Panthers coach Ron Rivera: Newton's comments were 'mistake'


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SportsPulse: Trysta Krick provides insight into Cam Newton’s sexist comments.
USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Thursday that Cam Newton “made a mistake” when he said it was “funny” that a female reporter asked him a football question.

Rivera opened his daily news conference by addressing the Newton situation, one that has caused a backlash against the quarterback in league coverage and on social media and cost him a sponsorship from Dannon yogurt.

“Cam made a mistake,” Rivera told reporters. “I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said he shouldn’t have said what he said. As far as I’m concerned, what I’d like to do is talk about getting ready for the Detroit Lions.”

When Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running, Newton smiled and said, “it’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”

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The Panthers said the team tries to make everyone who covers the team “comfortable.”

“I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words,” Panthers spokesperson Steven Drummond said in a statement. “We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.”

Rodrigue sent out a statement as well, and her account of what happened was different than that of the team.

“This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers,” Rodrigue said in the statement. “I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs. I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments.”

Rivera’s statement Thursday was his first response on the subject and when he was asked later in the news conference if he had spoken to Newton about his comments, he said he would not talk further on the matter.

Follow Spain on Twitter @kevin_spain

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