By STEVE REED, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton apologized Thursday night in a Twitter video post 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 the 2015 NFL MVP about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running, Newton laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
In the video, Newton said he’s a man who strives to be a positive role model in the community and who tries to use his platform to inspire others. He said he takes ownership to everything that comes with that.
“What I did was extremely unacceptable,” Newton said. “I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and I try to instill in them that they can be anything that they want to be. The fact that during this process I have already lost sponsors and countless fans I realize that the joke is really on me. I have really learned a valuable lesson from this.”
Newton also sent a message to the “young people” who follow him.
“Don’t be like me,” Newton said. “Be better than me. To the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, the super moms, the daughters, the sisters all around the world I sincerely apologize and hope that you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me. Thank you.”
The NFL quickly 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.”
However, it doesn’t appear there will be any punishment handed out to Newton.
“I think there are conversations going on at the club level with the appropriate people, with the Panthers,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said in a conference call Thursday. “I don’t want to anticipate the league stepping in there.”
Newton’s remarks have proven costly.
Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, cut ties with spokesman Newton on Thursday. Company spokesman Michael Neuwirth released a statement saying it was “shocked and disheartened” at the former league MVP’s behavior and comments.
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 Thursday, flanked by Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of The Charlotte Observer.
She issued an apology herself 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 about 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.”
The Associated Press Sports Editors announced that it “agrees wholeheartedly that Mr. Newton’s response was out of line” and “we ask for a formal apology to Jourdan Rodrigue from Mr. Newton and the Carolina Panthers organization.”
AP Sports Writers Barry Wilner and John Nicholson contributed to this report.
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