Jourdan Rodrigue, a Carolina Panthers beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, defended herself Wednesday night after Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton laughed at a question she asked, saying it was “funny to hear a female” talk about receiver routes.
“I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job,” Rodrigue tweeted following the exchange with Newton, which took place at a Wednesday press conference.
Rodrigue, 25, had asked Newton about the whether he enjoyed the approach wide receiver Devin Funchess was taking to running his routes.
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With a smirk, Newton said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like—it’s funny.”
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Rodrigue tweeted that she later confronted Newton about his comment. The second exchange “was worse,” she said.
“I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from,” she said.
A Panthers’ spokesman told ESPN that Newton told Rodrigue that he regretted his choice of words, but Rodrigue issued her own statement, saying that Newton had not apologized.
His comments, Rodrigue said, “belittled” her and other women who work in similar jobs.
The misogyny endured by female sports reporters received fresh attention last year with the viral video of real men reading mean tweets sent to Chicago-based journalists Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain. Among the messages: “You need to be hit in the head with a hockey puck and killed,” and, “Hopefully, this skank Julie DiCaro is Bill Cosby’s next victim.”
In an era when some athletes are using their platforms to call for social change and promote marginalized populations, it’s disappointing that Newton—who’s signed to a $103 million contract—used his to microphone to degrade.