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Cam Newton: Was paying female reporter compliment, but 'sarcasm' failed

DETROIT -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said following Sunday's win at Detroit that he was trying to give a compliment with "sarcasm'' earlier in the week when he laughed at the question of a female reporter.

"It was a lesson learned for me this whole week,'' Newton said after he threw three touchdown passes in a 27-24 victory. "My sarcasm trying to give somebody kind of a compliment turned in ways I never would have even imagined.''

On Wednesday, Newton made light of Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue when she asked a question about receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of routes and whether Newton got enjoyment out of that.

Newton laughed and responded, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like ... it's funny."

That started a firestorm around Newton that led Dannon Oikos Yogurt, one of the many companies the 2015 NFL MVP represents in commercials, to announce that it no longer would work with Newton and that his commercials would be pulled.

ESPN's Adam Schefter, citing a source, reported Sunday that Dannon would replace Newton with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

Coach Ron Rivera said Thursday that Newton "made a mistake'' with his conduct toward Rodrigue. That evening, Newton released a video on social media apologizing for what he called "extremely degrading and disrespectful'' comments. He did not mention Rodrigue by name in the video.

Rivera said Friday that Newton's apology was "something that needed to be said'' and that he hoped everyone could move forward from here.

Asked what the past week was like, Newton said, "it's irrelevant.''

"We're moving forward and just getting ready for Thursday now,'' he said of a primetime home game against Philadelphia, which, like Carolina, is 4-1. "At the end of the day, you still have to be a professional about certain things. With me and the preparation, it couldn't stop.

"So I couldn't feel sorry for myself knowing that certain things took place that was out of my control. But at the end of the day, you live and you learn.''

Rodrigue did not attend Sunday's game. Charlotte Observer executive sports editor Mike Persinger said she "is taking some time off.''

Newton arrived at Ford Field with a pin in his hat showing the image of "Rosie the Riveter'' from the iconic "We Can Do It'' poster. "Rosie the Riveter'' was a symbol of feminism and women's economic power during the World War II era.

"I was trying to find a way to kind of hint a notion to all the women,'' Newton said. "I did my homework on her and her impact on World War II. Not only on her, but all the women and females who played a big impact in creating equipment for World War II.

"It was symbolization for inferior and strong women.''