6 bizarre sporting press conference moments

06 October 2016 01:38

Lewis Hamilton used his phone to draw rabbit ears on a photograph of himself while speaking to reporters ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some other bizarre press conference moments.

1. Eric Cantona, March 1995

The enigmatic Frenchman delivered one of the most memorable lines in football during a brief press conference in the aftermath of his assault on a Crystal Palace fan. "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea," were the words which came from Cantona's mouth before he thanked reporters, stood up and walked away. The phrase, which has been immortalised on a wall in the National Football Museum, was a baffling attempt by the then -Manchester United forward to express displeasure at the amount of media attention he was receiving.

2. Rafael Benitez, January 2009

Clearly rattled by the comments and behaviour of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, then-Liverpool boss Benitez was so keen to talk about "facts" he produced a piece of paper from his pocket. The Spaniard then began a bizarre rant about preferential treatment afforded to Ferguson. "I'm not playing mind-games, I'm talking about facts," Benitez said. "Only Mr Ferguson can talk about the fixtures, can talk about the referees, can talk about all these things (and) nothing happens." It is unclear whether Benitez was attempting to be humorous or clever but he was certainly perplexing.

3. Rafael Nadal, September 2011

The former world number one conducted a bizarre press conference at the US Open during which he appeared to collapse. All initially looked okay until Nadal, who had just beaten David Nalbandian at Flushing Meadows, winced and tilted his head back. He then spent more than two minutes slumped in his chair with his head in his hands without anyone rushing to help him. The Spaniard, who was suffering with cramp, eventually slid to the floor and, after the room was cleared, he was treated before resuming interviews. "It was just a normal cramp that could have happened anywhere, but it happened in the press room," he explained. "Anywhere else, nobody would have noticed."

4. Marshawn Lynch, January 2015

During the annual Super Bowl media day, Seattle Seahawks running back Lynch answered every question with some variation of "I'm here so I won't get fined". He was asked 29 questions during the four minutes 51 seconds he stayed at his designated podium, occasionally changing the delivery but sticking to the same response. Lynch, who had apparently been threatened with a $500,000 (£394,961) fine by the NFL if he failed to make himself available, set a timer on his phone before calling time and walking away.

5. Nigel Pearson, April 2015

Pearson, recently suspended by current club Derby, created national headlines when he branded a reporter an "ostrich" after taking exception to a seemingly innocuous question while in charge of struggling Leicester. "I think your question is absolutely unbelievable," he said. "If you don't know the answer to that question, you must be an ostrich. Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no. I can, you can't." Pearson, who eventually stormed out of the room, managed to keep the Foxes in the Premier League before being sacked at the end of the season and replaced by title-winning Italian Claudio Ranieri.

6. Hamilton, October 2016

The distracted F1 driver fooled around on his phone in the official drivers' press conference in Suzuka, wiping away tears of laughter using his sleeve as he uploaded a number of short videos to his Snapchat account. The 31-year-old posted a video in which he was "wearing" drawn-on rabbit ears, whiskers and carrots, accompanied with the words: "This s*** is killing me." Hamilton also took a video of Carlos Sainz, sitting behind him, before adding a fake fox's ears and nose to the Spaniard's face. Asked what was so amusing, Hamilton replied: "It's quite funny. Just some snaps of us drivers. We've been doing this (format of press conferences) a long, long time and it's the same. Just got to keep adding new things to it."

Source: PA