Sports Interviews That Will Make You Uncomfortable

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2013

Sports Interviews That Will Make You Uncomfortable

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    Although it may seem that every single time an athlete gets interviewed he or she seems to say the most politically correct things ever, there are those times when athletes do choose their owns words, making the moment incredibly awkward.

    We've seen plenty of guys do this over the years, so I'm giving you the ones that made me get goosebumps because I was so uncomfortable, feeling embarrassed and shocked for both the interviewer and the player.

    Let's just hope these athletes never teach a public speaking class.

Gregg Popovich and Craig Sager

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    In the spirit of the season, does anyone really think that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will be sending anything to TNT analyst Craig Sager?

    After seeing this awkward exchange between the two, I'd bet that it'd be highly unlikely—but then again, what do I know?

    It's pretty bad when the commentators, Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan, actually make a comment on the interview, right?

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Like fumbling over your words while asking a girl out at the gym.

Pete Rose and Jim Gray

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    Then-NBC analyst Jim Gray asked former—and blackballed—MLB player Pete Rose what everyone really wanted to ask baseball's all-time hit king.

    The problem was that the continuous prying of Gray's questions was a little less than accepted by Rose, who didn't care that it was before a World Series game and that he was on national TV.

    Instead of being a celebration of having one of the all-time greats back in a baseball stadium, fans remember this.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Having your parents find out that you lied about your math grade in high school, and you were really getting a D+ rather than a B-.

Terrell Owens' Postgame Comments

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    It's not that former NFL wideout Terrell Owens is crying that makes this awkward, it's that T.O. is tearing up while defending his then-quarterback, Tony Romo—which, as most fans know, is the opposite of what Owens typically does.

    This came after a playoff loss that ended the Cowboys' season, so maybe the wide receiver just realized that his window of opportunity to win a title was closing.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Getting a bit too emotional after your girlfriend breaks up with you in front of everyone on the middle school playground.

50 Cent and Erin Andrews

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    I'm not sure if every guy should give rapper 50 Cent props for taking the opportunity to plant a fat kiss on analyst Erin Andrews during last year's Daytona 500—since we'd all probably do the same thing in his position—or if we should feel embarrassed for him.

    The initial kiss attempt is pretty bad in itself, but then when he creeps around with her to find Danica Patrick, that's like throwing salt into an open wound.

    Luckily for 50, Erin played it off in the coolest way possible, actually even taking blame.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Leaning in to kiss your crush, getting denied and dropping off flowers to her house to try and get her to change her mind.

Eminem with the Saturday Night Football Crew

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    While I personally consider rapper Eminem to be one of the best lyricists in hip hop, he sure did have a tough time with his words during a football game between Michigan and Notre Dame earlier this season, didn't he?

    Awkward as all could be (and Musberger added to the uncomfortableness by calling him by his given name, Marshall Mathers), Em just seems completely out of it, as if he was sipping back on a few too many adult beverages before—or, at least, that's what I hope.

    The two went back and forth giving each other compliments as Kirk Herbstreit watched on.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Trying to tell your siblings that you actually didn't take the 20 bucks off their counter and that they probably just misplaced it.

David Schultz and John Stossel

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    Journalist John Stossel might be on top of his game nowadays, hosting his own TV show and becoming one of the top reporters in the business, but even he doesn't always ask the right questions.

    I guess Stossel didn't realize that asking a pro wrestler if the sport was fake would be like implying to a girl that she looked pregnant, and it ended with an openhanded slap across both sides of his face.

    I'm not sure what would happen if this went down today, but I'd think it'd be something like a major assault, brothaaa.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Getting slapped by your parents in front of your friends for doing something bad when you were younger.

Deion Sanders and Tim McCarver

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    I'm not sure about you, but one thing that I just can't stand is confrontation.

    I'm not sure why, but it just seems like the awkwardness between two people who dislike each other enough to actually argue is enough to make me freeze and not know what to do.

    So I can only imagine how everyone in the Atlanta Braves locker room felt after former outfielder Deion Sanders tossed an entire bucket of ice and champagne on Tim McCarver following the commentator's comments about Sanders playing both football and baseball on the same day back in 1995.

    Most people in sports would love to be doused in bubbly—since it usually follows a big win—but not McCarver.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Testing that fine line between acceptable and unacceptable to your boss at work by saying something that receives a "He said what?" reaction.

Jameis Winston and Heather Cox

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    It really has to be difficult to be a sideline reporter, as these people are asked to put themselves out there by asking some of the toughest questions to athletes and coaches—typically after a moment of triumph or defeat.

