The whole trash talk issue in sports is a divisive one. Some people come down firmly on either side and good lucky trying to convince them otherwise.
Old folks, people who are uncomfortable with confrontation, and uptight elitist jags who think it's always "bad for the game," are usually anti-trash talk under any circumstance. Then there are those who love it under any circumstance, even if it ends up making everyone within a five-mile radius look stupid.
But, as is usually the case, most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Trash talk is natural during heated competition and it can be a fun part of the game, as long as the person running his mouth can back it up. There's nothing more irritating than the trash talkers who cannot be deterred by anything, even losing.
Let's take a look at 20 of the worst trash talkers in sports.
There was obviously a time when the talents of Metta World Peace superseded the plethora of problems created by his presence, but it has long since passed. How he remains gainfully employed, and rich as hell, is anybody's guess.
MWP has been a trash talking skull cracker for most of his career and his violent run-in with the Thunder's James Harden in 2012 was a reminder that changing your name isn't the same as just changing.
Even after serving a suspension for the elbow blow and then losing to the Thunder decisively in the playoffs, MWP was still taking shots at Harden via Twitter late into June—calling him "No brain all beard" during the NBA Finals.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is obviously the type of person that survives and thrives on the hatred directed at him. It's like oxygen to him. So he was probably pretty pleased with himself when he was voted the most hated player in baseball by his peers in 2012.
Maybe Pierzynski backs up his incessant trash talk on the field, but that doesn't change the fact that he's just the worst.
My first reaction when I read that linebacker Joey Porter was voted among the NFL's biggest trash talkers by his peers in 2011 was: "Wait, Joey Porter is still playing football?."
Well, apparently he is, but his production has sharply declined in recent years and it fell off a cliff in 2011. Porter's body may be aging, but it seems his mouth is still at the top of its game.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has long been one of MLB's most colorful characters and biggest trash talkers. Guillen has taken on players, fans and the media alike over the years, and always walked away relatively unscathed.
But Guillen's antics finally jumped the shark in 2012 when his mindless praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro almost cost him his new job in Miami. Guillen's mouth, and the constant stream of trash that leaks out of it, are why he's the league's least respected manager.
Over the last year, wide receiver Terrell Owens has kept a relatively low profile in terms of publicly berating his teammates. But that's probably because he hasn't had any teammates to berate, so he doesn't get much credit for that.
Owens' career in the NFL was very productive statistically, yet he never left a city that wasn't happy to see him go. It was because he was literally unable to control his mouth—trash talking teammates, coaches and opponents every time a microphone was put in front of him.
He's rebounded in a big way recently with two wins, but it's no secret that Tiger Woods isn't the unstoppable juggernaut on the golf course that he once was. That being said, even during the darkest days of his extended slump, he was still, in fact, Tiger Woods.
Apparently that name doesn't carry much weight with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. In February 2012, the Spanish golfer, with zero PGA wins, said that Tiger wasn't playing "his best" and that he was very "beatable."
Confidence is always a good thing, but when your resume doesn't stack up, it's always stupid to poke the bear before a tournament...even if the bear is slumping.
I normally really enjoy the outlandish trash talk that NASCAR is known for, but I understand why they are trying to crack down on it. Trash talk between the likes of Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch and other top drivers is one thing, but it can reflect poorly on the sport when they let just anyone run their mouth.
Not to say that Boris Said's hilariously heated head-butting with Greg Biffle in August 2011 wasn't entertaining, because it was. But when you have a driver with zero career wins (Said) calling out another driver for being an "unprofessional little scaredy-cat," while threatening to go to his house and beat him up, nobody looks good.
Particularly when that clip is on a continuous SportsCenter loop, being replayed every 20 minutes for a full week.
Nobody freak out please—I love the Honey Badger as much, if not more, than the next guy. In 2011, LSU's standout cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was one of the most captivating players in college football and a Heisman finalist, no small achievement for a defensive player.
I just question the wisdom of Mathieu's assertion that he could trash talk his way to a national championship. Honey Badger was running his mouth in the days leading up to the BCS Championship (what would become one of the worst championship games in history) about LSU's impenetrable defense.
Well, Nick Saban's Alabama team figured out the defense by the second half and, since Les Miles' team forgot to recruit a serviceable offense to compliment Mathieu, that was pretty much that.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be a talented and still undefeated boxer, but for a guy who isn't scared to fight Manny Pacquiao, he sure spends an inordinate amount of time berating him. Methinks doth do protest too much.
It's possible that Mayweather isn't afraid to fight him and that he has some legit concerns about the logistics. But posting hateful video rants about Pacquiao only makes one person look terrible, and it's not Pacquiao.
Retired NHL-player-turned-analyst Jeremy Roenick is one of the most well known trash talkers in the history of the league.
In 1996 he (in)famously traded a few verbal barbs with legendary goalie Patrick Roy during the playoffs. Roenick called Roy a sissy and Roy called Roenick a championship-less loser.
All that was during his playing career, though, so it was to be expected, but it should have ended with his playing career too. Roenick has continued running his mouth as an NHL analyst and one of his frequent targets is Sidney Crosby. Another player with a championship on his resume that Roenick will never have.
Nate Robinson's seven-year career in the NBA has been largely unremarkable. He was the NBA slam dunk champion on three separate occasions, but his major accomplishments end there.
While with the Knicks, Robinson put up solid numbers for a few seasons, but he was usually more interested in trash talking than in winning.
