Sexism has been a major problem in America, starting all the way back when the country first came to be. It is a sad truth some do not want to hear. Men have always been perceived as being superior to women, even when there are undeniable cases proving the opposite. No matter how hard women have fought over time to earn equality and the same level of respect as their male counterparts, there is always going to be people who look down on women and see them as lesser individuals.
Such was the case when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton acted like a condescending jerk to a female reporter. Charlotte Observer reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, was doing her job when she asked Newton a question about one of his teammate’s route. Being the “professional gentleman” that he clearly is, Newton responded to the reporter by saying that it was “funny to hear a female” talk about routes.
Why did he respond that way to the reporter when she was trying to ask him a question? That would be the million-dollar question if the answer was not so obvious. In an environment fueled by testosterone, such as the football field, most male players ride on big egos and the idea that they are part of a superior group of individuals. There are probably some players who honor women and see them as deserving of respect, but football players are not known to have that kind of mentality.
Back in 2016, a video was posted online titled “#MoreThanMean.” The video depicted men having to face two different female sports reporters, Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro, and read out loud all of the nasty tweets that these reporters receive on a daily basis on Twitter. The video is an uncomfortable watch, as it shows that these two female sports reporters receive some of the most vulgar, cruel and unkind responses from people online simply because they are doing their job. This video is not the only one of its kind as there are a variety of videos which display the abuse female journalists have to endure because them being reporters makes others feel insecure about themselves.
Newton has rightfully received backlash for his comments, even losing a sponsor who stood against the comment that the quarterback made. On top of that, Newton has actually apologized for the inappropriate comment. But, once again, this situation is not really about Newton, as it is about the larger problem of sexism that still exists in American culture.
The timing of Newton’s comment could not be more appropriate given the release of the new sports drama, “Battle Of The Sexes.” This movie is based on tennis icon Billie Jean King, who fought to break down barriers for women in the world of sports. King’s fight for equal pay between men and women still rages on today, even in the world of tennis.
Maybe there is something I just do not see that others do, but I can not find any real reason why women are still denied the same level of respect as their male counterparts in the world of sports. Female reporters still get far more disrespect than their male counterparts and female athletes are still fighting to get equal pay. The fact that women in the sports world continue to face these issues in 2017 is absolutely ridiculous.
I am not even an ultra-progressive kind of guy because I feel that our culture has gotten a little too politically correct. I love to hear an intelligently constructed joke that pokes fun at different aspects of American culture.
However, what Cam Newton did was not a case of a person making a politically incorrect joke. This is not just a case of a football player being silly and putting his foot in his mouth. Newton’s snide attitude toward Rodrigue painted the disheartening picture that there are still many men in the world of sports who feel like they do not have to take women as seriously as they would a man. Women are not sub-par citizens to be hissed at by “Panthers” like Newton. It is my hope that this situation makes more people realize the importance of supporting women in the sports world with their continuous fight for respect.