There’s a great Jerry Seinfeld bit about how much better life would be if it was like a movie and whenever you messed up and said something dumb someone would come in, stop the production, and you could do the whole thing over again. Unfortunately, life is not a movie, there are no do-overs, we have to live with the choices we make and the dumb things we say. Even the best of us at one time of another has opened our mouth and immediately inserted our foot.
Luckily for most of us, when we say dumb things we’ll likely to be laughed at and ridiculed by our friends, family, and/or coworkers, but over time people will forget about it, move on, and let us live our lives in peace until the next time we say something dumb. If you’re a professional athlete though, it’s much harder to live down your words. Typically an athlete’s words are recorded in one way or another and are available for people to share with others until the end of time. A bad choice of words can haunt a player for the rest of their career.
With the innovation of social media and many athletes being present on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the avenues through which athletes can say asinine things are only growing. It seems like every week another athlete causes some online controversy with something they’ve said. We can try to educate players and give them a better understanding of what not to say, but it’s likely that there will always be someone with something dumb to say. It’s human nature. We don’t always think before we speak. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “The problem with talking is that nobody stops you from saying the wrong thing.” So we’ll continue to say the wrong things, while hoping to not say something as dumb as the 25 things said by the athletes on this list.
25. Brett Hull on a possible trade
The Golden Brett had a Hall of Fame NHL career. During parts of 11 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Hull reached the 40 goal mark eight times and and he scored a whopping 86 goals in 1990-91. When talk of a potential trade came up, Hull gave his thoughts on the idea of leaving St. Louis:
“I’ll be sad to go, and I wouldn’t be sad to go. It wouldn’t upset me to leave St. Louis, but it would upset me to leave St. Louis. It’s hard to explain. You’ll find out one of these days, but maybe you never will.”
Well said, Brett.
24. Alex Rodriguez talks about therapy
Alex Rodriguez is one of the most universally disliked figures in all of sports, but you have to go the Yankees third baseman credit for trying to better himself through therapy. Rodriguez thinks therapy can be helpful. In fact according to Rodriguez, “Therapy can be a good thing; it can be therapeutic.” Who knew? Perhaps Rodriguez also has interesting ideas like, water can help avoid dehydration or oranges are orange.
23. Alan Minter addresses the dangers of boxing
Alan Minter is a former Undisputed Middleweight Champion boxer and although some people think that boxing is a dangerous and barbaric sport, Minter doesn’t believe that to be the case. “Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing – but none of them serious,” said Minter.
Now, I’m not doctor or anything, but I’m pretty sure death is always serious.
22. George Rogers has goals
Former New Orleans Saints running back George Rogers made sure to set goals for himself. When asked about what he hoped to achieve in an upcoming season he replied, “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.” I bet I can guess which one came first. Was he trying to say he was cutting his season in two, and in one season he’d have 1,500 and one he’d have 1,000? Nah, probably just a brain fart.
21. Latrell Sprewell needs to feed his kids
After helping the Minnesota Timberwolves to the 2003-04 Western Conference Final, Latrell Sprewell tried to work out a contract extension with the Timberwolves. Sprewell turned down a three year, $21 million offer and expressed how it insulted him.
“I have a family to feed … If (team owner Glen) Taylor wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money. Otherwise, you’re going to see these kids in one of those Sally Struthers commercials soon.”
Sprewell must’ve had some size family, or perhaps he used his $1.5 million yacht to catch fish for his kids to eat, using golden fishing rods.
20. Rickey Henderson doesn’t understand percentages
Hall of Fame outfielder and king of stolen bases Rickey Henderson was told of a report that 50 percent of baseball players were using steroids. He responded with, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”
I’m 100% sure that’s not how percentages work, Ricky.
19. Mike Tyson’s post career plans
When former World Champion boxer Mike Tyson opens his mouth, you have no idea what he’s going to say. After his loss to Lennox Lewis in 2002, Tyson was asked what he would do when his boxing career ended. He replied, “I guess I’m gonna fade into Bolivian.” Maybe we can forgive Tyson because he had just taken a lot of punches to the head, or perhaps he was planning to hide out in Bolivia after eating Lewis’ children.
