National Football League (NFL) superstar Cam Newton has been dropped by Danonn - the American arm of French yoghurt brand Danone - following a remark to a journalist that many believe to be sexist.
Newton’s comments were directed at Jourdan Rodrigue, a female reporter for the Charlotte Observer, after she asked him about the “physicality” of the routes receiver Devin Funchess had been making. The Carolina Panthers quarterback claimed, with a smirk on his face, that it was "funny to hear a female talk about routes like that".
Following a public and media backlash to his comments Dannon cut ties with Newton on Thursday, a day after the exchange. The food products corporation stated that it was ‘shocked and disheartened’ at the behaviour and comments of the 2015 league MVP, which it perceived to be ‘sexist and disparaging to all women’.
A disappointed Rodrigue took to social media platform Twitter in the aftermath of the incident.
‘I don't think it's "funny" to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job,’ wrote Rodrigue. ‘I spoke with him after and it was worse. I chose not to share, because I have an actual job to do today and one he will not keep me from.’
For his part, 28-year-old Newton released a contrite video on Twitter.
"If you are a person who took offence then I sincerely apologise to you," said Newton. “During this process I lost sponsors and countless fans. I realise the joke is on me. Don't be like me. Be better than me.”
The comments have drawn strong criticism from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who said that they were “just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league”.
Newton will not, however, receive any punishment from the NFL or his employers, the Carolina Panthers. League spokesperson Joe Lockhart said that the NFL won't "pursue further action" against the decorated football star.