Carolina Panthers quarterback, sociology major, and noted fashion icon Cam Newton was showered with penalty flags from social media referees for remarks he made to a female reporter at a press conference on Wednesday.
Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer asked Newton a perfectly normal question about wide receiver Devin Funchess that caused him to bust into a wide grin and offer a response destined for viral infamy. Here's the exchange in question:
RODRIGUE: I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well. Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him truck-sticking people?"
NEWTON: It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like that. It's funny.
This is probably a good time to add it's also funny to see a grown man show up for a press conference dressed like this, but that's beside the point. For a sampling of the subsequent internet outrage, head on over here or here.
I don't know what Newton meant by "funny," but if he meant "unusual," he's right.
Very few women are so well-versed in the technical details of football they would be able to speak as fluently about routes as a sports reporter such as Rodrigue. That's okay. But it also means Newton probably doesn't encounter many women with the interest in or knowledge to ask questions like hers.
To be clear, there was no real reason for Newton to make that observation at a press conference, and with such a condescending tone, by publicly singling out a woman who probably hears similar sentiments all the time. But if I'm not mistaken, there are other things going on in the world that deserve more attention than this.
By the way, Rodrigue confronted Newton after the press conference, left unimpressed with his response, and chose not share details of their conversation, in her words, "because I have an actual job to do today."
She's moved on, so let's all join her up there on the high road.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.