On Thursday, October 5 quarterback of the Carolina Panthers Cam Newton was dropped by Oikos Greek Yogurt due to comments the Dannon company felt were sexist.
“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women,” Oikos said in a statement on their Facebook page.
“It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace,” it said. “We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”
The day before being dropped, the comment was made to reporter Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer in a press conference.
“I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well,” Rodrigue said. “Devin Funchess has really seemed to embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards, does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him kind of truck-sticking people out there?”
When responding, Newton laughed, smiled and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes, like, it’s funny.”
In a statement later that day, Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond 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.”
After the news conference, Rodrigue went to Newton to ask what his comment meant. Scott Fowler from the Charlotte Observer said the conversation was not recorded, but after speaking to Rodrigue, this is how it went:
After asking Newton if he really didn’t think a female could understand routes, he responded that she wasn’t really seeing specific routes when watching the game, but seeing if somebody was opened.
Fowler went on to say Rodrigue 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 then backtracked saying he should have not specifically said “female” but reporters in general. He also said that if she actually knew about routes like she said she did, then she would know more than her colleagues, gesturing to the reporters still in the locker room.
That day Rodrigue tweeted out, “I don’t think it’s “funny” to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Observer, “The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league.”