CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, is cutting ties with spokesman Cam Newton following what the company perceives as “sexist” comments the Carolina quarterback made to a female reporter.
Company spokesperson Michael Neuwirth released a statement Thursday saying it was “shocked and disheartened” at the former league MVP’s behavior and comments toward Jourdan Rodrigue, a Charlotte Observer reporter.
When Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running Wednesday, Newton laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
The Dannon 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.”
Newton had been with the yogurt company since 2015. He still has major endorsement deals with Gatorade, Beats, Under Armour and EA Sports. According to Forbes, he earned $26 million last year, and half of that was from endorsement deals.
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.
After the incident, Rodrigue posted on Twitter: “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”
Rodrigue also released a statement through The Charlotte 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.”
Late Thursday, Cam Newton posted a video on Twitter apologizing to anyone who “took offense to what I said” and calling it “extremely unacceptable.”
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.”
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