Former Auburn star Cam Newton flashed his million dollar smile on Wednesday and told a female reporter that it's "funny to hear a female talk about routes." That was not the right thing to say. If you watch the video above, you can hear the air go out of the room, the uncomfortable silence.
And then a response from the reporter on Twitter: I don't think it's "funny" to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job.
I mentioned it to my wife last night, and her immediate response was not good. I don't remember the exact words (or maybe I can't repeat them), but Cam Newton went down another notch in her book. Because it sounded totally sexist!
Was it? I don't know, I thought it was. I thought watching his smirk while listening to the question and then responding made it seem even more sexist.
But not everyone agrees. One compelling argument I heard was that Cam is so used to hearing male coaches yell about routes and used to male reporters ask about routes; so when a woman asked those questions, it just was very different to him. He smiled, he smirked, whatever.... Alabama fans know that Cam's smile can be annoying all by itself, no matter what he says.
A day later, he lost an endorsement deal with Dannon Yogurt.
Jourdan Rodrigue, the reporter, says she sought out the Panthers QB after the presser; he didn't apologize then. Worse yet, Rodrigue tells the Charlotte Observer that she asked Cam if he even knew her name -- she, a reporter who'd covered the Carolina Panthers nearly every day for a year. She told him her name and walked away.
There will be two camps when it comes to Cam Newton. There pretty much always has been. Auburn fans will be more likely to forgive (or even defend) than Alabama fans. Yes, he was that annoying to Tide fans while playing college football; and that made him a hero to Auburn fans. Well, that and the wins!
I could believe that what Cam said just came out horribly wrong. We've all said things that came out wrong. But the simple fact that Cam Newton didn't even know the name of a reporter who'd been covering him for a year, that's another level of dismissive. He's had a chance to apologize or at least explain himself; and as of now... nothing.
For what it's worth: Jourdan Rodrigue is being called out for racist tweets following this incident. She's now apologized for those, and our heads keep spinning.