Nyjer Morgan's bad attitude and big mouth have gotten him in hot water on more than a few occasions and were the reasons that nobody in Pittsburgh or Washington were sorry to see him go.
He has a history of inciting brawls and trash talking the opposition. In September 2011, Morgan called then-Cardinal slugger Albert Pujols "Alberta" and "she" on Twitter. A month later the trash talk continued as the Cards met the Brewers in the playoffs—on the way to their World Series victory.
Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, apparently unaware of his status as one of the most forgettable quarterback starters of the last decade, has a history of trash talking the opposition.
In the 2004 NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Packers, Hasselbeck (then QB for Seattle) famously put his foot in his mouth by declaring at the beginning of overtime, "We want the ball, and we're going to score." They did not score, nor did they win.
Then in January 2011, Hasselbeck engaged Antonio Cromartie in a Twitter argument over whether or not the Jets cornerback knew what "CBA" even stood for. After Cromartie threatened to smash his face in, Hasselbeck deleted the tweet and issued an apology. Smart.
The Canucks are widely considered the biggest bunch of trash talkers in the NHL. They've got so many trash talking big mouths in Vancouver that it was too difficult to narrow it down to just one. And the Canucks players aren't usually the only ones talking during a game, they tend to bring out the worst in their opponents as well.
Their rhetoric tends to hit fever pitch during the playoffs and most of their series have been mired mutual hostilities. It technically makes a lot of sense, but, considering their past performance in the spring, suggests a little humility could go a long way in the court of public opinion.
The Canucks have finished the last two regular seasons as the NHL's leader in points, but came up short both times—getting bumped by the eighth-seeded Kings in the first round in 2012. And they have yet to win a championship as a franchise.
Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire is frequently mentioned among the NBA's biggest trash talkers. Stoudemire actually spent the first eight years of his career in Phoenix and has only been in New York since 2010, which makes me wonder if he knows the Knicks don't have much to brag about.
Stoudemire routinely mixes it up with the opposition via the media.
He and then-Celtics forward Big Baby Davis traded barbs in 2011. Stoudemire also called out the Miami Heat prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, insisting the Knicks were going to "Hunt LeBron and D-Wade" in South Florida.
Well that didn't work out well, now did it? The Knicks were dominated and nearly swept by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs and Stoudemire was such a non-factor that he couldn't even win a fight with a fire extinguisher.
Apparently that frustrated Stoudemire because he eventually took to trash talking fans on Twitter—and paying a price for it.
I've never actually encountered a Sean Avery fan, but I apologize in advance to any of them out there for saying that he has been one of the most useless athletes in all of professional sports for over a decade. Avery has never offered more to a situation than his very presence detracted from.
In his (approximately) 10-year career in the NHL, Avery amassed over 1,500 total penalty minutes—more than 10 times his total points. The only role he has ever excelled at is adding fuel to a fire.
This glorious video is a collection of exactly what he'll be remembered for, should he ever officially retire.
Recently signed Dolphins wide receiver Chad Ochocinco used to be one of the loudest trash talkers in the NFL. Even though he didn't have any Super Bowl rings, Ocho usually had the production on the field to back him up.
His production dropped off a cliff in 2010 along with his football-related trash talk. But Ochocinco still likes to mix it up on Twitter, especially with MMA fighters. He may not be able to learn the Patriots playbook, but Ocho thinks he can hang in the cage with the likes of Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz.
Add MMA to the growing list of sports that Ochocinco is eager to embarrass himself in.
MMA fighter Chael Sonnen is well known as the biggest trash talker in the sport. Nobody is off limits to Sonnen, including UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste. During an interview in November 2011, he referred to Celeste as the "IQ card girl," in reference to the round number on the cards she holds up.
That was small potatoes—Sonnen saves his best material for his fellow fighters.
In the lead up to UFC 148, Sonnen's trash talking was on overdrive as he prepared for his rematch with Anderson Silva. But talk is cheap, as they say, and since he was dropped by Silva in two rounds, it only served to make him look ridiculous in the end.
You gotta give Jets coach Rex Ryan a lot of credit for reining in the trash talk this year, even if the Jets self-destruction at the end of the 2011 season forced his hand a bit. After witnessing the heights of his mouthiness for two seasons, I literally didn't think it was possible for Ryan not to stick his foot in his mouth at least once a day.
That being said, Rex is still Rex. He may have backed off his annual Super Bowl guarantee this year, but he was shortsighted enough to issue them in the two previous years—plus, he could just be biding his time and waiting for a bigger audience.
Super Bowl guarantees aside, Ryan is one of the only coaches in the NFL willing to jump into the mud and sling it alongside of his players. It may have been fun for awhile, but his inability, or unwillingness, to control what comes out of his mouth, and the mouths of his players, makes the whole organization look bad.
For the last few years, Skip Bayless, host of ESPN's First Take, has been one of LeBron James' most vocal and unrelenting critics. In fact, he is a vocal and unrelenting critic of just about everyone not named Tim Tebow.
Bayless is at his most wretched when he combines his nasty trash talk with his smug, ego-stroking anecdotes—like when he embellished his own high school basketball experience in order to take a shot/make a point about Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook in early 2012.
Well, apparently former NBA-player-turned-analyst Jalen Rose isn't his biggest fan either. In April 2012, Rose came prepared to an appearance on First Take with a little independent research on the matter. Rose dropped the bomb that Mr. Mighty Mouth was basically the team's water boy late in the show and Bayless' stunned reaction was priceless.