The guys discussed Cam Newton.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Knicks at Raptors, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Bulls at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Robert Morris at Mount St. Mary’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: UAB at Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Michigan State at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oregon at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Richmond at George Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Southeast Missouri State at SIUE, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at UCLA, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Loyola Marymount at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)


— While there’s been a lot of talk about the Super Bowl quarterbacks, in New England the focus has been on Peyton Manning, who helped the Broncos knock off the Patriots in the AFC championship game in what might be his final season. That changed Wednesday, when Panthers star Cam Newton declared, “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”

Newton has been called out for his on-field celebrations during his team’s 17-1 season, but he apparently believes there’s a racial undertone to the criticism.

The likely league MVP, Newton said he has not changed his approach, and the only difference is he’s in the spotlight this season due to his individual and team success, leading some to judge him without knowing him.

“I said that prior to me being in this situation,” Newton said of being misunderstood. “But when I said it then it was like, ‘Oh, he is immature,’ or, ‘Oh, he’s young, and this, that and the third.’ I felt a certain type of way then and I feel a certain type of way now — nothing has pretty much changed. They talk about maturity. They talk about skill set. … The only thing that has changed [about me] is that we’re winning now.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera defended Newton for enjoying himself after touchdowns.

“I think some people believe you should be stoic when you play this game,” Rivera said. “But a lot of people disagree and think you should have fun. This is a kids’ game. I know there is a lot of money involved, but at the end of the day it’s about entertainment. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, don’t play the game — it’s that simple.”

Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman noted that the 6-foot-5, 245-pound QB wins in an “unconventional way,” and that might leave some fans unsettled.

“Some people can’t accept that,” Tillman said. “He is setting a precedent as far as for how quarterbacks are now — and how they may become. He’s in a league of his own. He has created his own category for winning.”

— Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman was contrite after decking an official from behind during Wednesday’s game against the Predators, insisting it was an accident.

Wideman, an 11-year veteran who played for the Bruins from 2007 to 2010, looked to be in pain as he was skating to the bench after taking a hit from Predators forward Miikka Salomaki. Wideman then appeared to be surprised to see linesman Don Henderson in front of him along the boards, and he cross-checked the official from behind, then continued on to the bench.

“I took a pretty hard hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and my neck and I was just trying to get off the ice,” Wideman said. “And I was kind of keeled over and at the last second, I looked up and I saw him and I couldn’t avoid it.”

Henderson remained on the ice until his fellow officials stopped play and skated over to check on him. At the next stoppage in play, Wideman skated over and apologized.

“Throughout my career — and I’ve been around for a few years — I think I’ve treated every official with the utmost respect,” Wideman said, “and I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that.”

LeBron James continued to defend himself against accusations that he orchestrated the firing of Cavaliers coach David Blatt and that he has a history of such behavior.

“I’ve never, in my time since I picked up a basketball, ever undermined a coach, ever disrespected a coach,” James said Wednesday. “You ask any of my Little League coaches, my high school coaches, coaches I’ve played for in tournaments, camps, my NBA coaches, I’ve always respected what they wanted to do.”

Blatt became the third coach fired on one of James’ teams when he was dismissed Friday despite leading the Cavs to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Blatt was replaced by Tyronn Lue, with whom James frequently would talk during timeouts while Blatt was in charge.

“People get it so misconstrued because I’m a smart basketball player and I’ve voiced my opinion about certain things, which I did when I was here my first stint with Paul Silas and Mike Brown. Which I did in Miami with Coach Spo [Erik Spoelstra]. Which I did with Blatt and I’ll do with T. Lue,” James said. “And at the end of the day, they’ll still have their final call. But, I don’t know. What do you guys want me to do, turn my brain off because I have a huge basketball IQ? If that’s what they want me to do, I’m not going to do it because I’ve got so much to give to the game.

