Charlotte Observer Carolina Panthers beat writer Jourdan Rodrigue has been in the spotlight recently due to remarks made from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton towards her, which Newton has since apologized for.
The initial drama came about when Rodrigue asked Newton about the physicality of teammate Devin Funchess’ routes in which Newton replied it was “funny” to hear a female talk about routes. The room went silent after the comments and then Newton answered the question.
These comments were quickly viewed by many as sexist and many female sportswriters shared their comments on the issue at large. Today, the yogurt giant Dannon has dropped Newton as a sponsor. Newton has been the brand’s primary spokesman since 2015.
“We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women. It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. 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,” said Dannon in a statement.
Dannon isn’t the only one sharing this sentiment. Also today, Gatorade released a statement but have not said it is dropping Newton as a client.
“Cam’s comments were objectionable and disrespectful to all women and they do not reflect the values of our brand. Gatorade fully supports women who compete in, report on, coach for, or play any role in sport – on or off the field.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera had this to say about Newton’s comments today.
“I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said shouldn’t have said what he said,” Rivera said during his Thursday news conference, “and so as far as I’m concerned what I’d like to do is talk about is getting ready for the Detroit Lions who we play on Sunday.”
Rodrigue wrote about the incident on Twitter shortly after it occurred saying she doesn’t think it is “funny” to be a female and talk about routes. I think it is is my job.
Since then, tweets have been unearthed from Rodrigue’s Twitter account that are best described as offensive and racist. The tweets have since been deleted from her account but many users have managed to grab screenshots of them before they were deleted.
She tweeted in 2012 and 2013 about her dad being “super racist” and how he was delivering racist jokes the whole way home. While we don’t have access to the original tweets, these are likely the tweets in question.
In a May 2013 tweet, Rodrigue said, “The earth moves at 450+ mph that’s 10 times triller than NASCAR Dale Earnhart’s a (expletive) (racial slur).” This one actually is a retweet from a Bill Nye parody page.
Rodrigue addressed the issue of these tweets in a statement posted to her Twitter account earlier today. She apologizes and says there is no excuse for using such language in her tweet. Unsurprisingly, she has received some less than desirable replies to both this tweet and tweets she has sent since the incident.
At the moment, it does not sound like her job security is in jeopardy.
Rodrigue has been working for the Charlotte Observer since October 2016.