A female sports journalist from Seattle says comments from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton that some have called sexist are more a reflection of Newton and not of male athletes as a whole.
"I just kind of just rolled my eyes and thought 'Cam just put himself in a lot of hot water.' And over something completely unnecessary and definitely insulting," said 710 ESPN Seattle's Jessamyn McIntyre. "The reporter had every right to be insulted."
When Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton on Wednesday about wide receiver Devin Funchess' route running, Newton smiled and said, "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes. It's funny."
After Newton's comments, the quarterback proceeded to answer Rodrigue's question.
Rodrigue released a statement through The Charlotte Observer via email saying that Newton did not apologize when they spoke after the news conference.
The criticism of Newton was swift.
Ladies - do not feel forced into defending our sports knowledge. This is on Cam Newton - NOT ON US. Unacceptable in 2017 to go back to this— Laura Okmin (@LauraOkmin) October 4, 2017
Cam Newton implied the woman who asked him a question about routes was unqualified to ask him that question bc she’s a woman. That’s sexist— neko soto (@nekosoto) October 5, 2017
Yogurt maker Dannon said it was ending Newton's endorsement of its Oikos line of greek yogurt.
We’re disheartened by Cam Newton’s behavior, which we perceive as sexist. We shared our concerns with Cam & will no longer work with him.— Oikos Greek Yogurt (@Oikos) October 5, 2017
Some say the outrage is overblown. Former ESPN NFL reporter Britt McHenry was one of those to offer a counter argument.
He said something dumb. Doesn't erase what he's done for community & how he treats people. Feminists are so triggered.— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) October 5, 2017
You’d truly have to be a total pansy to be offended by Cam Newton’s comment.— Mara (@alerriebucky) October 5, 2017
Why is people making a fuss about cam and the woman reporter he laughed than answered her question but it was funny first time for me to— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) October 4, 2017
McIntyre, a sideline reporter for Washington State Cougars football radio broadcasts, said she was not surprised by Newton's comments given his history. But she also said she didn't get fired up about it because she believes that Cam Newton was representing himself and that she is not treated that way by athletes.
"I don't think (NFL players) find it funny. I personally have always been treated like a member of the media in a friendly manner," said McIntyre. "I've taken criticism as well, and I don't think I've ever been treated differently in the majority of my dealings when it comes to, not just NFL players but, athletes in general."
While Cam Newton's comments are disappointing at best, I'm glad in my experience the athletes and colleagues I work with, around and for do not reflect his way of thinking. I believe he's in the minority and hope I'm right about that.— Jessamyn McIntyre (@JessamynMcIntyr) October 4, 2017
Newton posted a video apology Thursday night on his Twitter account. He cited his two daughters as a reason for the apology.
"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 process I've already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realized that the joke is 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," Newton said.
McIntryre says she hopes this episode will not give others the perception of a widespread problem.
"Although it still exists, and I'm not denying it, I don't think that is the way. I think that we have made a lot of strides and by making this the big headline that everyone's going to read, it diminishes where we are right now by saying we are still back 20, 30, 40 years ago when we didn't have the headway that we've made right now." said McIntyre. "I hope we look at this as a Cam Newton problem, not an athlete problem."
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he hadn't seen Newton's press conference when asked about it Thursday afternoon. He offered a message of equality as he also discussed the women in his life.
"I've got a daughter. I have my sister who's a tremendous basketball player. A tremendous athlete. Knows sports really well," Wilson said. "I think about the women I have in my life. They probably know more about sports than I do."
Rodrigue, however, also came under fire Thursday. She had to apologize for a tweet from over four years ago which had racial overtones. That tweet has since been deleted.
"I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account 4/5 years ago," Rodrigue said in a Twitter statement. "There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize."
USA TODAY's Scott Gleeson contributed to this report.