NFL spokesman calls Cam Newton’s response to female reporter ‘disrespectful’ [Video]

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to pass during against the New England Patriots on Oct. 1.
(Winslow Townson / Associated Press for Panini)

Quarterback Cam Newton has “expressed regret” for his response to a female reporter’s question at a news conference on Wednesday, a team spokesman said.

When Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running, the former league MVP smiled and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”


After Newton’s comments, he proceeded to answer Rodrigue’s question.

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. Rodrigue released a statement through the Observer via email saying that Newton did not apologize when they spoke after the news conference.

She said she “was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside 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.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday night in a statement 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.”

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

Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, announced Thursday that it is cutting ties with Newton.

Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth said in a statement Thursday that the company was “shocked and disheartened” at the former league MVP’s behavior and comments.

The statement noted the company perceives Newton’s comments as “sexist and disparaging to all women. It’s simply not OK to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”


Rodrigue was back in the locker room on Thursday, flanked by Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of the Charlotte Observer.

She issued an apology herself on Thursday, after coming under fire for using a racial slur in one tweet and inflammatory language in another. The tweets were posted about four years ago and were first reported Thursday by

“I apologize for the offensive tweets form my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago,” Rodrigue said on her Twitter account. “There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize.”

When asked about the tweets, Persinger said that “she has owned them and apologized for them.”

Mariota update

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey says the status of quarterback Marcus Mariota is unclear for their upcoming matchup with the Miami Dolphins.


The Titans coach remains hopeful that Mariota will play despite a strained hamstring.

Mariota, who was hurt in last week’s loss to Houston, was limited in practice, stretching and throwing passes during the open portion of the workouts on Wednesday. The quarterback did not speak with reporters after practice.


After missing all of the Indianapolis Colts’ offseason workouts, all of training camp, all of the preseason and the first four regular-season games, quarterback Andrew Luck practiced Wednesday. His workload will still be limited. Coach Chuck Pagano has already said Luck won’t play Sunday against winless San Francisco. ... Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid denounced cornerback Marcus Peters’ direction of profanities at fans during Monday night’s game against Washington, saying “we can’t go in that direction.” Reid says the situation, which was caught on camera, has “been addressed.” But he declined to say Wednesday what kind of punishment, if any, was meted out and refused to take questions. ... The Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams has returned to practice after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan that led to the receiver being carted off the field on a stretcher.


Oct. 5, 1:30 p.m.: This article was updated with Rodrigue apologizing for racially insensitive tweets from about four years ago.


Oct. 5, 11:10 a.m.: This article was updated with Dannon announcing that it is cutting ties with Newton.

This article was originally published Oct. 4 at 9 p.m.