    While Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston answered all of analyst Heather Cox's questions about his sexual assault case—which he was found not guilty of—following the ACC title game, she went one question too far. Winston turned his back on Cox to end the interview.

    Whether appropriate or not, Cox has stood her ground even after taking heat, per Richard Deitsch.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Asking a waitress so many ridiculous questions it gets to the point that she stops serving you and has someone else bring the bill.

Dick Vitale and WGN

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    Oh technology, how we all love you so much.

    While there's a lot of good that live feeds and streaming coverage have given us, sometimes the execution of it all falls flat on its face.

    I assume that's what happened here, as WGN in Chicago thought that it was interviewing college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, only to hear him answering questions from God knows where.

    From the WGN sports reporter giving his best impersonations of the over-the-top announcer to the other studio hosts offering their commentary and, finally, the production crew playing Frank Sinatra's "Chicago," everything about this was humiliating. 

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Literally having to scream into your Grandpa's ear at the dinner table to see if he took his diarrhea medicine.

Matt Harvey and Dan Patrick

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    As awkward and humbling as it probably was for New York Mets ace Matt Harvey to ask fellow New Yorkers, most of whom didn't recognize him, questions about himself, his interview with Dan Patrick on the host's radio show has to strike out his own performance on the streets.

    Rather than talk about, you know, baseball things—such as Harvey's potentially career-altering Tommy John surgery—all the Mets pitcher wanted to do was talk about his sponsor for the show, Qualcomm.

    There's a difference between being a pitch man and being annoying, and young Harvey was way past the line on that one.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Butt dialing a friend and having him hear you talk crap about him.

David Shaw and Heather Cox

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    Here we are with ESPN's Heather Cox again, who sure seems like she has some tough skin after finding herself locked in some awkward situations.

    Trying to get the raw emotion from a head coach whose team just won the Rose Bowl for the first time in over 40 years, Cox was stunned when Stanford Cardinal head coach, David Shaw, was pulled away for the "postgame celebration" as she called it—though I think that was just her thinking on her toes.

    The extra "Are you kidding me?" as her mic was still on and she got turned down only added to the overall discomfort.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Recognizing, and speaking, to someone who has absolutely no clue who you are and why in the hell you are talking to him or her.

Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard

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    After former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters that he'd confirmed the rumors that his then-superstar center, Dwight Howard, had urged management to fire the mustachioed man, Howard came out to make things even more tense.

    Howard draped his arm around the shorter, stockier Van Gundy while they both fielded questions about what had really happened before Stan Van was finally able to escape and go drink his Diet Pepsi in private.

    D12 wasn't so lucky, as he got nailed with more questions while he tried to dance around the topic. Nice try, Dwight.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Being in the same room as both your ex and that person's new partner, trying to avoid each other until you find yourself both getting a slice of pizza at the exact same time.

Jim Everett and Jim Rome

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    One of the all-time greatest sports interviews, Jim Rome and former NFL quarterback Jim Everett's exchange on Rome's show back in 1994 has everything a good movie plot would.

    It has an antagonist (Rome, who shows no shame in referring to the QB as Chris Evert, the female tennis player), a climax (as Everett stands up for himself before attacking Rome) and a juicy ending, as the two are shown on the floor as another man comes in to separate them.

    A lack of knowing what happens afterward is what could earn this short clip an Oscar for best drama.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Talking crap to the nicest person in the world, only to see him finally stand up for himself and beat you up—in public.

Shawne Merriman on 'Highly Questionable'

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    I know that a person's past is a part of him or her, but when are people going to realize that bringing it up can sometimes be hard on someone?

    Finding that out were TV hosts Bomani Jones and Dan LeBatard, who, after asking former NFL All-Pro Shawne Merriman numerous questions about how difficult it was to deal with homelessness due to two house fires growing up, saw Merriman simply remove himself from the conversation.

    The reactions on the faces of the hosts were absolutely priceless, making this look more like an SNL skit than an actual interview.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Bombarding a first date about what happened between her and her exes.

Joe Namath and Suzy Kolber

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    This only proves that alcohol and live TV never mix.

    While Joe Namath might have been known as a major playboy back in his playing days with the New York Jets, it wasn't exactly the right time to rehash some of his old mack lines while talking to ESPN's Suzy Kolber during a New York Jets-New England Patriots game in 2003.

    Kolber was able to play it off in the moment, but that didn't stop Namath from feeling embarrassed enough to publicly apologize.

    Lesson? Don't use booze as a way to pick up girls.

    Uncomfortable Comparison: Watching a drunk old guy hit on an attractive young woman. Wait, that's exactly what happened here.