Under-fire Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has issued a video apology in the wake of a sexism storm, labelling his own comments "extremely degrading and disrespectful to women".
Newton attracted widespread criticism over a bizarre press conference incident in which he made a condescending remark to a female NFL journalist.
Asked by Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue about teammate Devin Funchess and the way he runs pass routes, Newton said, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes."
The stinging backlash came quickly, with one of the quarterback's sponsors, Yoghurt maker Dannon, on Thursday dropping Newton as a spokesman.
Newton released a video on Twitter and Facebook in which he apologised for any offence caused.
"I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women. And to be honest, that was not my intentions. And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologise to you," Newton said.
"I'm a man who tries to be a positive role model to my community and tries to use my platform to inspire others. I take ownership to everything that comes with that. And what I did was extremely unacceptable. I'm a father to two beautiful daughters. And at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.
"And the fact that during this whole process, I've already lost sponsors and countless fans. I realise that the joke is really on me. And I've learned a valuable lesson from this.
"And to the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this as well. Don't be like me. Be better than me. And to the reporters to the journalists to the moms - super moms - to the daughters, the sisters, and the women all around the world, I sincerely apologise and hope you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me. Thank you."
Dannon signed Newton to endorse the brand in 2015, the same year he led the Panthers into Super Bowl 50 where they lost to Denver.
"We are shocked and disheartened at the behaviour and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women," said Michael Neuwirth, Dannon's senior director of external communications.
"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.
The NFL also condemned Newton's remarks.
"The comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Observer.
"They do not reflect the thinking of the league."