New York Daily News

No Cam do! Yanks say don’t be like Newton

- BY MARK FEINSAND

TAMPA — Kids everywhere want to be like Cam Newton. The Yankees are telling their players the exact opposite.

Newton’s postgame press conference following Super Bowl 50 caught the eye of Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ executive director of communicat­ions, who is using the brief, dismissive session following the Panthers’ loss to the Broncos as a prime example of how not to handle yourself with the media.

The fact that Newton’s less-than-impressive postgame performanc­e came only one year after Russell Wilson’s impeccable handling of the media after he threw a late intercepti­on in the previous Super Bowl paints a perfect picture of how to handle yourself and how not to.

“That’s something everybody should see,” Zillo said of Newton’s highly criticized interview. “It’s made more impactful when you parlay it with what the quarterbac­k did 12 months prior in the exact same position after throwing an intercepti­on at the goal line.”

Zillo has been running the team’s media training sessions for the last decade, educating players about dealing with the large New York press corps. All players go through the program, while players with less than four years of big-league service time are put through additional sessions.

“This is a different market,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You’re going to deal with a lot more media people than you do in other places, so we think it’s important that we prepare them as much as possible.”

The sessions include videos, role-play exercises in which players act as media members and conduct interviews with each other, and even Q&A sessions with beat reporters. The videos can show as many as 50 or 60 different clips of infamous interviews, showing both the right and wrong way to handle different situations.

The video — which is shown to all players at some point during the first two weeks of camp — features clips going back several decades. Zillo noted that more than 20 years later, the tape of Lawrence Taylor choking a reporter in 1995 still resonates with players.

“Things that are topical are great, but we've been doing it so long, now we have a treasure trove of clips,” Zillo said. “(The Taylor clip) is from 20 or 30 years ago, but those guys have never seen it. That’s a timeless piece, to see a guy lose his temper and act completely inappropri­ate.”

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