Press conferences are one of the most mundane events in the endlessly exciting world of sports. But sometimes, a truly cringeworthy one comes along.
Press conferences are one of the most mundane events in the otherwise exciting world of sports. Reporters ask the same questions after every game, and coaches and athletes give the same unenthusiastic answers. Sometimes reporters are lucky and get assigned to a team like the New York Jets where the head coach never has a dull moment. Or they draw the short end of the stick and get stuck with a team like the San Antonio Spurs, whose coach has earned a reputation for being especially harsh on reporters.
At a recent Bill Belichick press conference, Belichick was true to form -- staring down the media, answering questions with as much brevity as humanly possible and creating an unpleasant, gut-wrenching feeling for anyone watching. It got us thinking about other cringeworthy moments throughout the years. We did the dirty work (so you don’t have to) and dug up the most uncomfortable press conferences in history. Without further ado, we present to you our favorites:
20. Tiger Woods apologizes like a politician, gets nowhere
After the public learned of Tiger Woods’ adulterous activities, the golfer issued an apology to his wife, family and fans in 2009. In the video, Woods appears like an emotionless robot, repeating a 14-minute prepared speech in a room probably scattered with paid actors. I’m not sure if you can even call this a press conference; the media had to watch the recorded video in a hotel room. Was he really apologetic or just sorry he got caught?
19. Nicolas Mahut calls out dumbfounded reporter
French tennis player Nicolas Mahut sat down to take questions after a first-round loss at the 2014 French Open. A reporter congratulated Mahut, thinking he had actually won. Mahut’s response was priceless: “Are you serious? Did you watch the match?” He proceeds to only take questions in French. He may not have won the match, but he beat this reporter at his own game. Game, set, match Mahut.
18. Mets GM Omar Minaya obnoxiously accuses beat writer of ulterior motives
Mets GM Omar Minaya claimed a Daily News beat writer wrote a damning report about VP of Development Tony Bernazard -- who allegedly took off his shirt off and challenged Mets minor leaguers to a fight -- in order to get a job in the Mets Player Development department. A press conference that was supposed to announce Bernazard’s termination turned into a Minaya witch-hunt for the Daily News reporter Adam Rubin. Minaya was later fired and Rubin currently works for ESPN.
17. Allen Iverson knows it’s all about practice, practice, practice
When accused of slacking during practice, Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson went on a two-and-a-half-minute rant in which he says the word “practice” more than 20 times. It’s known as one of the most infamous rants in sports history. Apparently, former opponent and drinking buddy Gray Payton was responsible for planting the seed that led to that notorious “practice” tirade.
16. Kevin Borseth goes 0 to 100 real quick
Kevin Borseth or…Bobby Knight? I’ve never seen such a swift entrance or so much frustration all at once than in this press conference with University of Michigan women's basketball head coach Kevin Borseth after a loss to Wisconsin. He begins by slamming a piece of paper, yelling, “This is how I feel!” and ends it muttering, “I’m not going to sleep. Sorry.” Then he swiftly exits stage left. Borseth is the epitome of having zero chill.
15. Jim Calhoun tells reporter to “shut up”
When questioned about being the highest-paid employee in the state, Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun sarcastically says, “I’d like to be able to retire some day.” The banter between Calhoun and the reporter goes on, and Calhoun eventually owns him, saying, “My best advice to you…Shut Up.” Mo’ money, mo’ pesky reporters.
14. Manning and Jim Irsay hug it out upon Peyton’s exit from Indy
Quarterback Peyton Manning devoted 14 seasons to the Indianapolis Colts before notoriously being released from the team in March 2012. In a press conference, Colts owner Jim Irsay tries to put firing Manning lightly and an extremely awkward hug ensues about halfway through. In the end, Manning handled it with abundant grace and eventually chose to continue his career with the Denver Broncos. With the Broncos, Manning is consistently throwing more touchdowns, completing more passes, and throwing fewer interceptions than when he was with the Colts. You know what they say -- there is no better revenge than success.
13. Mike Gundy hopes the reporters have a child who gets downgraded and belittled
No wonder the newspaper is dying. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy went on a tireless rant in 2007 after a newspaper article negatively portrayed one of his players.
“That’s why I don’t read the newspaper,” Gundy yells at the reporters. “It makes me want to puke.” He then tells reporters he hopes they have a child who will undergo the same unfair treatment his player received. What goes around comes around.
12. Mike Brown catches a laughing attack
As if the heavy breathing and deep laughing weren’t enough. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown couldn’t stop laughing after a Game 1 win in the 2010 conference semifinals. Are Mo Williams' aerial exploits that funny or did we miss something?
11. Proof Panthers QB Cam Newton is a robot
Cam Newton returned to the field against the Lions after a rib injury held him out of part of this year’s preseason and Week 1. “My main focus right now is focusing on the Detroit Lions. I think I’ve got my hands full trying to find ways to stay protected [from] Donkey Kong (Ndamukong) Suh and my fellow Auburn teammate, Nick Fairley,” he said at press conference in September. A visibly annoyed and stone-faced Newton repeated the same answer five times, despite the various questions asked by reporters.
