The statement also said: “This afternoon, I did my job as an N.F.L. beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. 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.”
There may have been a second meeting between Newton and Rodrigue, according to a statement sent to Rapoport from the Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond. The statement said: “I have spoken with Jourdan and Cam and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team.”
The Associated Press reported that Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of The Observer, had characterized Newton’s comments as “unfortunate and out of line.” The N.F.L., through its spokesman, Brian McCarthy, issued a statement that said: “The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.”
Poor behavior by Newton at a news conference is hardly new. He famously pouted through his interview session after Carolina lost badly to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
But this particular incident comes as women are being given bigger roles on sports broadcasts. And Rodrigue, who has been covering the Panthers for The Observer for more than a year, is one of dozens of female beat reporters and columnists currently covering the N.F.L.
Newton, who is returning from off-season shoulder surgery, has led the Panthers to a 3-1 record and is coming off his best game of the season, in which he threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-30 victory over the New England Patriots.
In that game, Newton joined in the recent leaguewide protests by raising his left fist after a touchdown, echoing a gesture made famous by civil rights activists in the 1960s.
“It was to signify black power,” Newton told reporters after the game, “but more important, I pray every night for God to give me a pinnacle to give people hope.”
Newton has yet to publicly comment on Wednesday’s incident.