Friday, October 6, 2017

Apologies from Cam Newton - and from the reporter he insulted

Cam Newton apologized Thursday for his sexist remarks of the day before. As these kinds of apologies go, it was a pretty good one.

I could have done without the obligatory "if I offended" line - you DID offend, Cam - and it would have been nice if he had mentioned the Charlotte Observer reporter by name: Jourdan Rodrigue

Otherwise, though, he seemed genuine, he wasn't reading from notes, he was contrite, he said "the joke is really on me," he mentioned his own daughters and the opportunities he hopes they have to be treated equally, and so on. 

These day-late, dollar-short apologies almost always leave the listener wanting, but Newton did about as well as he could. He was in serious damage-control mode, with one sponsor having already bailed (something he mentioned during his 2-minute speech) and others unhappy. 

Cam Newton certainly isn't "cured" from being a sexist, but he's only 28, and maybe this incident will be the first step toward some enlightenment for him. Most people don't change, but some do.


Meanwhile, in a unique twist, the reporter, Rodrigue, was discovered to have made some tweets 4-plus years ago that had overtones of racism. 

In two of the posts, she suggested that she was enjoying racist jokes her father was making. In the other, she quoted from a Twitter parody account in which the n-word was used. 

Obviously embarrassed given all that had transpired in the previous 24 hours, Rodrigue quickly apologized: "There is no excuse for these tweets and the sentiment behind them. I am deeply sorry."

Rodrigue was 21 when she sent those tweets. That's not an "excuse," just a fact. Most of us did many stupid things when we were only 21. Fortunately for those of us who are older than dirt, social media wasn't around to record everything we said and did or to tempt us into being publicly stupid. 

I mean, the most powerful person in the free world is a little older than 21 ... and he sends dozens of tweets per week that are falsehoods, moronic, sexist, racist, hypocritical, narcissistic, bellicose, or all of the above. Again, not an "excuse" for the reporter, as we all should strive to be better human beings than our dear leader is. (A low bar, indeed.)

Rodrigue has been reporting on the Panthers for about a year now, and I have been impressed with her work - and I am a darn tough grader. She is only 25, and I think she has a bright future. I am glad the Observer didn't overreact by disciplining her (or firing her!), and I hope this experience doesn't hurt her career. Like Cam, she can learn and grow from this.


If I were going to use this as a teaching moment for my kids - or any kids, not to mention plenty of adults - I'd say: 

Do NOT tweet or re-tweet (or Facebook or Instagram or Snap or whatever) anything that could come back to bite you on the tuchis someday ... because it probably will!


I know I'm glad that it isn't easy to come back at me with verifiable proof of some of the stupid crapola I said or did when I was 15 or 18 or 21 or 25 or 28. 

It's bad enough folks can cite all the stupid crapola I said this week!

No comments:

Post a Comment