Pro sports are a high intensity, high stakes, and high stress industry. On top of that there is an extremely high level of scrutiny that players and coaches etc. face on a constant basis from fans and the media. With all of that it’s understandable, when at times, we see guys get a little testy during interviews or press conferences, when the nonstop barrage of questions can seem like a personal attack. However, occasionally these reactions can get over-the-top. With that in mind we at FirstTeamFans have put together a Top 5 of the most out of control sports blow ups. Everything from tense verbal confrontations to straight up physical assault! Check out our countdown and let us know what you think in the comments! …and see our video of this ranking at the end of this article!
# 5 Keyshawn Johnson loses it during press conference after bad loss
The 1999 season for the NY Jets was one that started with high aspirations. After winning the AFC East and making it all the way to the AFC Championship in 1998 the team looked to take the next step with a core of talented players and coached by the great Bill Parcells. Unfortunately a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered by quarterback Vinny Testaverde in the opening game all but doomed the Jets from the start. They lost that game 30-28 to the New England Patriots. In presser after the game, Wide Receiver Keyshawn Johnson couldn’t contain his frustration when talking about the loss of his QB, the game, and the play of back up passers Tom Tupa (whose primary position was actually Punter) and Rick Mirer. You can literally see the point where the emotions boil over as he recounts the “interceptions” and “turnover”. Really though, when you watch you once promising season go in the toilet right before your eyes just as it’s starting maybe it’s reasonable that you’d have a meltdown.
# 4 Ryan Leaf goes off on reporter in locker room
The fact that quarterback Ryan Leaf is perhaps the biggest bust in NFL history as been discussed ad nauseum, so we’re not going to beat that dead horse in this article. Besides his poor play; immaturity, substance abuse, and an abrasive personality all contributed to his not living up to the expectations of being a second overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. The first sign of thing to come with Leaf probably was after his third career game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In it Ryan was an abysmal 1 for 15 for only 4 yards with 5 turnovers. Instead of taking responsibility for his trash performance he decided to take out his frustration on a Chargers cameraman for some reason. The incident was witnessed by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Jay Posner and written about in the paper. Mad that he’d been exposed (though Leaf claimed the story wasn’t true) the QB decided to confront Posner. The incident was caught on tape as Leaf can be seen screaming at the journalist. Even his tone and use of the phrase “Knock it off!” sound bratty. Teammates quickly step in before it escalates further but we’re still left with some highly entertaining footage!
# 3 Bobby Bonilla runs up on reporter at his locker
It’s been over some years so people don’t really remember Bobby Bonilla. He was actually a pretty good baseball player during his time. On the other hand he wasn’t the most consistent player and he wasn’t known to have the best relationship with the media. The fact that it was the NY media certainly didn’t help. In 1992 he inked the riches deal in the MLB with the NY Mets. Unfortunately neither he nor the Mets lived up to expectations. Reporters and fans alike were very vocal in their criticism of Bonilla. The Third Baseman and Right Fielder was never one to hesitate to clapback himself, resulting in several run-ins. The most infamous came in April of 1994 with ABC reporter Art MacFarlane. Irked that MacFarlane wouldn’t stop asking him questions (i.e. doing his job) Bonilla threateningly walks up on the journalist challenging him to scrap. The two men come dangerously close together, and you got to give MacFarlane credit. He doesn’t flinch as he stands nose-to-nose with the good-sized bug leaguer. Eventually, as what usually happens in these situations, people rushed in and broke thing up before any blows were actually thrown. Still it’s a pretty intense moment. We even get treated to a “Shove that mic up your ass” from Bonilla as a bonus!
# 2 Jim Everett Manhandles Jim Rome on live TV
Anybody familiar with sports talk television knows who Jim Rome is and what he’s about. He’s polarizing, controversial, and pretty much has no filter. Though he’s made a name for himself and is solidified in the industry now, there was a time early in his career where his mouth wrote checks his a$$ couldn’t cash. In 1994, Rome, who then was hosting the show Talk2 was interviewing NFL QB Jim Everett. Everett had been dogged by a reputation of being soft after the NFC Championship game in 1989 against the San Francisco 49ers in which he was hit and sacked so many times that he actually fell down before he was even touched on one play. They called it the “Phantom Sack”. Five years of trying to live this down came to a head when Everett came on the show to confront Rome about the latter mockingly calling him “Chris” Everett, after the Women’s tennis legend. Never shy, it took Rome all of 30 seconds to call Everett “Chris” not once but TWICE. Everett tells Rome to put some respeck on his name, but Rome shows some heart and defiantly calls his “Chris” a third time. We won’t spoil what happens next but let’s just say even though Rome shows guts, in the end, it may have been smarter for him to not provoke somebody two times his size. It got ugly.
# 1 Hal McRae goes BESERK
It’s hard to be crazier than an athlete and sports writer getting into fisticuffs, but count this as our favorite and most amusing moment on this list. Another throwback that people under 35 may not know about, Hal McRae going absolutely bananas during a press conference in April of 1993 has to be on the Mount Rushmore of all-time sports meltdowns. After losing 5-3 to the Detroit Tigers, and dropping to 7-12 on the season, the heat was starting to turn up on the Kansas City Royals Manager’s seat. The year before they’d finished 18 games under .500 so you can imagine McRae was feeling the pressure. During the press conference in his office things started out normally. Then a reporter asked a seemingly innocuous question about if Hal had considered using George Brett to pinch hit in the Seventh Inning with Two Outs bases loaded. Now we’re not big enough baseball experts to understand what was insulting about that inquiry, but whatever it was, the Royals skipper WENT OFF. We’ll let you see for yourself all that went down in the clip above, but let’s just say there’s some furniture movin’ that leaves somebody leaking, and the classic line to wrap it all up at the end “Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”.
As a side note McRae’s eruption may have actually had positive effects. Not only did he not lose his job for the scene, but Kansas City actually finished the season with a winning record.
…so that’s our list. Tell us what you think. Are there any other moments you can think to add? Leave a comment! Don’t forget to watch the video below and visit us at Facebook.com/FirstTeamFans , Twitter.com/FirstTeamFans , InstaGram.com/FirstTeamFans , and YouTube.com/FirstTeamFans . Look out for our app. coming soon!