NFL: Dolphins' Martin felt 'trapped'
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.
Deep freeze doesn't affect Atlanta
ATLANTA (AP) — Most of the sports teams in the Deep South dodged the winter storm that hit the region.
The majority of the college basketball, NBA and NHL squads in the region were off or playing on the road Tuesday when the snow, ice and freezing temperatures engulfed the Southeast on Tuesday.
At least one team planned ahead: No. 25 Middle Tennessee avoided potential dangerous travel by deciding on Monday to postpone a game at Southern Mississippi. The contest originally planned for Wednesday was rescheduled for Feb. 5.
No. 11 Kentucky and LSU tipped-off as scheduled Tuesday. The Wildcats left Lexington on Monday to avoid travel problems
Wednesday could bring more challenges, especially if temperatures don’t climb enough to allow the snow and ice to melt.
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.
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.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Motor Speedway officials are changing the schedule for the 30th annual Sprint Cup All-Star Race weekend in May.
CMS president Marcus Smith announced Tuesday that the Sprint Showdown qualifying race will move to Friday night, May 16 — the night before the All-Star Race. The race was previously held on Saturday as a prelude to the race.
Qualifying will move from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.
By moving the Sprint Showdown to Friday night, Smith says fans will get “more bang for their buck” on Friday night since they’ll be able to see Sprint Cup cars and a Truck Series race on the same night.
The top two finishers in the Showdown qualify for the All-Star Race. Fans will also vote one driver into the race on Friday night.