Taking a stand against sexism toward journalists

Cam Newton’s misogynistic comment to a female reporter cannot be excused

More stories from Nicole Bellford



Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, made a sexist remark that left the media room silent this past Wednesday after female reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue asked a question about routes.

The media room fell uncomfortably silent last Wednesday as Jourdan Rodrigue, a female sports writer for the Charlotte Observer was provided with a misogynistic comment from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in response to a question regarding routes.

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton said after Rodrigue, a beat writer for the Panthers, asked a genuine interview question. “Like, it’s funny.”

Rodrigue took to Twitter to issue a response soon after the conclusion of the press conference, taking a stand against Newton’s sexist remark.

“I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes,” Rodrigue tweeted. “I think it’s my job.”

While the Panthers released a statement after the press conference, claiming Rodrigue and Newton were able to discuss the disrespectful comment in which Newton expressed regret for his words, Rodrigue tweeted otherwise.

“I spoke with him (Newton) after and it was worse,” Rodrigue tweeted. “I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.”

The second I saw this news appear on my Facebook timeline, I felt absolutely disgusted. As a female sports writer and editor, I have personally faced this kind of disrespect.

As a woman, I have repeatedly been questioned or mocked on my knowledge of sports. I have had athletes sarcastically ask if I understand what plays or statistics mean in the interviews I conduct, and I have had sports writers question my authority in editing their stories.

There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. The second anyone questions a female journalist or reporter about their knowledge of sports on the mere basis of gender, they are letting sexism win. They are choosing to allow despicable stereotypes flood their brains rather than treating these undoubtedly intelligent and deserving women with the respect they deserve.

When Newton made his comment last week, he took a devastating swing at female journalists everywhere. Just as Rodrigue said, I refuse to allow this kind of treatment to prevent me from successfully executing my job and thriving within my profession.

When I do what is necessary of my job, it should not come across as comical. It should never, under any circumstance, be “funny” to see a woman succeed in a predominantly male realm.

Regardless of gender, those who possess qualities of leadership, authority and success are fierce. They are noteworthy. They are deserving of recognition. Being a woman shouldn’t change a single aspect of this notion.

Although Newton has since apologized for his comment and attempted to justify his remark by explaining it was “sarcasm,” his mistake is one that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. As a result, Newton has since lost his previous promotional deal with Dannon Oikos Yogurt.

Sexism must no longer be written off as a laughable offense or a “slip of the tongue.” The moment apologies like Newton’s no longer need to be made is the moment we as a society can confidently say we have beat misogyny.

Ladies: Never, ever accept this behavior. Not now, not ever. Please don’t allow yourself to excuse blatant disrespect on the basis of your gender. You will always be more than that. It’s time we as a society come together to accept this concept.