Newton apologizes for comments to female reporter

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton apologized Thursday for using words that were "extremely degrading and disrespectful to women" when he responded to a question asked Wednesday by Jourdan Rodrigue, a reporter for The Charlotte Observer, that "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes."

Newton issued his apology via a video posted to Twitter:

After careful thought, I understand my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women, and 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. I take ownership to everything that comes with that, and what I did was extremely unacceptable. I'm a father to two beautiful daughters, and at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be. The fact that during this whole process, I've already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke was really on me. I've learned a valuable lesson from this. 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. To the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, super moms, to the daughters, the sisters and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologize and hope that you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me.

Newton has received heavy criticism for the remarks made to Rodrigue during a news conference Wednesday, which have affected his relationship with sponsors.

Panthers spokesperson Steven Drummond issued a statement Wednesday stating, "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."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera acknowledged Newton said something "he shouldn't have said."

Rodrigue released a statement Wednesday 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."

After Newton's comment became a national storyline, three past tweets of Rodrigue's came to light in which she was racially insensitive. Rodrigue posted an apology Thursday morning on Twitter.

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."