Newton on sexist remarks: My comments were unacceptable

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton apologized in a Twitter video post Thursday night for sexist comments made to a female reporter.

"After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women," the Carolina Panthers quarterback said at the start of the nearly two-minute video. "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."

On Wednesday when Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan 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 NFL released a statement Wednesday saying that Newton's response to the question was "just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league."

Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, cut ties with spokesman Newton on Thursday. Company spokesperson Michael Neuwirth released a statement saying it was "shocked and disheartened" at the former league MVP's behavior and comments.

We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive...

Posted by Oikos Greek Yogurt on Thursday, October 5, 2017

April Smith is a Charlotte-based public relations professional and founded Social Ape Marketing five years ago.

Smith believes Newton was given good advice after the controversy erupted and delivered a textbook apology.

"I'm sure that his publicist or PR person reached out to him immediately and said, ‘We need to get a game plan together,'" Smith said. "No. 1, is to admit that you made a mistake."

Smith said Newton's statement was carefully thought out but still sounded sincere.

"I think that it was very heartfelt. You could tell that he wasn't reading off of cue cards or a teleprompter," Smith said.

Smith believes it was also wise for Newton to avoid a live press conference for the apology and use a pre-taped message instead.

Fans outside Panther’s practice on Friday agreed Newton struck the right tone with his apology video.

"I think him posting that video really helped last night, fan Anthony Pastick said.

“I'm ready to move on and I'm hoping for a great season for the Panthers -- all of them,” fan Juanita Green said.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera addressed the situation briefly during his press conference Thursday, saying, "I think Cam made a mistake. I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said he shouldn't have said, what he said."

Rodrigue issued a statement Wednesday evening saying she and Newton did speak after the news conference, but said the quarterback didn't apologize for his remarks.

Rodrigue was back in the locker room on Thursday, flanked by Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of The Charlotte Observer.

She issued an apology herself on Thursday after coming under fire for using a racial slur in tweets she posted about four years ago. The tweets were first reported by BlackSportsOnline.com.

"I apologize for the offensive tweets form my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago," Rodrigue said on her Twitter account. "There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize."

Rodrigue was a college student at Arizona State at the time of the tweets. When asked about the tweets, Persinger said "she has owned them and apologized for them."

Newton's teammate Thomas Davis said he doesn't think the issue will affect the team as it prepares for the game against Detroit on Sunday.

"He's going to have to deal with that moving forward," Davis said of Newton. "I feel like it's a situation he's going to handle and he's going to handle it well. But for us as a football team we'll remain focused on Detroit."

Persinger said Wednesday evening that Newton's comments were "unfortunate and out of line."