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Yankees Tell Players To Act Like Russell Wilson, Not Cam Newton, In Front Of Media

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- For years, the Yankees' policy for players has included rules about having no beards and no long hair. Now it seems as though the team would like players to have no personality, either.

ESPN's Andrew Marchand reported over the weekend that videos were shown to pitchers and catchers at Yankees camp to show them how they should act in front of the media and how they should not act in front of the media.

The positive example came from Russell Wilson in his post-Super Bowl loss press conference. Despite being devastated, and despite being responsible for throwing a goal-line interception to lose the championship, Wilson faced the music and answered questions from reporters.

"I put the blame on me," he said. "I'm the one who threw it."

Contrasting that attitude in Yankees camp was none other than Cam Newton, whose post-Super Bowl loss press conference a few weeks ago resulted in seemingly the entire country wagging a finger at the Panthers quarterback for a lack of class or respect or humility or any other desired trait.

As if Newton wasn't getting criticized by enough people, he can now add the mighty $3.2 billion New York Yankees to the list.

Now, while it's a fair point made by the Yankees to ask their players to not sulk and look like sore losers, it likely did skip the part where Newton graciously congratulated the winning quarterback before leaving the field. But it also seems a bit excessive and perhaps unnecessary.

It's a continuation of a "professional" approach to spring training this year from the Yankees. Last week, an image of the sign in the clubhouse telling players to work hard made its way around the Internet.

It received quite a bit of ridicule for being the plain toast of motivational signs.

The demand for professional behavior extends from the field to the stands, too, as noted by CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara. He picked up on this quote from Yankees COO Lon Trost, who was speaking to WFAN about why the Yankees opted to ban print-at-home tickets, a move Amendolara believed to be intended to prevent fans from buying tickets for less than face value in the secondary market.

"That fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it's frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount," Trost said. "And quite frankly the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that's a frustration to our existing fan base."

Whoa, Nelly! Can't have someone who's never sat in a premium location suddenly sitting in a premium location! That's how rich professionals get infected with that nasty Non-Premium Seat Buyer illness that you always hear about on the news. Yuck!

Add it all up, and it's clear that the Yankees are heading into 2016 with the intention of being a professional organization on the field, in press conferences, and in the fancy seats at the Stadium.

Come to think of it, Cam Newton will make about $23 million in 2016 and can probably afford a few seats in a premium location at Yankee Stadium. I wonder if the Yankees would let him sit there or not-so-kindly tell him, "Sir, we're going to have to ask you to leave. That seat is reserved for Mr. Wilson."

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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