Unless you’ve been under a rock, literally, you’ve heard about Cam Newton’s comment to Charlotte Observer beat writer Jourdan Rodrique – and seen mob the mentality of mainstream media’s new war on sexism.
Opinions surrounding the subject have varied greatly, and here at Carolina Blitz we encourage thoughtful and opinionated dialogue. The op/ed piece below was submitted by Terry Briggs (@teeBiggs), Managing Editor of Cover 32 Raiders.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Carolina Blitz:
First and foremost, the comments Panthers’ quarterback made towards Charlotte Observer’s Jourdan Rodrigue crossed the bounds of tact, taste and delicacy. Mocking a female sportswriter because of an archaic stereotype remains a bad look in 2017. However, the backlash surrounding these ill-advised comments continues to mystify. People feel really taken aback by the statement. In addition, some opportunists began to key on Newton’s life and not necessarily the words.
Painting a Narrative
Cam Newton appears as a charming, affable athlete while at the microphone. Yet, the same approach to his game and life will always rub many the wrong way. If you scanned social media following the comments, you’d think Newton and Ray Rice traded places somehow. People began to dig up stats and history surrounding him.
Yes, he is the 25th ranked passer, according to QBR. Not sure what that has to do with boneheaded comments. Nationally, chiropractors will increase their rates for all the people bending over backwards to fit this into his pattern of behavior.
Twitter buzzed with photos of Von Miller stripping Newton and captions zinged with snarky eloquence. The fact remains that Miller had Remmers and Oher on skates that entire game. None of that is Newton’s doing. Instagram flowed with stories about Newton’s tumultuous time at Florida or the clouds of doubt circling at Auburn. People really wanted to tie the distant past to misogynistic comments made during a press conference. Why?
When Cam Newton walked out of the Super Bowl postgame press conference, some media members villianized him by using tired axioms like, “he doesn’t play the game the right way.” The amount of code surrounding the Carolina signal caller grows with each passing day. The comments to Rodrigue cemented Newton’s status as the anti-Brady in the minds of some. Forget all of the charitable events and gestures, paint Cam Newton with the same brush looping in events in college as well.
Time would be better served if sports media and fans as a whole separate Newton’s past from his statement and solely focus on his words – beginning a deeper conversation about women in sports journalism.
In a perfect world, well-informed fans and players should only care about quality content, not the gender of the reporter. Unfortunately, on a planet where ignorance and intolerance reside, those days do not appear to occur any sooner.
Singularly, Newton’s comments should’ve opened the door to profound dialogue regarding this topic. From pioneering baseball writer Clare Smith to modern media, women in this business fight hard for acceptance and respect. Shining a light on their hurdles and what solutions to alleviate the struggle could’ve been a watershed discussion. Yet, Cam Newton is the focus.
I’ve read Jourdan Rodrigue’s work. She covers the Panthers with facts buttressed by keen insight. As a non-fan of the team, good local coverage is rare. When Newton’s statements made national news, media clamped on this incident. Someone cranked up the outrage machine and began spewing loaded opinion. Rodrigue has a job to do, and she didn’t let Newton’s ignorance inhibit that. On the other hand, Newton’s ignorance gave opportunistic media topic and sports radio fodder. Also, the networks now have a discussion topic on a Thursday where the Patriots and Buccaneers play.
Jourdan Rodrigue did not ask for this. Similarly, she’ll probably not cash in on this situation. On the other hand, Rodrigue’s hands are not clean in the ridiculous statement department. In unearthed tweets, she laughed at racism and used epithets. Somehow, people absolve her entirely. In an era where politicians utter hate speech frequently without consequence, no one is above condemnation. Yet, people will make serious money on the back of Newton disrespecting her. They care nothing for the full story, only the splashy headlines.
As mentioned, Cam Newton’s disrespect is an affront to the hard word of every single woman that works in media. However, fault need to also lie with those profiting from this exchange. Controversy creates cash and few may remember Jourdan Rodrigue’s name in three weeks, but Newton is forever painted as that misogynist. Remember some of the outrage was created for television. Wrong lives on both sides of this issue. No innocent person exists in this story. Media failed the public at large. Be better.