Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton lost his Dannon endorsement deal after making sexist remarks to Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue during a news conference last Wednesday, but it appears the company has quickly found a replacement.
One day after saying, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like … it’s funny,” Dannon dropped Newton, who was the pitchman for their subsidiary Oikos.
“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,” read a statement from Dannon released in the wake of Newton’s comments. “We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”
So yeah, take a good look at the ad below, because Dannon will likely be replacing it and any accompanying ads very soon.
Newton released an official apology for his Neanderthal-like remarks Thursday, and some of Rodrigue’s previous racist tweets were brought to light also, although the latter received far less coverage. The Panthers QB also revealed he’d lost additional sponsorships besides Dannon.
The refrigerated dairy company moved quickly and reportedly signed Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to replace Newton. The move should be familiar territory for Prescott, who already has endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Beats.
According to ESPN, no NFL player has more endorsement deals than Prescott, and a cursory glance at his Twitter feed backs up that statement. Sponsored tweets from Keurig, AT&T and other companies dominate Prescott’s timeline. The Dallas QB is reportedly shooting his first commercial this week with Dannon, as the company continues to distance itself from Newton by removing existing advertisements.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has found himself in hot water after delivering a sexist remark in response to a female beat writer's question. On Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer asked Newton about his teammate, wide receiver Devin Funchess, embracing “the physicality of his routes” and wondered if seeing him play that way gave him “a little bit of enjoyment?”
Look, I'm not an NFL quarterback and even I know his response should've been a simple “yes” followed by a couple lines praising Funchess' recent play. Instead, Newton responded, “It's funny to hear a female talk about routes.” Cam's response was met by silence from every single reporter, which led Newton to double down on his ignorant statement, adding, “It's funny.”
Here's the thing, Cam: literally no one else found it funny. Women covering sports dragged him for his stupidity.
The 2016-17 NFL season featured one of the most exciting endings in NFL history. After falling behind 28-3 to the Falcons in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51, the Patriots came storming back to win 34-28 in overtime in improbable fashion. It helped Tom Brady earn his fifth Super Bowl victory, and it solidified the Patriots as the cream of the crop in the NFL. It also robbed Matt Ryan and the Falcons of the chance to win their first Super Bowl ever.
It’s going to be tough for the NFL to top that ending this season, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to try. On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Patriots will host the Chiefs on the NFL’s opening night and jump start what should be another exciting season for NFL fans. As we prepare to dive headfirst into NFL action, we decided to step back for a moment and assess what should be the biggest stories heading into the new NFL year. Here are the three storylines to look out for this season if you are an NFL fan.
Can anyone beat the Patriots?
The Patriots may have won the Super Bowl in February, but that didn’t stop them from making a few major moves during the offseason to get even better than they already were. They worked out a trade with the Saints that netted them speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and they also signed former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a deal in free agency. Additionally, they’ll get Rob Gronkowski back after he sat the end of last season with a back injury.
The Patriots did suffer a huge setback during the preseason when wide receiver Julian Edelman went down with a season-ending ACL injury. But even without Edelman in the lineup, New England is still the team to beat in the AFC this season. They should be able to cruise to the top of the AFC East and clinch a playoff berth early, and once they’re there, they’ll likely be favored to win all of their postseason games as they head towards another Super Bowl. The Raiders, Steelers, and potentially even the Broncos, Titans, and Ravens could present problems for the Patriots. But they will once again be the team to beat.
Will the Falcons be able to bounce back from their devastating Super Bowl loss?
Historically, teams that lose in the Super Bowl struggle during the following season. Cam Newton and the Panthers made a trip to Super Bowl 50 in February 2016, but after losing to the Broncos, they went just 6-10 last season and finished at the bottom of the AFC South while their division rivals, the Falcons, went to the Super Bowl.
This season, it will be the Falcons trying to overcome a Super Bowl hangover—and it’s not going to be easy for them to do. Unlike the Panthers, the Falcons probably should have won the Super Bowl if not for a big blown lead during the second half of the game. So they’re going to have to shake off whatever negative feelings they have heading into the season and find a way to put Super Bowl LI in the past.
The good news for the Falcons is that they’ve got all of their major weapons back this year. Matt Ryan will still be lining up under center and playing quarterback. Julio Jones will still be presenting matchup nightmares for opposing cornerbacks at the wide receiver position. And Devonta Freeman, who signed a contract in August making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, will still be running all over the field for the Falcons. Plus, Atlanta will begin playing at their brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which should take their minds off what happened in the Super Bowl.
But still, it’s hard to imagine them not thinking about the Super Bowl loss from time to time, and it could impact them this season. And if they struggle because of it, could you even blame them?
