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Cam Newton laughed at and belittled one of my sportswriting colleagues at The Observer Wednesday, and that is inexcusable.
Jourdan Rodrigue, for the past year one of two beat writers assigned by The Observer to cover the Carolina Panthers, asked Newton during his weekly press conference about wide receiver Devin Funchess’s routes.
She interned with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Arizona State athletic department as a sportswriter.
She moved to Pennsylvania and wrote about Penn State football, and we were impressed enough to pluck her from there and put her on the NFL beat alongside Joseph Person. I have watched her time and again have conversations with thoughtful Panthers players such as safety Kurt Coleman and tight end Ed Dickson and ask them increasingly detailed questions about football so she can understand more about it.
Newton said that maybe he should have said it was funny to hear “reporters” talk about routes and that, if she actually did know about them, then she knew more than most reporters.
Then he gestured toward the locker room, still filled with her colleagues.
“They do not reflect the thinking of the league.” Let me just add this: I’ve been covering the Panthers for the past 23 seasons, and Rodrigue knows more about the subtle intricacies of football than I do.
Tinder may be the hot new dating app for regular folks and beauty queens, but it's not without flaws.Rodrigue ended by asking Newton – whom she had introduced herself to on the first day of her employment with The Observer in October 2016 – if he knew her name after she had covered the team almost every day for the past year.Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said later Wednesday afternoon via a statement: “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 for everyone covering the team.” What should have been forthcoming immediately from the quarterback, of course, was an apology. She said of Newton’s original comment to her question: “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. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later.
He did not apologize for his comments.” Women have regularly been covering pro sports for decades.Rodrigue knows exactly what a route tree is and can diagram one for you.