CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton apologized Thursday night for a remark that he made to a female reporter during a media briefing Wednesday.
Newton tweeted a video with his apology Thursday.
“After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women. And to be honest, that was not my intentions,” Newton said.
“And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you. I’m a man who tries to be a positive role model for my community and tires to use my platform to inspire others. And I own, I take ownership to everything that comes with that. And what I did was extremely unacceptable.
"I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be. The fact that during this whole process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke was really on me and I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this.
"To the young people who see this, I hope you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me, be better than me. And to the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, supermoms, to the daughters, the sisters, and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologize and hope you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me. Thank you.”
On Thursday, Newton was dropped by sponsor Oikos Greek Yogurt over his comments.
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.
Newton's words threw social media into a frenzy, making the Panthers’ signal caller a trending topic on Twitter. Rodrigue, who’s been covering the team for a year, tweeted, “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”
Other sports legends are coming to her defense, calling Newton’s words “sexist,” “condescending,” and “disrespectful.”
Joining the choir of backlash was revered award-winning sports columnist Christine Brennan of USA TODAY, who was the first female sports reporter to cover the NFL.
“What is Cam Newton thinking? What world is he in?” Brennan asked. “That’s what’s really alarming to me, that a young man like Cam Newton, would say such a sexist, degrading thing and think it’s humorous.”
Even the NFL was quick to release a statement Wednesday, saying:
“The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.”
“During Cam Newton’s lifetime, a woman has run for president, women senators left and right, women in charge of Fortune 500 companies, he knows better,” Brennan declared. “How dare you? How dare you do that?”
Following Newton's apology statement, Stephanie Rivera, the wife of Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, took to Twitter and said, "No one is perfect, so proud that you apologized when you misspoke. Now let's beat the Lions!"