CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Yogurt maker Dannon said Thursday that it's splitting with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton over "sexist" comments he made Wednesday to a Charlotte Observer reporter.
At a news conference Wednesday, Newton belittled Jourdan Rodrigue, one of two Observer beat writers covering the Panthers for the past year, saying: "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes." The remarks have spurred a national backlash.
Dannon signed Newton in 2015 to endorse its Greek yogurt, in an effort to win more NFL fans as customers.
Michael Neuwirth, senior director of external communications for Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, issued this statement Thursday:
"We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women. It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It's simply not OK to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him."
Newton also has endorsement deals with Under Armour, Gatorade and Beats by Dre.
Newton also had a deal with Belk, the Charlotte retailer that carries his fashion line. A spokesman said the contract ended in January, and there are no plans to renew it.
Carlos Fleming, Newton's agent, told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Dannon "has not terminated the agreement, nor do they have grounds to." Fleming could not immediately be reached for comment.
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