Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton apologised for his "degrading and disrespectful" word choice when he said it was "funny" to hear a female reporter ask about pass routes in the NFL.
Newton sparked outrage on Wednesday after making a seemingly sexist comment to Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue.
The Panthers quarterback tweeted his apology via a video on Thursday following the backlash.
"After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women. To be honest, that was not my intentions," Newton said. "If you were a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologise 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. I take ownership to everything that comes with that. What I did was extremely unacceptable."
Rodrigue had asked Newton a question about Panthers receiver Devin Funchess on Wednesday.
"I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well. Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards," Rodrigue began. "Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him truck-sticking people?"
Before giving his answer, however, Newton said, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like that. It's funny."
Rodrigue was not amused, tweeting afterwards: "I don't think it's 'funny' to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job."
The comment set off a stir league-wide with the NFL, Pro Football Writers of America and the Association for Women in Sports Media all denouncing his comment as disrespectful and condescending. Newton also lost his endorsement deal with Dannon Yogurt.
"I'm a father to two beautiful daughters and, at their age, I try to instil in them that they can do and be anything they want to be," Newton continued. "The fact that, during this whole process I've already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realise that the joke is really on me. I learned a valuable lesson from this. To the young people who see this, I hope 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 — super-moms — to the daughters, the sisters and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologise and hope you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me."
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