Jourdan Rodrigue, the Charlotte Observer Carolina Panthers beat reporter who found herself thrust into the spotlight on Wednesday after Panthers quarterback Cam Newton smirked and called it “so funny” to have a “female” ask him about route-running, saw the heat turned on her Thursday.
Individuals with some extra time on their hands dug through Rodrigue’s Twitter history and uncovered three tweets, two of them four years old and one of them almost five years old; in them, Rodrigue said her father was being “super racist” as they drove together, and uses a racial slur in another.
The site blacksportsonline.com has screen grabs of the tweets.
Once the tweets were discovered, Rodrigue composed a short statement of apology and put it on Twitter:
“I apologize for the offensive tweets from my Twitter account for 4/5 years ago. There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry and apologize,” she wrote.
The tweets are bad; that is undeniable, and certainly open Rodrigue up to questions on her true feelings toward the players she covers, the majority of whom are African-American. They are several years old, but at 20- or 21-years-old, as Rodrigue would have been at the time of their writing, she was old enough to know and understand what she was saying, particularly as she recognized her father’s comments as they passed through “Navajo land” were “super racist.”
But – and this seems to be lost on some, judging by Twitter – Rodrigue’s wrong does not negate Newton’s wrong. What Newton said not only was demeaning to Rodrigue, it was also demeaning to the dozens of women who currently cover the NFL on a daily basis, and the millions of female fans who watch games on television and in stadiums every week.
It’s not a competition, and it’s not an actual football game, where two personal fouls cancel each other out. But in this situation, Rodrigue has owned her mistake and apologized, though you can argue that she did so only after the posts were discovered. Newton has not apologized, and anyone with an internet connection can watch the video of what he said.