NFL star Cam Newton has detected himself under flame. This time, it’s not from a corps of hulking linebackers.
During a press conference with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton a fairly simple football topic, specifically about the kinds of “routes” his receivers run.
Newton’s response was ripped straight out of a playbook … from the 1950 s.
“It’s funny to hear a female talking here routes, ” he said with a condescending grin. “Like … it’s funny.”
Rodrigue didn’t think it was very funny and shared her frustration with Newton’s response on Twitter.
I don’t think it’s “funny” to be a female and talk about roads. I think it’s my job.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@ JourdanRodrigue) October 4, 2017
In 2017, you’d suppose the novelty of women working in athletics and athletics media would have worn off and that they’d get, oh, a little respect.
Some of the top names in the biz are girls. Erin Andrews, Andrea Kramer, Michele Tafoya — those are just a few highly respected names when it comes to reporting football news. The owner of the Chicago Bears is a woman. Monday Night Football was called by a woman announcer for the first time ever this year.
Heck, there are women on NFL coaching personnels.
Yet outdated attitudes persist, and you had better believe if a woman reaches that level of success in sports despite the bias, she is at the least as qualified as any male colleague. Sports is not a “man’s world, ” nor should any woman passing through be treated to a soft pat on the head like a first-grader visiting the fire station.
Not needing anyone to stand up for them, some of the industry’s resulting females took to social media to bust the “man’s world of sports” wide open.
The exchange between Newton and Rodrigue set off a firestorm of inspiring replies. Reporters and other athletics personalities shared what they thought was “funny.”
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
Rodrigue herself subsequently elaborated on her feelings in a statement :
This was a thoughtless and ignorant moment for Newton , no doubt. But ESPN novelist Mina Kimes made an important point for everyone criticizing him right now.
She pointed out that Newton often gets attacked for things that are unfair and often racially motivated: like for being too loud and charismatic or for dressing like a “thug .“
Two incorrects, she said in essence, don’t make a right.
1. Cam said a stupid thing that deserves to be criticized
2. Much of the* other* criticism he gets is dumb/ coded
— Mina Kimes (@ minakimes) October 5, 2017
And as for Newton, a statement from the Panthers noted that he was regretful over his handling of the question, though Rodrigue claims she never received an apology.
Either way, here’s hoping Newton has learned his lesson and has gained some respect for the female journalists who encompass sports.
They surely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
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