answering the question, the Carolina Panthers quarterback laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.”
Many around the NFL immediately criticized Newton’s comments and defended Rodrigue’s work.
However, responding to a Twitter user, Rodrigue said she tried to talk to Newton afterward and that it got “worse.”
I spoke with him after and it was worse. I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
Later on Wednesday, Scott Fowler of The Observer reported the details of Rodrigue’s conversation with Newton:
“She asked the quarterback if he really didn’t think a female could understand routes.
“Newton said she wasn’t really seeing specific routes when watching the game, she was just seeing if somebody was open. She argued that he didn’t know what she saw nor how hard she had studied football, and that maybe the two of them needed to have a deeper conversation.
“Newton said that maybe he should have said it was funny to hear ‘reporters’ talk about routes and that, if she actually did know about them, then she knew more than most reporters. Then he gestured toward the locker room, still filled with her colleagues.”
Fowler reported that though Rodrigue had introduced herself to Newton last year, she asked him on Wednesday whether he knew her, and Newton said he did not.
Rodrigue told Fowler she was “dismayed” by Newton’s comments and that he didn’t apologize when she approached him.
A spokesman for the Panthers said: “I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam, and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday also reported that he was told Newton did not apologize but was regretful.
“I was told by two different people this morning that he expressed his regret to her for the statement, which was not conveyed and did not come out,” Schefter said. “And I am not defending him in any way, because what he did was 100% wrong. It was demeaning. It was sexist. It was all those things. But in the post-comment conversation, I was told he expressed regret. Not an apology, but expressed regret.”
The NFL also released a statement to The Observer, saying Newton’s comments were “just plain wrong” and did not reflect the values of the league.