From Muhammad Ali to Rex Ryan: Does Trash Talking Accomplish Anything in Sports?

Terri BeyCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 05: Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Saints won 34-30.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In this column, I have decided to discuss the topic of trash talking. Athletes have participated in trash talking in just about all sports for decades.

Boxer Muhammad Ali, for example, was the master of it. He also backed it up as well. Fans of course trash-talk other fans, and even head coaches, most notably Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan, are getting in on the act.

My issue is whether trash talking really accomplishes anything, or is it what it is...just trash?

I may be just a little bit old-fashioned when it comes to sports, but I honestly never understood trash talking. I can understand a little good natured ribbing. I can understand the usual "My team is going to kick your team's ass."

I can understand people saying, "My quarterback is the best."  I understand things like that.  I understand fans, coaches and players having CONFIDENCE.  That is understandable and expected. What team DOESN'T have confidence?

My issue with trash talking, at least with the modern day fans and athletes, is that a lot of it has become mean spirited and pretty silly. I hear a lot of fans saying that they hope that an athlete gets injured or they are happy that an athlete is injured.

I mean, what kind of sick person do you have be to say something like that? I also hear athletes just running their yaps saying just stupid stuff either in the media or on Twitter.

One example is Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens. Earlier this season, he called Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger "soft" after Ben broke his nose in the Ravens game.

Owens then made fun of Ben for playing on a broken ankle, and said that he came back early from a broken leg.

What Owens failed to mention was that he alligator-armed a pass that Carson Palmer threw him in the Colts game that got picked off. However, in Owens' mind, Ben is "soft" for staying in the game against the Ravens. Right.

Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan is another example of this trash talking. Now mind you, his father is Buddy Ryan, so as the saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree, but some of the things he says, I don't know if I would want a head coach saying.

He has said in the past that he won't kiss Patriots Head Coach Bellichick's rings, and this season, it was more of the same.

Before the Monday Night Football showdown on Dec. 6, he said he was going to go into Foxborough and "kick Belichick's ass."  A funny thing happened on the way to Foxborough. The Patriots won 45-3.

It is my opinion that there has to be some sort of confidence issue going on here. I mean, why do you need to trash talk? If you believe in your abilities as a player, or as a head coach, you believe in your team, I just don't think you need to trash talk.

There are plenty of other examples I could have used here. I even see this nonsense in horse racing. Big Brown trainer Dick Dutrow Jr. did some trash talking about his horse.

Fans of champion mare Zenyatta went on the Internet trash talking and slamming poor Rachel Alexandra and Blame.  Why?  If you believed in the horse, there is no need to trash talk.

I am just not a fan of trash talking.  I am a fan of the adage: Shut up and play.