Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yankees' media conduct video uses Russell Wilson and Cam Newton as 'right and wrong' way to handle press: Report

The New York Yankees are taking dealing with the press seriously this spring training. And, in an effort to prepare players to meet with reporters, the team’s media training staff is using NFL players and other public examples of how to act and how not to act after a disappointing loss.

Last week the team kicked off the first session of media training that the Yankees do every year for their players, a several-day program filled with demonstrations, guest speakers, and two 15-minute videos comprised of clips from athletes interacting with the media past and present.

According to ESPN, one video this year featured NFL quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. The video, shown to pitchers and catchers, compared the way Newton handled his team’s Super Bowl loss this year with the way Wilson dealt with his team’s defeat last year.

Newton received widespread criticism after Super Bowl 50, not because his less-than-stellar performance but because he moped at the podium before abruptly storming out of the post-game press conference.

Wilson, by contrast, answered every reporter’s question and took the blame for his team’s loss to the Patriots in February 2015.

It's no surprise Yankees icon — and poster boy for media savvy — Derek Jeter is featured in one video right after a section called "Everything is Fair Game," and says that players have to take the approach that everyone is watching you at all times, on and off the field.

But it is some of the other examples in the "wrong way" category that have people scratching their heads including one clip of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry — who was caught on camera last April unleashing a rant at an employee of a car towing company.

McHenry mocked the teeth of the employee behind the counter and told the person to, among other things, "lose some weight, baby girl."

And, strangely, they included actor Charlie Sheen's dopey tirade five years ago on ABC, calling some people "droopy-armed children."

According to NJ Advance Media, who sat down with Yankees' public relations director Jason Zillo for an exclusive look at the pair of videos and learn some of the ins and outs of how the Yankees train and handle their players' interactions with the media.

General manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi—the driving forces behind the media training, Zillo said—appear on the videos multiple times along with former players Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte, plus current Yanks Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran, among others.

Some of the most interesting parts of the videos were recent clips from athletes, showcasing both good and bad post-game interviews, according to NJ.com.

And even New Jersey's beloved Lawrence Taylor gets kicked to the bad side.


— Russell Wilson's admission that he threw a bad pass in the Super Bowl a year ago that lost the Seattle Seahawks the game.

 Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy last fall owning up to the ground ball that went under his glove in the World Series.

— Washington Wizards guard John Wall tearing up in a post-game interview not long after a young friend passed away.

— Pettitte's press conference admitting to HGH use.

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh taking blame last month after missing a chip-shot kick to win a playoff game.

— Ron Washington owning up to cocaine use several years ago while with the Texas Rangers.


Cam Newton barely answering questionsto reporters after the Carolina Panthers loss to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl three weeks ago.

— Ex-Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor aggressively confronting a reporter on the field.

— Dallas Cowboys' defensive end Greg Hardy's "no comment, next question" interview with reporters last fall.

— Former big leaguer Pete Rose lying about betting on baseball.

Says Cashman in the video: After games reporters are going to go into a clubhouse looking to talk about what went wrong. Take responsibility, he says.

Even one-time pariah Alex Rodriguez is used in a clip. And if the Yankees and press are loving A-Rod as much as everyone is reporting this spring, those tapes must be working.

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