Panthers' QB Cam Newton faces backlash over comment to female sports writer

Panthers' QB Cam Newton faces backlash over comment to female sports writer

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV/AP) - Carolina Panther's quarterback Cam Newton is facing backlash after an apparent off-handed comment that he made to a female sports reporter during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Panthers' beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton a question about half way through the news conference about routes that wide receiver Devin Funchess has been running.

"Cam, I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well. Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards," Rodrigue said. "Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him [inaudible] people out there?"

"It's funny to hear a female talk about routes, like it's funny," Newton said with a big smile before answering her question.

"I don't think it's 'funny' to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job," Rodrigue tweeted after the press conference.

"I spoke with him after and it was worse," Rodrigue said in a follow up tweet. "I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from."

Wednesday night, Rodrigue released a statement about the incident.

"This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs," Rodrigue said. "I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments."

Former Observer sports writer Jonathan Jones called Newton's comments an "embarrassing statement."

"To say that in response to a legitimate question [from Jourdan] is so backwards and disrespectful to her and to women," Jones continued.

Writer Joe Person tweeted his thoughts on the comment saying "Jourdan does her job well. Like, extremely well. Cam's comment was uncalled for."

Katherine Terrell, a Bengal's reporter for ESPN's NFL Nation says she was frustrated by Newton's comments to Rodrigue.

"What frustrates me about Cam Newton's comments: He's not joking around with friends," she tweeted. "He's being condescending to a reporter doing her job."

The Association for Women in Sports Media released a statement Wednesday evening.

"AWSM is very discouraged by Cam Newton's disrespectful remarks and actions directed to a female reporter during today's Carolina Panthers press conference," AWSM officials tweeted. "As a watchdog group, AWSM demands fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in sports media."

A Panthers spokesman says quarterback Cam Newton has "expressed regret" for his response. Carolina spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement to The Associated Press that Newton had a conversation with Rodrigue after the news conference ended and expressed regret for his remarks.

Drummond said the Panthers "strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team."

Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of the Charlotte Observer, said Newton's comments were "unfortunate and out of line."

Copyright 2017 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.