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Cam: 'Funny to hear a female talk about routes'

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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At a Wednesday press conference, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes" after he was asked by Jourdan Rodrigue, a female reporter for the Charlotte Observer, about routes run by wide receiver Devin Funchess.

Newton did answer Rodrigue's question, but his initial comment drew swift criticism from local reporters as well as reporters across the NFL.

Panthers spokesperson Steven Drummond released the following statement to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport:

"I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable to everyone covering the team."

Rodrigue later released a statement to Rapoport regarding Newton's comments.

"This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs," Rodrigue said.

"I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments."

Per the NFL, "The 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."

On Thursday, Dannon spokesperson Michael J. Neuwirth released a statement that the company "will no longer work" with Newton, who has been a sponsor for the Oikos yogurt brand.

"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. 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. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him."

Below is the full question and response from Newton:

Q: "I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well. Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of these routes and getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of an enjoyment to see him kind of truck people?

A: "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes. ... But [Funchess] has come along. This is a big game for him because of him being from Detroit. I know that he wants this extremely bad. Just to see his growth over the years. Completely different player. Not just on the field, but I told him and [Kelvin Benjamin] today, those guys' preparation has been different this year. And credit the coaching for it, and just moving forward we're going to expect those same things."

This is not the first time in Newton's NFL career that he has been dismissive toward a female reporter during a news conference.

In 2012 following a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Newton said "I'm going to leave this room and I'm going to bring in a suggestion box and I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don't know.

"I really don't. I wish I could tell you. But the only thing I control, sweetheart, is myself. Offensively, I am the leader of this bunch and we haven't been getting the job done."

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