Carolina Panthers quarterback and former NFL MVP Cam Newton faced condemnation from fans and the general public after comments he made at a press conference on Wednesday.
Answering a question from Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue regarding running routes in the game, Newtown said it was "funny to hear a female talk about routes."
"I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well," Rodrigue asked Newton. "[Panthers wide receiver] Devin Funchess has really embraced the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of an enjoyment?"
"It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like... It's funny," responded Newton, smirking. "But, uh, Fun [Funchess] is coming along."
Newton was quickly criticized by other reporters who were present during the press conference, as well as hundreds on Twitter who found his comments disrespectful "to her [Rodrigue] and to women."
Rodrigue tweeted about the incident on Wednesday afternoon.
The Association for Women in Sports Media released a statement later on Wednesday, saying it was "very discouraged" by Newton's remarks.
Thursday, Newton tweeted a video apology, stating what he did was "extremely unacceptable" and that he'd "learned a valuable lesson."
"To the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this as well: Don’t be like me, be better than me," Newton said.
Here's the full text of his statement:
"After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women, and, to be honest, that was not my intention. And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you.
I’m a man who tries to be a positive role model in my community and tries to use my platform to inspire others, and I take ownership to everything that comes with that. And what I did was extremely unacceptable.
I’m a father to two beautiful daughters, and at their age I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.
The fact that during this whole process, I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke was really on me. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this. And to the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this as well: Don’t be like me, be better than me.
And to the reporters, to the journalists, to the moms, the supermoms, to the daughters, the sisters, and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologize and hope you can find the kindness in your hearts to forgive me. Thank you.
You can watch the whole press conference here.
BuzzFeed News has sought further comment from Rodrigue.