Atlanta Falcons: Open Letter Response To Roddy White

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 27: Roddy White
ATLANTA - DECEMBER 27: Roddy White /

It’s not “funny to hear a female talk about routes.” At all.

Dear Mr. White,

“Wow. You really do know football.”  “That’s impressive for a girl!” “That’s sexy.” These are just a few of the countless responses that I receive when I meet people and discuss football. And, to be very honest, these are comments that I hear nearly everyday in private, public, and professional settings alike.

Comments such as these have unfortunately become to-be-expected and very common; particularly in male-dominated fields. However, that doesn’t make them “okay” or “normal”. Furthermore, despite being followed by a smile or chuckle, these comments are NOT jokes nor are they funny.

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Now, my intention in writing this letter is not to bash you, Cam Newton, or anyone else that thinks it’s “funny to hear a female talk about routes”. Nor is it my intention to start a coalition against you or new-wave feminism. In fact, I very much believe in and value the First Amendment and the opportunities it provides for us to express our individual beliefs freely as that allows us to grow and learn from each other. I’m simply explaining why people (keyword: people; both men and women) are, as you put it, “making a fuss” about Cam Newton’s comment that it’s “funny” hearing women talk about routes.

"So, why are they mad? After all, Newton was laughing and smirking as he made the remark. Therefore, it’s obviously a joke. Right?"


Consider this analogy. You order a mug set and food delivery that you very much like and want. You’re excited for it to arrive and therefore, you open the package as soon as you get it but the mugs are shattered; your food and coffee is spilled all over the bag; and now, you’re understandably disappointed and frustrated. This isn’t what you paid for!

Well, technically it is. The contents of the package are the contents you paid for. The delivery method is what you paid for.  However, the condition and quality of the services provided aren’t what you expected and not worth the money spent. And the situation is certainly a frustrating one and one that might cause you to “make a fuss”; demand a refund or reshipment; and perhaps even call the company’s headquarters to file a complaint (a measure that others might think is funny, silly, “too extra”, or uncalled for). Yet, it’s important and worth the fuss to you.

As the analogy demonstrates, proper delivery is very important and equally, if not more, important are the contents of the package. The content dictates delivery. If the contents aren’t of good value, that negatively effects the entire package.

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Cam Newton didn’t deliver broken items. But his delivery was not appropriate for the contents of his message and reciprocally, the content in his remarks were not of good value; thereby, decreasing the value of his presence and even causing him to lose a sponsorship with Dannon. Now, I don’t pay Newton’s salary so what he, or any other player, says doesn’t directly impact me financially. However, from my experience in the industry, I’ve witnessed the reach of actions and words made by NFL players, coaches and officials and the impact of that on people that are so far from football.

It is for this very reason that I am compelled to write this open letter and connect the NFL to the public so that each side can understand the opposite point of view. You, Cam Newton, and many others laughed at his remarks for a reason. Perhaps it was because Newton himself laughed during the comments or perhaps it’s because you didn’t think he actually believed it’s funny for women to discuss routes.

Regardless of the execution and your interpretation of Newton’s remarks, his remarks are what they are. The contents are the contents. The words in his message were offensive, disrespectful, and uncalled for. They were neither funny; silly; or amusing. Newton’s words didn’t reflect him being caught off guard by a question; rather, his “joke” appeared to be a comical comeback to a “joke of a question.”

This incident is a significant reminder of an issue that still exists: inequality, gender bias, and sexism in our community, perhaps most prevelant in the workplace. Despite the turn of centuries; career advances; and the routes paved by our pioneer and fore(wo)men, we still have ways to go. As we’ve seen many times in the past, and now with recent events, there’s power in numbers.

As we’ve seen many times in the past, and now with recent events, there’s power in numbers and unity. I truly hope that this letter enlightens you and others and demonstrates that varying opinions are absolutely fine, disrespectful comments aren’t.

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Respectively and candidly,


What are your thoughts on Cam Newton‘s remarks? Let us know by commenting below!