The fallout was quick and continuous, unless Thursday night’s apology closes the book.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was immediately chastised by media members and on social media after belittling a female reporter’s question during a press conference on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was the reporter apologizing for racist tweets from her past.
The episode began Wednesday when Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue questioned Newton about a receiver’s improved route running, to which Newton responded, with a grin, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
After the comment, Newton went on to answer the question.
But the fuse was lit.
Rodrigue posted later on social media that she talked with Newton after the press conference and said “it was worse.”
Comments and commentary streamed quickly.
Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said Newton’s comments were “just plain wrong and disrespectful” and “didn’t reflect the thinking of the league,” which has had women covering its teams for more than 40 years.
By Thursday morning, at least one of Newton’s endorsement deals had been terminated. The Dannon yogurt company released a statement saying it was severing ties with Newton.
Then the story took a different turn.
Tweets from 2012 and 2013 that contained racist overtones were pulled from Rodrigue’s twitter account, generating more interest and comment in the story.
Rodrigue issued a Twitter statement that said: “I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago. There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize.”
Newton closed the circle on Thursday evening when he apologized in a video on Twitter in which he told his fans, “I hope you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me. Be better than me.”