“There’s no difference for me telling my teammates or telling guys how to get better with their game. If I feel I got something that will help our team, ultimately, I like to give it. It helped me get two titles.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 28, 1967, the Red Sox used the No. 4 pick in the amateur draft on which New England player?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “One of the best days of my life. I look back on that with great pride and a lot of positive reflection. The opportunity Robert [Kraft] gave me to coach this team is one that I respect and treasure and take very seriously, and I’ve tried to my best over that period of time. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes, and I’m sure I’ll make more going forward, but I’ll always try to do what’s in the best interests of the team. I hope that we can continue to improve and be competitive every year.” Bill Belichick, during his weekly Wednesday appearance on Dale & Holley, talking about the day he was hired as Patriots coach 16 years ago

STAT OF THE DAY: 4 — Consecutive games in which the Celtics have forced at least 20 turnovers, including Wednesday’s 111-103 victory over the Nuggets

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): It didn’t count because it was after the whistle, but Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns hits an incredible shot during Wednesday’s game against the Thunder.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes an acrobatic save against the Avalanche.

TRIVIA ANSWER: New Hampshire’s Carlton Fisk

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Sarah McLachlan was born on this day in 1968.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Dale and Michael get their weekly NFL insight from Peter King of SI/MMQB.
Dale and Michael get their weekly NFL insight from Peter King of SI/MMQB.

[0:00:37] ... I kept thinking to myself. Is this line is totally figure out Tom Brady's totally figure out by going apps. That. That that's the way to go your line is. A little bit talent deprived. And ...
[0:03:02] ... I don't think. It's going to be a permanent thing in a Bill Belichick and figure out by. As far as what happened that day. I'm not sure that the in order to keep people in because. I just don't know keep it in any video. We've all seen the post game videos the the the hug between ballot check and Peyton Manning. And Peyton Manning I'm paraphrasing here saying you know this may be my last rodeo was a real pleasure competing against you. Is this Peyton Manning's last rodeo. Pretty sure is stale and I thought that beat where. Are those of what would happen and it's sad to ...
[0:05:38] ... have the patriots going forward they don't have a first round pick Tom Brady will be 39 and August. What do you think about their future. Well you know every time when your quarterback is that Ole every time when you lose. You start to think about. Yet. The end it's incredible. I'd probably think about it. More seriously. If Tom Brady didn't play like it is right here. You know he he had a great year equal is classic Tom Brady. He's defying side and there's no reason to believe that next year you'll continue to fight. But I think it's incumbent Bill Belichick stereo. Or got offensive line is here he is it getting into position where. You know. Arc is in and I think ...
[0:07:59] ... was preparing some sort of a story maybe not earth shattering concerning. Peyton Manning in the HGH allegations in the aftermath of the NFL's words that they're undertaking a thorough investigation of this case where is ...

We discuss Cam Newton's "haters" and whether it's a real phenomena or just overstated.
We discuss Cam Newton's "haters" and whether it's a real phenomena or just overstated.

[0:00:27] ... believe that that Peyton Manning was you know telling the truth to Bill Belichick. It was may be my last rodeo here and I do believe by the way that it may be his last rodeo ...
[0:01:48] ... the whole race issue for him. You know what's what threats that Cam Newton is the least favorite quarterback of the of the -- cut klux Klan crowd out there well coached well. Sure I'd really ...
[0:07:37] ... at 37937. My little mini poll on Twitter at dale. 84% for Cam Newton now. You folks and I don't blame it I hate Denver Broncos as much as you do now 84% of my little small sample of said they're rooting for Cam Newton to win the Super Bowl. A week from next Sunday we'll talk to Bill Belichick head coach of the patriots at the top the hour 3 o'clock. Which will allow we will talk to Peter King MM ...
[0:08:28] ... from treated. The holly without Thornton today we hope he's back tomorrow Bill Belichick at the top of the hour Sports Radio W media. Let's go to. Turbulence spent some webcam it's now like molded himself ...

We rank the four most painful losses of recent Patriots history and try and find ways to cope and move past the pain.
We rank the four most painful losses of recent Patriots history and try and find ways to cope and move past the pain.

[0:05:32] ... advantage of an opponent's mistake that coverage. And there's Tom Brady to Wes Welker. I know I'm not. I want stick games OK so. How did this happen it really confused me more than any other ...
[0:06:54] ... You don't know what's going on I think it. I looked at Eric Alexander for what is going on here. In the aftermath Colin excuse making in the cynics out there well but at least I ...
[0:10:03] ... and drive up. Right beside him. We did it over right there. David Tyree and in the grass but I felt they had a fourth and shorts. From their own and it was a parity. And ...
[0:12:40] ... scandal. Should have made that interception US. No question that's art to Wes Welker should've caught the best yes but here's the difference. What guys are wide receiver. Who should no question I mean let it ...