Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughed at Jourdan Rodrique’s question about wide receiver Devin Funchess on Wednesday.
“Devin Funchess has really embraced the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards,” Rodrique said during her question. “Does that give you a little enjoyment seeing him truck sticking people out there?”
Newton then gave a large grin, chuckled before beginning his answer.
“It’s funny hearing a female talk about ‘routes,’ like-it’s funny,” Newton said.
Rodrique isn’t new to Panthers’ press conferences; she’s one of the team’s beat writers for the Charlotte Observer. It’s unclear why Newton found the woman’s knowledge of the game humorous because there are plenty of male reporters that never put on pads in their lifetimes. Newton’s reaction to the question can very well be seen as sexist and those that condemn players that make racist suggestions publicly need to keep that same energy towards Newton.
Needless to say, women deserve the same respect as men and the same amount of pay as men in white and pink collar jobs. However, women don’t receive the same amount of respect as men and sports expose sexism on a larger scale than others. Serena Williams once said that she would’ve been considered the greatest athlete of her time easily a long time ago if she was a man. Last night, the Minnesota Lynx won this year’s intriguing WNBA finals in a Game 5 that went down to the last minute and the series overall received minimal coverage.
Beyond addressing the issue of sexism in sports, the effects of brain damage in football players must be taken into account as well after this act from Newton. The way he smiled at Rodrique saying the word “routes” is similar to a young child and not a grown man that is the father to a young child. Newton most recently suffered his last reported concussion in October 2016 and this past offseason, Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen said that she believes Brady doesn’t report a lot of his concussions. The effect of living with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is real, especially for someone who’s been playing football his entire life like Newton. Some players that had CTE showed irregular behavioral problems and died at young ages by accidentally or purposefully killing themselves. The mental health of current and former football players always must be taken into account during a strange situation like this.
Despite the Panthers’ communication team putting out a statement that Newton apologized for his comments, Rodrique said that Newton showed no remorse for his comments.