Which rookie quarterback will prove to be the best of the bunch?
There are at least four rookie quarterbacks that could see some playing time this season. DeShone Kizer has already been named the starting QB for the Browns after beating out Brock Osweiler in training camp. But Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was taken No. 2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could play in regular-season games as well.
None of the four are expected to have the kind of impact that then-rookie Dak Prescott had for the Cowboys last season. But then again, no one saw Prescott having the impact he did, so who knows? Maybe Kizer will end up leading the Browns to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth just like Prescott did for Dallas last season!
Er, or maybe not. But chances are, at least one of these rookie QBs is going to make his team’s fan base very happy this season. Which one ultimately has the most success is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be fun to see how productive they are when they finally take the field for their respective teams.
ASAP Rocky has convinced the world that New York artists could sound like they’re from Houston, shown that rappers could dress like they stepped off a Paris runway, designed sneakers with Adidas and Jeremy Scott, and modeled for Dior. But now he's signed himself up for one of the biggest tasks of his career: making Under Armour relevant in the world that he's dominated for much of this decade.
By most mainstream measures, Under Armour already is “cool.” They've snatched up big names in sports like Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth, Cam Newton, and Aaron Judge, and the brand’s on-field success has been nothing short of impeccable. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been quite enough to give the brand cultural impact that transcends beyond professional sports.
The brand is clearly hoping to change that. It was reported on July 8 that Rocky had signed a multi-year deal with the Maryland sportswear company to work on lifestyle product for its UAS range, which is directed by fashion designer Tim Coppens and focuses apparel and sneakers that don’t feature the Under Armour logo — something that's driven style-oriented people away from the brand in the past.
It’s been the butt of many Internet jokes in recent times, most notably its all-white Steph Curry sneakers, and its move to bring Rocky onboard is a clear sign that it’s trying to chase a different consumer; one that’s eschewed its shoes for Nike and Adidas. It’s already worn by suburban dads and young teens who actually play basketball, but convincing everyone else to buy into the sneakers is a different story.
It was once controversial to claim that artists and musicians are the new athletes in the footwear industry, but Kanye West and Adidas (followed by a whole host of other entertainers and companies) have proved that notion wrong. Yeezys are flying off shelves at a breakneck pace while LeBrons are collecting dust and going on sale. And Under Armour’s move of signing Rocky proves that even the most sports-focused company realizes that it needs to get younger and hipper to grab its stake in the shoe game. The company has already signed The Rock to a big deal, but it didn’t make an impact with the cool-guy demographic, an audience that it so desperately wants to resonate with. It won’t, however, be as seamless as attaching one of the biggest names in hip-hop to a sneaker brand and watching the money roll in. Rocky is going to have to work his ass off to make this partnership truly work.
If anyone thinks Rocky’s contribution, in terms of influence, is insignificant, consider this for a second: With 6.3 million instagram followers, he has nearly twice as many as Under Armour’s main account.
Let’s think of the possibilities for a second. If Rocky is able to create product that truly inspires his fan base, there’s no way that it’s not going to sell out, and it will only create a snowball effect for Under Armour. Don’t believe me? You’d be hard-pressed to find a high percentage of the Yeezy/Boost fanboys who owned a pair of sneakers with Three Stripes on them prior to Kanye and Adidas working together in 2015, but now the brand has, literally, boosted its sales and has overtaken Nike and Jordan Brand in terms of resonance with the millennial audience.
It’s not going to be easy, though. This isn’t Under Armour’s first foray into lifestyle product. It’s made luxury, off-court sneakers for Steph Curry and even launched them at leading boutique Concepts. The brand made a huge push behind its Tim Coppens line, too, and it’s just fallen flat. It even has Migos promoting the label, but they haven’t consistently worn the product in the public eye and it’s failed to make a huge impact. Rocky could change all of that. His connection as a designer/signature artist is much greater than paying him to simply wear Under Armour. People have spouted on social media that they’re already going to buy their first pair of Under Armours, but all of that will be proven when his shoes finally are available at retail.
What makes Rocky’s partnership with the brand intriguing is that he’s notorious for being someone who won’t wear or co-sign anything that he’s not truly into. It’s likely that he sees this opportunity as a chance to boost his profile as someone who’s taken seriously as a designer in the style world, and who doesn’t want their name attached to a commercially successful sneaker? Imagine if Under Armour lets him design a sneaker for Steph Curry to wear during the All-Star Game? That’s visibility that even his music, likely, won’t achieve. But these are all what-ifs. It all starts with making a good pair of shoes, and the rest will follow.