Cam Newton’s sexist remarks on female sports reporters

Vanessa Dickerson, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: Vanessa Dickerson is a junior studying Communication. Vanessa also partners with TealTV and has a true passion for broadcasting as well as sports journalism. All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Vanessa can be found on Twitter @nessadickerson. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to

Recently, Carolina Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton decided to make a joke after female sports reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked him a question about a receiver at a press conference.

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton said with a laugh and a huge grin on his face. Rodrigue later went to Twitter to respond publicly to Newton’s joke.

“I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job,” Rodrigue posted on her personal Twitter account.

Well, as a female sports reporter for TealTV and one who aspires to be a sports broadcaster in the future, nothing gets me more frustrated than comments like this. I have been around sports my entire life. My dad was a football player for University of Arizona and my mom played tennis at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. My brothers played football and soccer. My sisters swam and did gymnastics. I am a former gymnast and cheerleader. So yes, I know a thing or two about sports.

When I’ve told some of my peers in the past about my passion about sports journalism and broadcasting, some people are very supportive, while others are skeptical. Why? Because there is still a stigma attached to females and sports. I realize that as a sports broadcaster or journalist that males will most likely be able to move higher in the field than me, but I plan to push past that stigma as far as possible.

Cam Newton later took to Twitter to apologize for his comments. Of course, mentioning that he has lost sponsors (as if we are supposed to feel sorry for him?) and that his young fans should “be better than him.”

If I were Rodrigue, I would forgive and move on, but a part of me would always be a bit frustrated with the industry. Just because females can’t actively participate in the NFL doesn’t mean that females don’t know a thing or two about what goes on. I enjoy watching football, Saturdays for college football and Sundays for the NFL, and have been this way for more than ten years. Watching the sport and being passionate about it in general, I have learned about it even without playing it.

While I don’t think that Cam Newton made the joke to personally offend all female sports reporters, unfortunately that’s what happened. There are four females that I work with on TealTV out of ten total members; all of whom I entirely respect for their knowledge of sports. In the back of my mind, wanting to be in this profession, I have always had a feeling that some players felt that way. I wish Cam Newton would realize just how hard females must work in this industry to even get into a press conference to be able to interview him.

It is very common that when players retire that they are automatically handed a job in broadcasting at the highest level right out of the sport. That is understandable considering they are still relevant and know a thing or two about the sport after playing it for many years. However, some sports reporters, especially females, have been working for ten plus years trying to work their way up just to be able to commentate a game. Nothing is handed to them.

Big names like Erin Andrews and Jemele Hill are some of the few female sports reporters to work their way up the ladder at ESPN to become household names in the world of female sports reporters, but it took them both more than ten years to do this.

So next time that Cam Newton (or any other player for that matter) gets a question from a female reporter, I hope he shows a bit more respect.

Newton mentioned in his apology that the “joke is on him.” Why, yes Cam, it is. Female sports reporters are going to continue to fight back when comments like this are said, and we deserve that respect.