Dannon drops Cam Newton as yogurt spokesman
Dannon will no longer use Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newtonas a spokeman for its Oikos yogurt, according to a statement from the company's senior director of external communications emailed to media outlets on Thursday.
The split between Newton and the company came after a comment by the former Auburn star during a press conference on Wednesday.
Newton was asked by Jourdan Rodrigue, the Panthers beat writer for the Charlotte Observer: "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. Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him kind of truck-sticking people out there?"
Newton's immediate reply was: "It's funny to hear a female talking about routes."
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton came out of his usual press conference on Wednesday being scorned on social media because of a remark he made in answer to a question asked by a female sportswriter.
Dannon's action came after Newton took a torrent of criticism for the remark in social media.
Newton has served as a spokesperson for Dannon's Oikos line of Greek yogurt since January 2015, appearing in TV ads and other marketing efforts.
"We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women," Michael Neuwirth, senior director of external communications for Dannon, said in an email to USA Todayand ESPN, among other outlets. "It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It's simply not OK to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him."
Carlos Fleming, Newton's marketing agent, told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network: "Dannon has not terminated the agreement, nor do they have grounds to."
ESPN reported Dannon would pay Newton through the end of their contract, but would pull its advertising using him.
Rodrigue said she talked to Newton after the press conference on Wednesday, and the Charlotte Observer reported Newton said maybe he should have said "reporters" instead of "female" in his response. Newton did not apologize to Rodrigue.
On Thursday, though, Rodrigue was apologizing - after the web site Black Sports Online posted tweets from her account from 2012 and 2013 in which she posted about laughing at racist jokes and used a racial epithet in a tweet.
Rodrigue wrote: "I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account from 4/5 years ago. There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize."
Newton is in his seventh season with Carolina since being selected out of Auburn with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. At Auburn, Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy and helped the Tigers win the BCS national-championship with an undefeated record that season.