Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was criticized on social media and by the NFL Wednesday after telling a female reporter it was "funny" to hear her ask a question about route-running.
Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess, to which the former league MVP smiled and said, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes. It's funny."
After Newton's comments, he proceeded to answer Rodrigue's question.
Rodrigue responded to Newton on Twitter, posting "I don't think it's 'funny' to be a female and talk about routes. I think it's my job."
Carolina spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement to The Associated Press that Newton had a conversation with Rodrigue after the news conference ended and expressed regret for his remarks.
Drummond said the Panthers "strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team."
Rodrigue fired back with a statement of her own, saying that she was "dismayed" by Newton's comments, which she said "not only belittled me, but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs."
Rodrigue added that she had sought Newton out after the press conference, but "he did not apologize for his comments."
Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of the Charlotte Observer, said Newton's comments were "unfortunate and out of line."
Late Wednesday, the NFL said Newton's comments were "just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league. They do not reflect the thinking of the league."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.