NFL star Cam Newton has lost a major sponsor after he expressed surprise that a woman was familiar with wide receiver passing routes.
Dannon Yogurt announced Thursday that Newton, 28, was fired as the spokesman for their Oikos Yogurt brand after he made what they referred to as “sexist and disparaging” comments about women.
ESPN.com’s David Newton tweeted a statement from a Dannon spokesperson after the public backlash continued into Thursday.
“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.”
It all began on Wednesday when the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers joked to Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue that it was “funny to hear a female” ask a question about passing routes.
Rodrigue took to Twitter.com after the press conference, saying, “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”
She said she spoke to Newton after the press conference and his response was worse. “I choose not to share,” she added, “because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.”
Rodrigue also released a statement saying Newton did not apologize to her for expressing his amazement at her sports knowledge — a comment that some women would probably consider a compliment.
The reaction on social media was mixed and divided along gender lines. Admittedly, most females don’t know a thing about wide receiver passing routes. Some social media users say Rodrigue overreacted, and they don’t believe Newton should apologize for simply expressing his opinion.