Cam Newton, aka THE WORST.

Ron Clements/Omnisport

Perhaps you are already aware of the exchange between certified manbaby mediocre Carolina Panthers quarterback (who is mostly terrible at actually throwing the ball) Cam Newton and Jourdan Rodrique (Name All-Star, by the way). Just in the event that you are not, here’s what happened:

Cam did two things that a lot of us guys do:

  1. He seemed “shocked that a woman (nevermind that she’s a beat reporter for the newspaper based in the city that the Panthers play) would mention something as “football-like” as routes. Quick note: if you watch the 4,289,323 hours of football shows on TV, you might hear route running mentioned three or four times. Tops. Other quick note: Are we sure that Cam actually *knows* football stuff?
  2. He used the word “female” as a noun, which is one of the dog whistles black men often use when referring to any woman. Nevermind that there are plenty of documented instances where we have been told that using the word “female” is not okay.

I should also remind you that this is actually not the first time that Cam has been condescending to a woman asking a simple question! (Fast forward to the 2:15 mark) So maybe this isn’t that shocking/disappointing. Cam is being himself, I suppose. Really, the only thing missing is his horrific Instagram font! But of course, the bigger problem is that this is pretty typical of men in general when it comes to women and sports. A quick Twitter search for Cam will find you some garbage defenses. Of course, none of those defenses are that shocking.

It’s not good for anyone that one of the faces of the league seems to have such disregard for women. And let’s not try to dance around this–that’s what Cam did today. He showed a complete disregard for Jourdan, and I highly doubt that he would have had a similar response if David Newton asked it. Of course, if this is how Cam responds, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that there are many other NFL players who don’t take women seriously. Heh, this is the NFL we’re talking about. A league that will be adorned in pink all month, but will do their best to cover up what really happened in a domestic violence incident.

Okay, so some of that may be reaching. But what isn’t reaching is how Cam’s response today is the subtle stuff that always happens. And it usually goes unchecked. It’s like your co-worker cracking jokes about homosexuals. Or your family member bemoaning people who don’t speak English very well. Or your hairdresser joking about flying on a plane with a Muslim person. It’s never “meant” to be offensive. But it is. Cam deserves to be called out today. And until he demonstrates a pattern of changed behavior when interacting with female reporters, I have no reason to believe that he will ever change.

*     *     *

Last note: I didn’t really want to make this post about me, but I can’t help but take stuff like what Cam did personal, and I’m not even a woman. My first significant sports memory was watching the Super Bowl. The only reason I watched was because my sister suggested it. I watched the NBA Finals for the first time with my mom. I liked baseball so much because my sister suggested that we have favorite teams. I picked the Braves, who happened to be on television all the time. My love for wrestling and NASCAR came from watching both at my grandma’s house. I would not be the sports aficionado that I am if it for women. Yet all I see us men do is act like we cannot be bothered anytime a woman even remotely shows interest in sports of any kind. We hold the keys. I know that personally, my life has only been made better from interacting with women about sports on any front. We have to do better as men to weed out those among us who try to keep women out. We have to call dudes out who ignore/condescend women or try to make them prove their sports prowess. Who knows if we as men will step up. But it’s worth a shot to try.

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