NFL free agent quarterback Cam Newton took to social media on Friday to explain his comments made earlier this month about women’s role in society, which received heavy criticism.
“I am not sexist and I do believe in equality for all,” Newton wrote on Instagram. “I am sorry for the comments I made last week.”
Newton had come under fire after making comments during a press conference that seemed to suggest that women’s only role in society is as homemakers. Asked about a female reporter who asked him a question about route running, Newton said it was “funny” to hear a woman talk about routes and added that she “do(es) know them, right?” He has also been accused of making sexist remarks in the past.
These comments sparked outrage on social media, with many accusing Newton of sexism. He was also criticized by some for his response to the furor, in which he doubled down on his comments and said that anyone who was offended was “too sensitive.”
In his Instagram post, Newton apologized for those remarks, saying that he “understand(s) that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women.”
“I am deeply sorry for that and I apologize,” he wrote. Despite his apology, Newton says he does not believe that he is sexist.
However, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Newton doubled down on his comments, saying that he is not sexist and that he respects all people. Newton also said that he believes that they “are strong and deserve equal opportunity.” He added that he is committed to learning from his mistakes and being a better person going forward.
“I’m not gonna sit here and say that I am not a sexist, because I know I am,” Newton said in an interview with GQ magazine. “But I do believe that men and women are created equal.”
“I think we have different roles in society, but I do believe that we are equal,” he continued. “And I think that’s something that people don’t wanna hear, especially coming from a black man.” Newton added that he is “very much” a feminist and that he believes in the equality of the sexes.
“I believe that men and women should have equal rights,” he said. “And I think that’s something that, you know, society is starting to see more now.” The 28-year-old also spoke about the importance of teaching young boys to respect women, saying that it is vital to break the cycle of sexism.
“It starts with the youth,” Newton said. “It starts with the younger generation, teaching them what respect looks like, teaching them what a woman should be respected for, and not just because she’s a woman.”
Newton’s comments come amid a wider conversation about sexism in society and the role of women in the workplace. These comments come as Newton remains a free agent, having been released by the Carolina Panthers in March. It is unclear if his recent controversy will impact his ability to find a new team.