NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Internet star Lil Terrio danced with cheerleaders, an Austrian man dressed as Mozart, another guy wore a Waldo costume and Nickelodeon’s Pick Boy was in the house.
Welcome to Media Day, the annual Super Bowl circus.
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More than 6,000 journalists, pseudo-journalists and other credentialed ”media” from all over the world gathered at the home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils to meet the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.
Strange questions were the norm instead of football ones. A man asked Seahawks center Max Unger if he could touch his long, scruffy beard. He said yes. A woman asked Seahawks defensive lineman Brandon Mebane for a kiss. He said no.
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) – Tackle Jonathan Martin says the persistence of vulgar language around the Miami Dolphins made him feel trapped, so he left the team before lodging allegations at the root of a bullying scandal.
Owner Stephen Ross said he’s proud of the way the franchise responded to the case.
Martin’s comments, which aired on ”NBC Nightly News,” came in his first interview since the scandal broke. He left the Dolphins in October and alleged he was harassed daily by teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended for the final eight games.
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) – Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross tried to put a positive spin on the franchise’s direction at a news conference, stressing the need for more organizational harmony and better teamwork.
Then, as the media began to question Ross about Dolphins dysfunction, coach Joe Philbin and executive Dawn Aponte rose from their front-row seats and left.
As Ross said, his team’s teamwork needs work. The owner’s candid comments came during the formal introduction of Dennis Hickey as the team’s general manager.
Hickey replaces Jeff Ireland, who clashed with Philbin and Aponte during the Dolphins’ tumultuous 2013 season, which was rocked by a bullying scandal and a December collapse that cost them a playoff berth.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the NBA All-Star game due to continued pain and swelling in his injured left knee.
The Los Angeles Lakers provided an injury update on the superstar guard, saying Bryant will be out for at least three more weeks before he is re-examined.
Bryant was voted a starter in the All-Star game, which is in New Orleans on Feb. 16 – less than three weeks away. Bryant had previously said he hoped fans wouldn’t vote for him, but the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history was elected to the game for the 16th straight time anyway.
Lakers team physician Steve Lombardo examined Bryant after he returned from the Lakers’ two-week road trip and the results apparently weren’t encouraging.
NEW YORK (AP) – Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks has earned his second All-Star coaching assignment.
Brooks clinched the Western Conference spot when Portland lost to Memphis, guaranteeing the Thunder (36-10) will have a better winning percentage than the Trail Blazers through Sunday.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich is ineligible because he coached the West last year.
CHICAGO (AP) – Calling the NCAA a dictatorship, Northwestern’s quarterback and the United Steelworkers announced plans to form the first labor union for college athletes – the latest salvo in the bruising fight over whether amateur players should be paid.
Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference in Chicago, flanked by leaders of Steelworkers union that has agreed to pay legal bills for the effort. The NCAA and the Big Ten Conference both criticized the move and insisted that college athletes cannot be considered employees.
Colter said the NCAA dictates terms to its hundreds of member schools and tens of thousands of college athletes, leaving players with little or no say about financial compensation questions or how to improve their own safety.
NEW YORK (AP) – Big league pitchers might feel safer on the mound this season.
Major League Baseball has approved a protective cap for pitchers, hoping to reduce the damage from line drives to head that have brought some terrifying and bloody scenes in the last few years.
The heavier and bigger new hat will be available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis. Major leaguers and minor leaguers won’t be required to wear it – comfort is likely to be a primary concern.
The safety plates made by isoBLOX are sewn into the hat and custom fitted. They weigh an extra six to seven ounces – a baseball weighs about five ounces, by comparison – and offer protection to the forehead, temples and sides of the head. They’ll make the hats about a half-inch thicker in the front and around an inch wider on the sides.