18. Chad Johnson’s travel plans
Chad Johnson (aka Chad Ochocinco) had a successful NFL career as a wide receiver, and was never one to shy away from offering an opinion. Regarding his dominate play on the field he stated, “I’m traveling to all 51 states to see who can stop 85.”
Well to be fair, it’s possible he wasn’t limiting himself to just the United States of America. He did go to Canada to play in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes, so was he counting the province of Quebec as a state?
17. Greg Norman is grateful to his parents
Australian golfer Greg Norman has 20 career PGA Tour victories, including two majors with wins in the 1986 and 1993 Open Championship, but he couldn’t have done it without the help of all of his parents. “I owe a lot to my parents, especially by mother and my father,” said Norman.
Does Greg Norman have more than two parents?
16. Drew Gooden’s struggle
Drew Gooden has played for a grand total of 10 NBA teams in his career, but the road through the NBA hasn’t always been an easy one for Gooden. He admitted it himself saying, “I’ve had to overcome a lot of diversity.” I’m not sure diversity is a difficult thing to overcome. I mean, it’s gotta be a lot easier than overcome than adversity. Maybe he meant he had to overcome an old wooden ship from the civil war era.
15. Andre Dawson on being a role model
Former MLB outfielder Andre Dawson was named NL MVP after his first season with Chicago Cubs in 1987. When Dawson was asked about being a role model for young people he replied, “I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me.” Let’s hope Dawson doesn’t want to copulate with any kids and he just mistakenly combined the words copy and emulate.
14. Bonzi Wells criticizes fans
In the early 2000s the Portland Trail Blazers were a team filled with players with off the court problem, prompting people to dub them the “Jail Blazers”. Among those players was Bonzi Wells, who was suspended for publicly swearing at his coach, fined for making an obscene gesture towards a fan, and suspended and fined for abusing an official. In 2001 Wells told Sports Illustrated that the Trail Blazers didn’t care about their fans.
“We’re not really going to worry about what the hell (the fans) think about us. They really don’t matter to us. They can boo us everyday, but they’re still going to ask for our autographs if they see us on the street. That’s why they’re fans, and we’re NBA players.”
Wells was fined $5,000 for his comments. Interest in the team and ticket sales plummeted after Wells’ comments. In 2003, Wells was suspended two games and stripped of his co-captaincy for once again berating his coach. A short time later he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
13. Dennis Rodman discusses chemistry
Former Chicago Bulls forward and five time NBA Champion Dennis Rodman was once asked about team chemistry. His response: “Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college, where you figure out two plus two is 10, or something.” That’s definitely not how chemistry works. And 10 is definitely not the sum of two plus two.
12. Ozzie Guillen is a Castro fan
After being named manager of the Miami Marlins, Ozzie Guillen did an interview for TIME magazine in 2012 in which he professed an admiration of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. “I love Fidel Castro… I respect Fidel Castro, you know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherf****r is still here.”
Suffice to say, Guillen’s comments did not go over well with Cuban American baseball fans in the Marlins’ new home in Little Havana. Guillen apologized for his comments and was suspended by the team for five games.
11. Jerry Rice won’t admit he’s the best
Jerry Rice is the NFL’s all time leader in career receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns and is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the game’s history. During his career with the San Francisco 49ers he was asked if he thought he was the best, Rice replied, “I feel like I’m the best, but you’re not going to get me to say that.” I’m pretty sure he said it.
10. Charles Shackleford is amphibious
When Charles Shackleford was playing power forward at NC State, he once explained to reporters that he was adept at using both hands. “Left hand, right hand, it doesn’t matter. I’m amphibious.” Shackleford may be ambidextrous, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t a frog. Legendary Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said something similar, but given the way Yogi used words, it was most likely done on purpose. It’s entirely possible Shackleford was making a Yogi Berra reference.
