Cam Newton issued a public apology Thursday evening after he faced huge backlash for sexist remarks that he made to a female sports reporter.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback lost out on a major endorsement deal with Dannon Yogurt Thursday after news broke about his exchange with Charlotte Observer journalist Jourdan Rodrigue from a Wednesday press conference.
A somber Newton shared the video apology to his Twitter page saying: ‘After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women.
‘To be honest, that was not my intentions, and if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you. I’m a man who tries to be a positive role model in my community and tries to use my platform to inspire others.’
The sports star took responsibility for his condescending comment to Rodrigue, which stemmed from her inquiry about the routes being run by Panthers wideout, Devin Funchess.
Newton replied to the young reporter: ‘It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.’ He then took a pause before he repeated again: ‘it’s funny.’
‘After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women,’ Newton said in the heartfelt video
The Panthers quarterback recognized his wrongdoing and in the video apology, and reflected on his role as a father to two young daughters who look up to him as a role model.
‘I realize that the joke is really on me… I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this, and 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.’
Michael Neuwirth, senior director of external communications for Dannon, which makes the Oikos line of Greek yogurt that Newton was paid to endorse before Thursday, confirmed in a Thursday statement the company would no longer be endorsing him.
‘We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him,’ read the official statement from Neuwirth.
‘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,’ the spokesman’s statement read.
‘It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It’s simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender.’
The Panthers quarterback recognized his wrongdoing and in the video apology, and reflected on his role as a father to two young daughters who look up to him as a role model
”I realize that the joke is really on me… I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this, and to the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this as well,’ Newton said
Newton has been a spokesman for Dannon’s Oikos since January of 2015
Newton’s marketing agent, Carlos Fleming of WME/IMG told ESPN that Dannon has not completely cut ties with Newton, ‘nor do they have the grounds to’.
According to ESPN, Neuwirth confirmed that Dannon would continue to keep the 2015 NFL MVP under contract without using him, and the company has started pulling existing advertising that includes Newton’s likeness.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera also responded Thursday, saying he wants to focus on the team’s Week 5 matchup with Detroit.
‘Cam made a mistake,’ Rivera said. ‘I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said he shouldn’t have said what he said. As far as I’m concerned, what I’d like to do is talk about getting ready for the Detroit Lions.’
Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue (pictured) said she felt ‘dismayed’ and ‘belittled’ following the exchange
Whether or not Newton actually expressed regret is a disputed matter.
Rodrigue revealed on Twitter that she had confronted Newton, 28, on his comments following the conference, adding that the situation only deteriorated from there.
She neglected, however, to divulge details of their conversation, but said the entire incident left her feeling ‘belittled’ as she was trying to do her job.
‘I spoke with him after and it was worse,’ she wrote. ‘I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.’
Following Wednesday’s news briefing, Rodrigue expressed her dismay at Newton’s treatment via Twitter.
‘I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job,’ she wrote.
After news broke on the controversial interview, it seems Twitter users where eager to learn more about Rodrigue, and dug up past tweets that were racist in nature.
Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton (pictured) appears to have ‘belittled’ a female reporter for asking a routine question
Following the press conference, Rodrigue took to Twitter to express her concern over the comments
Rodrigue said that she confronted Newton about the comments following the press conference, saying ‘it was worse’ after speaking with him
The tweets were posted back in 2012 and 2013 by Rodrigue and read things like, ‘Dale Earnhart is a ‘b—h n—a’ as well as ‘My dad is being super racist as we pass through Navajo land.’
She then added: ‘He’s the best. Racist jokes the whole drive home.’
Rodrigue has since issued an apology for the irresponsible social media posts.
She said Thursday afternoon: ‘I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago. There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize.’
Furthermore, in response to the Wednesday incident, Carolina Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond released a statement saying that the star quarterback was ultimately remorseful for his choice of words.
‘I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words,’ Drummond said.
‘We strive as a department to make the environment for the media comfortable for everyone covering the team,’ he added.
Rodrigue also issued an apology Thursday for racist comments on her Twitter page from years ago: ‘I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago’
The tweets were posted back in 2012 and 2013 by Rodrigue and read things like, ‘Dale Earnhart is a ‘b—h n—a’ as well as ‘My dad is being super racist as we pass through Navajo land’
‘There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry,’ she said
Carolina Panthers spokesperson Steven Drummond later said in a statement released on twitter that the two had spoken once again, claiming that Newton had expressed ‘regret’
Rodrigue, however, said that Newton never apologized for the comments following a brief exchange
However, NFL.com analyst Ian Rapoport later tweeted a reply by Rodrigue on the matter, revealing that Newton had yet to apologize for his behavior at the time.
‘This afternoon, I did my job as NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers,’ Rodrigue said.
‘I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and besides me who work in similar jobs.’
‘I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments.’
Brian McCarthy, a spokesperson for the NFL, said in a statement Wednesday night that Newton’s comments ‘are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league.’
‘They do not reflect the thinking of the league,’ he added.
Newton, who has served as a spokesman for Dannon since January of 2015, has also endorsed Pepsi, Under Armour, and Belk, which is a Charlotte-based retailer.
According to Forbes, Newton was the second highest-paid player in the NFL in 2017 – with earnings of ‘$34.7 million, including $11 million off the field.’
By Jessa Schroeder For Dailymail.com and Alex Raskin Sports News Editor For Dailmail.com and Daniel Roth For Dailymail.com