10. Rodger Goodell talks for 45 minutes, says nothing
After elevator footage of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice abusing his fiancée surfaced in September of this year, the public wanted answers from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on how the league handles domestic abuse and other questions regarding the conduct of the investigation that had been ongoing since July. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found. Two weeks after the footage was released, Goodell came out of hiding and into the hot seat at a press conference. He was 15 minutes late and during the 45 minutes he did speak, Goodell basically just spewed hot air and failed to answer any real questions. His body language was that of a sad dog and his language but a slew of empty clichés. The media, fans and NFL players harshly criticized him. The only highlight of the event was when prankster Benjy Bronk screamed, “Don’t take me to the elevator!” while being hauled out of the room by security. If there is anything we’ve learned in 2014, it’s always take the stairs.
9. And the MVP does not go to the Chevy guy
Somebody get this man a Xanax. Rikk Wilde, an anxious Chevrolet regional manager, was given the honor of presenting the MVP award after the final game of the 2014 World Series. The poor guy was so nervous; he had to pull out a notecard to remember his extremely short speech. He stumbled through the entire presentation to Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner. "Um, it combines technology and stuff with WiFi," he said breathing heavily. The “Chevy Guy” instantly became an Internet sensation. Adding insult to injury? Bumgarner doesn't even know where his truck is now.
8. Erik Spoelstra looks around at reporters then immediately walks away
Erik Spoelstra opened a pregame presser with a brief, “Hi,” before Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals against the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year. The Miami Heat head coach scans the room while the media is mute. After about 15 seconds of silence, Spoelstra smiles and walks out of the room. The Nets didn’t go on to win the conference title, but Spoelstra wins the Shortest Press Conference Ever Award.
7. Phil Mickelson conducts press conference roast following Ryder Cup loss
What was supposed to be a mundane golf press conference took a turn for the worse after PGA golfer Phil Mickelson threw shade at U.S. captain Tom Watson in a room filled with reporters after this year’s Ryder Cup loss to Europe. Although Mickelson never said Watson’s name specifically in his negative comments, it was clear as to whom he was referring. Meanwhile, Watson and the rest of the U.S. team are sitting at the same table as Mickelson. Who knew there was so much drama in golf?
6. What’s so funny? Nothing, according to Derek Anderson
A reporter asked Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson why he was laughing on the sidelines after being routed by the 49ers in a 2010 Monday Night Football game. He started to calmly answer the question but the reporter kept pushing and that’s when Anderson lost it faster than Jadeveon Clowney’s 40 time.
5. When Terrell Owens cries over another man
If we can take one thing away from The T.O. Show, it’s that Terrell Owens is a big softy. Case in point: He literally breaks out in tears trying to defend then quarterback Tony Romo against criticism following a 2008 playoff loss against the New York Giants. Or maybe he was emotional over the fact that the height of his career was officially behind him.
4. Kobe Bryant makes duck faces while apologizing to his wife for cheating
Kobe and his wife held a press conference to proclaim his innocence against the 2003 accusations of sexual assault. They displayed a united front, holding hands in a grip so tight, I’m surprised Kobe still has enough circulation to handle the ball. Throughout Kobe’s entire speech, Vanessa Bryant is ferociously rubbing his hands in an interaction that seems forcedly disingenuous while Kobe publicly admits to cheating on her. The most awkward part is the extremely weird “duck face” facial expressions Kobe makes while he’s speaking. A week after the press conference, Kobe presented his wife with a $4 million diamond ring. Nothing says, “I’m sorry for cheating on you” than a rock bigger than Kobe’s ego.
3. Rafael Nadal moans for three minutes
Tennis star Rafael Nadal tried his best to answer reporter’s questions after beating David Nalbandian in the 2011 U.S. Open. He was struck by lower-body cramps that caused him to collapse in pain. He covered his face with his hands and started to moan while the room was filled with silence and the shutters of cameras. Nadal’s groaning goes on for an excruciating three minutes. He eventually falls out of his chair and to the ground when finally someone steps in and ends the conference.
2. That time you felt bad for Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh was separated from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in an individual post-game presser following Miami Heat’s Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics in the 2011 playoffs. Bosh admits he had a bad game then stares at the ground while reporters ask him nothing. When he finally gets fed up with the awkward silence, he heatedly storms away. Bosh was embarrassingly reminded that he went from being the media spotlight with the Toronto Raptors to being the least important member of the Big Three. Now that LeBron’s gone, he has stepped out of his teammates’ shadows and back into the spotlight.
1. Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred uses baseball bat to simulate sex
Fans claimed Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell made profane comments and obscene gestures toward them while at a game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Justin Quinn, one of the disgruntled fans, and his family held a press conference with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred demanding an apology. The press conference included his two young daughters, dressed in pink cardigans and pigtails, sitting on either side of Allred while she proceeded to read every detail of McDowell’s alleged graphic sexual comments and actions. Allred proceeded to reenact the gesture that McDowell made using a baseball bat by pushing and pulling the bat through Quinn’s fingers shaped in an “O” around the bat. Do you think they practiced that beforehand?
But here’s the kicker -- after Allred reenacted the entire ordeal with a very intent look on her face for what seemed like forever, a camera man asked her to do it again. McDowell apologized the same day of the press conference and was later placed on a two-week suspension.