9. Jason Kidd and Tracy McGrady go in circles
After being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, former NBA point guard Jason Kidd said, “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees.” Several years later, after signing with the Orlando Magic as a free agent, Tracy McGrady remarked, “My career was sputtering until I did a 360 and got headed in the right direction.” Obviously both players meant a 180 as a 360 would put them back where they started.
8. Mike Cameron doesn’t know how old the sun is
While playing for the New York Mets in 2005, outfielder Carlos Beltran lost the ball in the sun in a game against the Dodgers. After the game, Beltran’s teammate and fellow outfielder Mike Cameron remarked, “The sun has been there for 500, 600 years.” I’m pretty sure the sun is a little older than that. The Dark Ages don’t literally mean there was no light for hundreds years.
7. John Rocker doesn’t like New York
Former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher John Rocker was not a fan of the Big Apple and he made his opinions known in a 1999 interview with Sports Illustrated when he was asked if he would ever consider playing in New York:
“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the (Number) 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re (riding through) Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing…The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
John Rocker, everybody, lover of people.
6. Joe Theismann references the wrong Einstein
Fomer NFL quarterback Joe Theismann worked as a commentator on Sunday Night Football from 1988 to 2005 and he didn’t always say the smartest things. On one occasion Theismann pointed out that there are no geniuses in football, “Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.”
Theismann was ridiculed for getting famous physicist Albert Einstein’s name wrong, but he did go to the same high school as a Norman Einstein. It’s possible that he was referencing a guy no one had heard of, but it’s more likely that he just got the two names mixed up.
5. Daniel Murphy’s Homophobic Comments
Former MLB player Billy Bean (not to be confused with Oakland A’s Moneyball aficionado Billy Beane) came out as the first openly gay baseball player in the late 1990s and in 2014 he was named MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion. Bean visited teams during spring training in 2015 and after his visit with the Mets, infielder Daniel Murphy gave his thoughts on Bean:
“I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
Bean’s sexuality is a not something you can disagree with. As Murphy said himself, it’s a fact. It’s not something that’s up for dispute. It’s like saying you disagree with his height.
4. Lance Berkman doesn’t want to tolerate your tolerance
In 2015 former MLB first baseman Lance Berkman was involved in an ad against a Houston, Texas anti-discrimination ordinance that would allow transgender individuals to use the public washrooms of their choosing. After the ordinance was shot down, Berkman went on a radio station to profess his disdain for tolerance, while also displaying a misunderstanding of what a virtue is.:
“To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything. You know, everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.”
3. Carl Everett doesn’t believe in Dinosaurs
While playing for the Boston Red Sox in 2000 outfielder Carl Everett expressed a disbelief in the existence of dinosaurs:
“God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve. The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can’t say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
I’m not sure who saw Adam and Eve and apparently the existence of dinosaur bones and fossils isn’t enough to persuade Everett into believing that they existed.
2. Bob Knight’s rape analogy
Legendary NCAA basketball coach Bob Knight is definitely no stranger to controversy. In a 1988 NBC interview with Connie Chung, Knight was asked how he dealt with stress, which he felt the need to equate to rape. ”I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it,” said Knight. Rape isn’t something that can be enjoyed.
Knight then tried his best to backpedal by saying, ”That’s just an old term that you’re going to use. The plane’s down, so you have no control over it. I’m not talking about that, about the act of rape. Don’t misinterpret me there. But what I’m talking about is, something happens to you, so you have to handle it – now.”
1. Jonathan Bernier on Nelson Mandela
In December of 2014 Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier attended an event honouring the late Nelson Mandela. When he was asked about his thoughts on the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bernier referenced Mandela’s athletic career:
“He is one of the most known athletes in the world and a lot of impact in any kind of sport that he did. Even playing hockey, everyone knows him. From being the type of person he was off the ice and on the ice. It’s unfortunate that he passed away a year ago, but you know he changed a lot while he was with us. He’s a tremendous guy.”
If you’re attending a charity event honoring Nelson Mandela, you should probably at least take the time to find out that Nelson Mandela was not a hockey player.
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