The American Irony of Insults
Cam Newton and Political Correctness
This week while conducting a press conference for the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton was asked a question by The Charlotte Observer's team reporter Jourdan Rodrigue. The question dealt with the specifics of wide receiver Devin Funchess' route running and Newton immediately smiled, and when she finished her question, he commented that it was funny hearing a female talk about players running routes. From what I observed I thought he was pleasantly surprised that she had put that much thought into the question, and he respectfully gave her a well thought out answer. His answer in no way demeaned the question nor did he brush it off. For some reason though, she took offense to the fact that he called her a female. In fact, calling a woman a female was so insulting that Dannon Yogurt decided to drop their sponsorship deal with Newton immediately.
Let me give you a brief history of how women have evolved to this level of acceptance in sports reporting. In 1974 Phyllis George became the first female to appear on NFL broadcasts. George was the winner of the 1971 Miss America pageant, so it was a major shock to male sports fans to see her on television talking professional football, and her lack of knowledge of the game was obvious. There was no doubt that she was hired for her beauty and not her brain. Her commentary was scripted and restricted, not thoughts off the top of her head.
In 1978, George was replaced by Jayne Kennedy, who had won the Miss Ohio beauty pageant in 1970. Kennedy was the first African American to win that title. She became the second woman to host The NFL Today, and obviously the first African American to be featured as a female sports commentator. Aside from her beauty, Kennedy possessed more sports knowledge than George and was able to talk football with the guys on the panel as well as the players.
From that point on, we started seeing women obtaining jobs in sports broadcasting covering all sports. Not all of them were knowledgeable about the sports they were covering, but they knew enough to hold the audience's attention. Eventually female reporters evolved to the point where they won the right to enter men's locker rooms immediately following men's games, claiming that being barred kept them from getting the story and immediate emotion of the game that male reporters were getting.
Nowadays almost every football broadcast has a female involved in some way. You have sideline reporters, pregame hosts, and even women calling the games. When I worked at a sports broadcasting station two years ago in Atlanta, there were female reporters, some of whom you see on major networks today, that really surprised me with their sports knowledge. They really study their craft to be in the position they are in today. Maybe that's why I am not as shocked as most people are at Cam's comment, because as I said, it was really a well thought out question he had never heard coming from a female, and I truly think he meant it as a compliment instead of than an insult. Now before you all jump on me for my opinion, let's look at some of the press conferences that are held by players and coaches following a loss.
Almost every coach has responded to a dumb question posed by male reporters and have called them out for asking such a dumb question, snapped off a vicious remark, and have ended the interviews by walking out. Remember the famous emotional rants by Denny Green, Jim Mora, and Allen Iverson over questions they thought were inappropriate at the time? Bill Belichick and Greg Popovich are known for lambasting reporters who ask stupid questions.
Not only are the coaches subjected to dumb questions at the end of games, football coaches are caught coming off the field at halftime and NBA coaches are caught at the end of the first and third quarter. Everyone is waiting to see what Popovich has to say, or how quickly he will brush off the reporter. So these reporters, male and female alike, work hard to come up with a question that is not the usual cliche, and does not solicit the usual cllche response.
Cam Newton made the mistake of calling Jourdan Rodrigue a female and everyone is jumping down his throat. How dare you call that woman a female! But wait a minute. It is now being reported that Rodrigue used a racial slur toward a Nascar driver in a tweet in 2013. Her exact words were:
"The Earth moves at 450+mph thats 10 times triller than Nascar Dale Earnharts a bitch nigga"
So Rodrigue gets offended by being called a female, but she freely used a racial slur in a tweet, describing who knows what. She even admitted to tweeting other racial slurs she claims were uttered by her father. Isn't it ironic that a white woman can be offended by a black man calling her a female, when she has used the term "bitch nigga" in digital print as well? Newton lost a sponsorship but she still has her job. I guess a racial slur is not offensive as calling a woman a female. While we are on the subject of offending females, let's take a look at another offender.
Donald Trump has a long history of making derogatory comments toward women in public and on twitter. Most were made before he was elected to the highest office in the country, which must make it ok to offend women if you are a rich white man. He even said so himself on tape, claiming that being famous allowed him to grab women by their pussy. His most notable insult while holding office came against Mika Brzezinski of "The Morning Joe" television show. Here is the exact quote where he insults her looks and intelligence:
"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"
That's right, the man holding the highest office in the country can offend women publicly with rude insults and not issue an apology. but let a black man call a woman a female and all of America wants to have him lose everything. He even issued an apology and it is being scrutinized for its sincerity. Isn't it ironic that in America we hold a black athlete who called a woman a female to a higher standard than we do the president who insults women with derogatory comments and calls NFL players sons of bitches?