Well it is, isn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that what he said was out of line and sexist but; what else should he have said? In a sport where men make up 70% of the NFL’s management staff, it’s not hard to imagine that, even if he had not said what he said, he certainly is immersed in an environment that thinks it. So bare with me as I explain:
Cam Newton is not pardoned from his actions that clearly perpetuate an already demeaning stereotype for women but; I would like to point out that he is currently a poster-child for a more deeply underlying issue; but first, let us lighten the mood by, playing a game!
The name of this game is called: Is That Cam Newton’s Fault?
Jourdan Rodrigue, the reporter who Cam Newton disrespected during his interview, is undoubtedly very skilled at her job; but, then again, she has to be. You see, for a woman in sports journalism, moving up the ranks is not very easy. Certain positions women aren’t given an even chance to earn. For example, when it comes to the voices you hear over the radio or on television, especially in male sports, chances are, you’re not listening the voice of a woman.
Is that Cam Newton's Fault?
If a camera were to pan over to a room full of reporters during an after-game press conference, the women to men ratio would probably be a bit staggering. Men far outweighing their respective female counterparts.
Is that Cam Newton’s Fault?
You are expected as a woman, to of course, look a certain way. Then, and only then, might you see screen time as perhaps, the moderator of a sports talk show that is still, you guessed it, dominated by men. Regardless of a woman’s knowledge of sports, the opportunities for her to fully express that knowledge is, quite simply, not there.
Is that Cam Newton’s fault?
For the many individuals who make it a point to hide behind screen solely for the purpose to disrespect women in sports, well, that’s nothing new. As a woman who both knows and plays sports, as well as having played tackle football with women who are also very knowledgeable, even I can’t escape the reality of what Cam Newton has said is so common that it’s actually expected. I’ve heard men, who are in my own life, say similar things to me. I’ve heard men say similar things to and about other women. I read it online everyday! But for some reason, this time it’s different. Today we’re offended by what is normal; which isn’t a bad thing, just odd.
Which reminds me, have you ever journeyed to the comment section of a female sports analyst’s latest social media post? Or perhaps, the comment section during or following a show she appeared on? These comments can range from harmless to flat out sexual harassment. You can expect to find her being called every name but her own and being talked about in every context but those related to sports. Yet usually, no one speaks up for those women. In truth, where there isn’t support for women, they themselves are told to develop a thicker skin. And we do; we have no other choice. But one must wonder, how hard would it be for a male co-host to take a few moment out of a show to say something as simple as “Hey, this is our female co-host, have some goddamn respect when you speak about her.” How hard is it to make jobs more readily available, not because we’re women, but because we’re ready. Because, in this particular situation, unlike women, men do have that power. Use it! Every time a man fails to use his platform and authority for something positive, he leaves room for a comment such as “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes...” That void that allows negativity to reside is everyone's fault. But when it comes to Cam Newton, we are always quicker to kill the messenger, than those who allowed him to speak. Which brings me to my final point.
Why is everyone really so upset now?
Why are we really so outraged by one singular statement by one man? I ask because we don’t usually get upset over the other common problems dealing with women in sports. Do we feel this way simply because it was put into the open for all of to witness? You know what’s funny about the things we know everyone else knows about? That seems to be the time when everyone has their most heroic opinions. You know, “the right side of history” opinions that aren’t normally found in everyday conversations. Which is why I ask, why are we upset now? Are we angry because it was offensive? Are we angry because it was Cam Newton? Are we angry because this is what’s trending? Are we angry just until things blow over?
Or are we angry enough for change?
Are we angry enough to challenge the underlying culture surrounding women in sports journalism? My problem is this: until we get serious about what’s really going on, I can’t expend the energy to be mad at Cam Newton. Because to what end will it be validated? Until we get serious about women's current situation in sports, it will always be said, whether publicly or internally.
“It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes...”
If nothing changes, isn’t it?