Biggest Trolls in Sports Right Now

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2014

Biggest Trolls in Sports Right Now

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Being a professional athlete, coach, general manager or sports broadcaster comes with a lot of visibility.

    When they move, people will watch. When they speak, people will listen.

    This kind of visibility also gives celebrity sports figures the opportunity to troll harder than any of us mere fans could ever dream of.

    Since more people are listening to the things they say—and caring about the things they say—most professional athletes have a "troll radius," as I like to call it, that spans across countries.

    For those of you who are just recently joining this trend that we call the Internet, let's define a key term. What is a troll?

    Our friends at Urban Dictionary can help us out:

    The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue.

    The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
    Trolling requires decieving; any trolling that doesn't involve decieving someone isn't trolling at all; it's just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccesful troll.

    Today, these trolls will get exposed for what they truly are.

    Which sports figures are really just messing with all of us? Who has made it a goal to irritate as many people as possible and had great success?

    Take a gander through the following slides and see for yourself.

Lance Stephenson

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Lance Stephenson turned in one of the most annoying performances in the history of the NBA this year in the Pacers’ Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Miami Heat.

    And how often do you hear a professional basketball player’s performance referred to as annoying?

    In a failed attempt to rattle LeBron James' psyche, Stephenson tried every trick that teenage boys are usually able to use so successfully on their younger siblings, including famously blowing on LeBron’s face during a game—to no avail.

    Winners never troll, trolls never win. I hope you learned your lesson, Lance.

Chad Johnson (Ochocinco)

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    Jeff Daly/Invision/AP/Associated Press

    The best football news of this offseason had nothing to do with the NFL. Rather, it was the announcement that the man formerly known as Chad Ochocinco had signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, giving him a great opportunity to stay in the spotlight and keep trolling along.

    Ochocinco's resume is long and rich: He raced a horse, rode a bull, tried out for a MLS team and put more effort into planning his touchdown celebration dances than his offseason workout.

    Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, was his experimental journey into literature with his book Ocho Cinco—essentially the Troll Bible, mentioning at various points that he could easily play in the NBA and describing the birth of his child by saying, per Rick Reilly of ESPN, "Just having little me's around is cool. No lie."

Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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    In what may be the most annoying friendship on Earth, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has for some reason decided it is necessary for longtime pal and global pop icon Justin Bieber to escort him to his fights.

    In a similarly popular move, Mayweather and Bieber enjoyed a spa day the day before the boxer's fight against Marcos Maidana last month, as shown in the Instagram post above. JB enjoyed a massage while Floyd got a pedicure.

    Mayweather has expertly exploited the Biebs to elevate his status as a world-renowned troll while simultaneously drastically improving the aesthetic quality of his toenails.

Aaron Rodgers

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    The fun-loving, unassuming Aaron Rodgers, beloved star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, is the unlikeliest troll in all of sports.

    But just when you least expect it—bam, there he is, standing in the back of your photograph with that innocent, naïve look in his eyes, trolling from the distance like very few others are capable.

    If you’re still in the dark as to what I’m talking about, please direct your attention to the video above or this link and sift through Rodgers’ impressive body of work as a photo-bomber during Packers’ captains photos dating back almost as far as his impressive career.

Dennis Rodman

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    Kim Kwang Hyon/Associated Press

    When I think of Dennis Rodman's childhood, I picture a two-year old kid with brightly colored hair and bizarre piercings who still can't say "mama" but learned the word "troll" months earlier.

    It was just destiny.

    In his legendary career, his two most epic displays of trolling actually came after his retirement:

    1. Rodman trolled a nation full of parents who are trying to find positive role models for their children by writing his own children's book Dennis the Wild Bull, which is probably chock full of all the admirable values that Rodman displayed throughout his life.

    2. Rodman collectively trolled the entire United States of America by visiting North Korea, befriending Kim Jong Un and telling the US that he wouldn't visit again if they didn't want him to.

    Thank you, Dennis, for taking the reins on our country's foreign policy and the education of our newest generation. That's exactly what we all needed.

Keith Olbermann

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    When Keith Olbermann trolls, he trolls poetry.

    Witness the video above as the television personality trolls LeBron James so hard that you'll wonder why you ever thought he was a great basketball player in the first place.

    Olbermann really showed off his skills, though, during the most recent NHL season, when he decided to call out Philadelphia Flyers fans for being illiterate. This sparked the following exchange:

    #ESPN's @KeithOlbermann Says #Flyers Fans Are Illiterate — Another reason why he is the worst person in the world

    — Philly Mag (@phillymag) April 16, 2014

    So if Flyers fans are not illiterate, @PhillyMag, how come you only have 50,000 followers?

    — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) April 16, 2014

    @KeithOlbermann @phillymag You have less than 500K followers, Amanda Bynes has 3.12 million. Your argument is invalid.

    — Baxter (@Landcross) April 16, 2014

    It's on tomorrow @NHLFlyers. @KeithOlbermann said he wants to have @Hartsy19 and @Simmonds17 on for a pregame show

    — Philly Mag (@phillymag) April 16, 2014

    Hey @tmcgrathphilly, @KeithOlbermann just volunteered to write 4,000 words on the Broad Street Bullies for the next issue.

    — Philly Mag (@phillymag) April 17, 2014

    Hey @RinaldoZac, @KeithOlbermann said he wants to drop the gloves.

    — Philly Mag (@phillymag) April 17, 2014

    Hey @TNestel3, @KeithOlbermann said he would like a #cheesesandwich

    — Philly Mag (@phillymag) April 17, 2014

    Oh, lord, are #Flyers fans easy to troll. I haven't said a thing in 48 hours and they're still all borderline suicidal.

    — Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) April 17, 2014

    Game, set, match.

Richard Sherman

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    It isn't exactly breaking news that Richard Sherman knows how to trash talk, and that doesn't really make him any different than most other people in the league.

    What sets Richard Sherman apart is how creatively he is able to continue pushing a player's buttons even long after they have left the field:

    #SorryCrabtree @richardsherman_25

    — Steiner Sports (@steinersports) April 6, 2014

     Mess with Sherman once, he'll troll your little head into the ground until he gets to face you again.

Dan Snyder

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    If you look up "redskin" in the dictionary, you'll get a definition that is prefaced with "dated or offensive."

    And yet, Skins owner Daniel Snyder seems bound and determined to cling to this name and continue referring to his team as a racial slur for as long as he possibly can.

    Is Snyder clueless?

    Is he a bigot?

    Or is there some other explanation?

    Mike Madden of the Washington City Paper makes a pretty good case for the idea that Snyder is just trolling all of us.

    Well, if that's so, hats off to Snyder, who has successfully enraged football fans, social activists and an entire race of human beings in his admirable career.

Miami Dolphins

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Over the past few months, the Miami Dolphins have become a fully functional troll factory, as not one but two players have made headlines with their ill-advised tweets.

    First, Mike Pouncey lovingly threatened to haze incoming rookies:

    Some folks been dumb a long time!

    — Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) May 9, 2014

    Then Don Jones had some really progressive commentary on Michael Sam’s place in the NFL, tweeting "OMG" and "horrible" after Sam was shown kissing his boyfriend on national television, as reported by Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

    I have since followed every member of the Dolphins organization on Twitter, determined to be first in line to see who strikes next!

Colin Cowherd

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    Jim Prisching/Associated Press

    What is it about radio and television personalities thinking they need to have radically unpopular opinions in order to get people to listen to them?

    Colin Cowherd, the profoundly bothersome host of a show cleverly titled The Herd with Colin Cowherd, recently outdid himself by announcing on air that it would be a darned shame if games stopped getting blacked out in local communities.

    In the constant battle between the passionate hard-working fan and corporate America, Cowherd has joined forces with the antagonists.

Alex Rodriguez

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Alex Rodriguez was an obnoxious baseball troll long before the steroids scandal completely derailed his once-legendary career.

    In 2004, A-Rod swatted the ball out of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove while running to first during Game 6 of the ALCS.

    In 2007, A-Rod yelled something to the effect of "I got it!" while rounding second base during a game against the Blue Jays, causing third baseman Howie Clark to drop the ball and allow a run to score.

    In 2014, A-Rod is sitting on his couch while the Yankees play on happily without him, and karma is laughing softly from above.

Metta World Peace

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Metta World Peace's name is Metta World Peace.

    That sentence may sound redundant, but I think it's worth drawing attention to the fact his name is legally Metta World Peace, which to me is a brilliant form of trolling everyone in the United States of America, his parents, the NBA and the naming customs of the Western world.

    Let's not judge a book by its cover, even though in this case the cover is a pretty good indication of the rest of the story. Rather, let's evaluate his troll status by checking out his Twitter, specifically right after he heard the news last year that the Lakers were likely to amnesty him:

    I just got the news ... I'm so sad!!!

    — (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013

    My news is that My favorite burger spot called "My Favorite Burger" added extra gratuity cost to the vegan burgers.. Worst day ever

    — (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013

    And then "My Favorite Burger" took away the whole grain buns. These losers amnestied the buns.. Unreal man..

    — (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013

    They waived the buns because the lettuce put them over the salary cap. I went into the restaurant furious. "No more whole grain buns. What!"

    — (@MettaWorldPeace) July 10, 2013

    Okay, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

Bill Belichick

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Though Bill Belichick never smiles in public, I suspect he goes home every night, cracks open a beer and laughs heartily to himself for hours and hours.

    After all, doesn't it sort of feel like the whole NFL is really just the butt of one big Bill Belichick joke?

    He's the only head coach who refuses to join the NFL Coaches Association.

    He signed Tim Tebow for no apparent reason.

    At the NFL draft combine, he called a last-minute press conference to announce that the plan was to do whatever was best for the team.

    His antics drive everyone crazy—fans, opposing coaches, the media—and Belichick loves every second of it.

Joe Maddon

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Is Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon the first coach to troll on his own players and then tell the media all about it?

    In the wake of a slump earlier this season (which has since developed into a full-blown "bad season"), Maddon decided to call in a Seminole medicine man to use his supernatural powers to fix the team's woes, sending the message to his players that their troubles were beyond the help of any human interventions.

    For Maddon's reference, here's a quick 5-step alternative plan for getting his team out of the cellar:

    1. Replace pitching staff.

    2. Replace catcher.

    3. Replace infielders.

    4. Replace outfielders.

    5. Fire manager.

Skip Bayless

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    Skip Bayless, Titan of Troll, Professor Emeritus at Troll So Hard University.

    No man on earth has so obnoxiously, and so successfully, devoted his entire life to bothering every person with whom he comes in contact. While Stephen A. Smith is forced to put up with it the most directly, Bayless' words unfortunately find their way onto our television screens, into our computers and into the deepest corners of our brains.

    Witness a master at work in the video above do what he does best:

    State an absurd opinion, fail to adequately back it up, send Smith into a writhing stupor and smirk arrogantly the whole time.

    He's the GOAT, and it's not even up for debate.

    Think I'm a genius? An idiot? Let me know on Twitter