Yesterday, Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, held a press conference as many quarterbacks do before the weekend game. While taking questions, a female reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked him a well-crafted question about routes.
His response? “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.” He smiles, laughs and repeats, “It’s funny.”
Only after patronizing her and belittling her did he answer her question.
Here's the video of Cam Newton saying "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes" pic.twitter.com/hd9Kg4CCeu
— Carlin & Reese (@CarlinReeseWIP) October 4, 2017
What’s so funny about women who know their sports? What’s so funny about a woman doing her job as a sports reporter? What’s so funny about you making that job harder by not answering her legitimate question?
Rodrigue reportedly talked to him after the press conference, hoping for an apology. According to her, what he said to her “was worse.” As a respectable journalist, she is not disclosing exactly what he said, citing only that “I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.”
Long story short, Cam Newton disrespected a woman. Specifically, he disrespected all women who can speak knowledgeably about sports. Clearly, blatantly, and in front of other people and cameras. Who knows what happens when the cameras are off. For one, Rodrigue knows, and she said it’s worse than what he says when he knows he’s being recorded.
Newton is clearly behaving in a way that disrespects half this country, and he’s not the only one. We’ve seen this before.
I didn’t hear nearly as many people screaming that these misogynists are overpaid millionaires who should be forced respect women. I didn’t hear people screaming for a boycott of the NFL until the culture of toxic masculinity is fixed. (And the thing is, a lot of you anthem-defending boycotters would probably mock a woman who did that. You’d say she was a “triggered snowflake” and “too easily offended.” But that’s not what this is about.)
Those of us who are offended by misogyny know that they way to combat sexism isn’t through pitching a fit and running away. It isn’t through a boycott. It’s through education, understanding and compassion.
So to all of the people out there boycotting the NFL because they’re offended that a handful of players won’t stand for the anthem, why aren’t you adding this to your reasons to boycott the NFL? If you get offended by a player’s free expression to criticize the country, you should also be offended by a player’s free expression to criticize a woman. You should be burning Cam Newton jerseys and throwing cups of Dannon Triple Zero on the fire. You should be ablaze with righteous indignation at his misogyny.
You didn’t boycott when Sheldon Richardson Snapchatted derogatory terms for women last year or call for him to be fired. Where was the boycott of the Jets or the NFL for their culture of toxic masculinity? (Oh, wait… the Jets need to have fans for there to be a boycott of fans.)
You didn’t boycott when Greg Hardy beat the crap out of his girlfriend.
You didn’t boycott when Ray Rice knocked his wife unconscious.
You didn’t boycott when Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape.
You didn’t boycott when it came out that Darren Sharper drugged and raped as many as 16 women during his time in the NFL and shortly thereafter.
Sexual assault, domestic violence, and sexism are real problems. Rape leaves scars you could never understand. Sexism is why women make only a fraction of what men make. Domestic violence kills women every year; over half of the women who were murdered by someone they knew were killed by an intimate partner.
So let’s protest misogyny. If you want a real reason to boycott, how about you boycott toxic masculinity? How about you boycott the rape culture that exists in the NFL?
Or even better, how about you don’t turn your backs on the issue and stick your head in the sand? How about you work towards solving the problem that makes you want to boycott in the first place? How about we talk to each other, respect each other and listen to each other?
Yeah, people will say things you don’t want to hear. People will say things you don’t agree with. But you’ll probably say things they don’t want to hear, either. We need to listen to each other, respect each other, and work together.
So what am I saying, exactly? Am I going to boycott the NFL? What about the misogyny in the NFL?
No. I’m not going to boycott my beloved Packers. Ignoring the problem won’t change the problem.
I’m going to continue to work to stop sexism and misogyny. I’m going to speak out when I see sexism. I’m going to call out all misogynists, black, white, green, whatever. No one gets to hide behind “It was just a joke” or “I didn’t mean it.”
I’m not going to accept it when I hear young men referring to women by their body parts, as in, “I went out with this hot piece of ass last night” She’s more than an ass and she has a name. I’m going to raise my son to respect women. No matter what locker room he’s in, I want him to stand up against “locker room talk.” I mean, he’s going to learn about football from me. My husband would rather be in the kitchen. That’s not sexist; I married a chef.
Furthermore, I’m going to continue to speak out against the anthem boycotters. These athletes have the right to protest unjust treatment of minorities by police, just as I’m protesting Newton’s unjust treatment of a female reporter. Demanding they be fired because they speak out for what they believe — just because you disagree with it — isn’t right. I’m sure a lot of you anthem boycotters have said things I don’t agree with (especially against the minorities who are peacefully protesting), but I’m not calling up your boss, demanding you be fired.
Instead, I’m going to work to stop systemic racism and sexism from being a problem. Turning my back on a problem won’t solve anything.
So here’s the TLDR:
Stop being assholes, people. Listen to each other.