Sports

These Elite Athletes Trashed The Teams That Made Them Famous

Darren - December 18, 2023
Sports

These Elite Athletes Trashed The Teams That Made Them Famous

Darren - December 18, 2023

Many athletes and sports teams are synonymous with each other. For example, think about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls or Tom Brady and the Patriots. It doesn’t matter if they had a few years playing on other teams because we’ll always associate them together. But some athletes trashed the teams that made them famous.

Often they come from a place of love and mourn the reality that their team isn’t in a good place now. We’re talking about Ben Roethlisberger in 2023 and other Steelers stars. Meanwhile, some former players now work as analysts so it’s their responsibility to call out teams if they’re not in good form. Check out the elite sports stars who trashed the teams that made them famous right here.

ESPN

Troy Aikman

The Dallas Cowboys have seen some great quarterbacks, and Aikman was one of the most successful. Now the multi-time Super Bowl winner is one of the leading analysts in the game. He’s not afraid to criticize his old team but some people think he goes too far when he talks about current Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.

Sports Illustrated

Aikman trashed the playcalling in a recent game against the Niners. He said (via Sports Illustrated): “I’ve seen it with a lot of teams — a lot of these offenses want to scheme things. The coordinators, it’s all about the scheme, rather than, ‘This corner is playing soft. He’s scared to death.’ Just run the route tree. Run a comeback, run a dig route, run a curl… run anything.”

AP

Le’Veon Bell

Bell became one of the NFL’s premier running backs during a breakout year in 2017. He made the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career and broke all his previous numbers. However, everything fell apart after he refused the franchise tag and his career plummeted. These days he’s not playing football but he’s not afraid to comment.

Sports Illustrated

The running back trashed his old team and offensive coordinator Matt Canada in 2023. Bell tweeted after one bad call: “I don’t like that pretty ass fullback handoff… just run QB sneak Canada, it was only 3rd and inches.” It’s safe to say that they won’t be inviting him back to the former Heinz Field anymore (via Yardbreaker).

AP

Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod was a baseball phenomenon before his extensive doping scandal tarnished his career. That cost him a place in the Hall of Fame but he still believes that the Yankees should retire his number. It upset him when he learned that they opted against this so he publicly trashed them.

New York Post

Rodriguez said (via FOX News): “It did not make me happy. Yeah, of course, it bothers me. It’s less about bother, but of course, it would be nice to be recognized in one of the coolest places to be in Yankee history, but that’s not my decision.” The 14-time All-Star had no problem throwing them under the bus.

Sky Sports

Larry Bird

Bird is one of the Celtics’ greatest players and an NBA legend. But he is no stranger to sharing his opinions and doesn’t hold back. He infamously trashed his former teammates on multiple occasions because he didn’t believe they were on the same level. Some people think this is unfair but it shows his winning mentality.

NBA.com

In an interview with Chick Hearn, Bird said that Dennis Johnson was the best player he played with. However, he had a cutting response when Hearn said that this was a massive compliment (via Essentially Sports). Bird said: “Well, I haven’t played with very many good ones.” This was one of the most stinging rebukes we’ve ever heard.

GOAL

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo rose to superstardom with Manchester United after he arrived from Lisbon in 2003. He enjoyed a glittering career before he moved to Real Madrid and Juventus where he won dozens of trophies. Finally, he returned to United in 2021 but it didn’t go well. He had a toxic relationship with head coach Erik Ten Hag and it became a nightmare.

AP

The Portuguese told Piers Morgan (via Sports Illustrated): “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me.” He continued: “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.” In the end, he left the team behind for a new adventure in Saudi Arabia.

CNN

Francis Ngannou

Ngannou has one of the most insane backstories ever as he emerged from a Cameroonian sand mine to become a UFC heavyweight champion. The hard-hitting knockout artist left the promotion as a free agent and duly trashed their conduct. He complained about fighter pay and their attitudes toward their athletes.

MMA Fighting

The former champion said: “Over time, I realized there’s a lot of issues that can be fixed. I was getting frustrated at some point, because I feel unprotected, which is exactly the situation that all fighters are in, too (via Essentially Sports).” In the end, he had the last laugh as he made millions fighting Tyson Fury in boxing.

Ezra C. Shaw

Ryan Leaf

Leaf is one of the most notorious draft busts ever. Remember, some people thought that he was a bigger long-term prospect than his classmate Peyton Manning. However, it was an unmitigated disaster for the young quarterback and the Chargers. Leaf says that the Chargers should have known what they were getting into.

Allsport

Allegedly, they did mental health tests which he failed. Leaf said (via USA Today): “My talent must have made them overwhelmingly ignorant of science. I just didn’t have the brain makeup apparently. If I were tested now would I have the right brain makeup? Who knows.’’

Team Talk

Jamie Carragher

Few athletes in any sport spend their entire careers with one club. Carragher was Liverpool through and through and became a club icon. The former England international captained the team several times and won many trophies. After retiring he became an analyst who was often critical of the team’s owners.

IMDb

Carragher tweeted: “This is embarrassing. Liverpool for years now have got deals done quickly with no fuss.” Later he also wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph about the club’s breach of trust from its fans. Carragher didn’t hold back as he trashed the team that made him famous.

Fansided

Carl Davis

Former Baltimore star Davis tore into the franchise’s departing strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders in 2023. He wasn’t the only one who complained about the controversial Saunders because he was an unpopular figure. An ESPN survey uncovered that he was the least popular strength and conditioning coach in the NFL.

Fox Sports

Davis tweeted that he was a “victim of the strength coaches. Two Labrums and multiple pec strain.” Several rookies also blamed him for damaging their career prospects. Saunders oversaw the Ravens’ shocking injury crisis in 2021 when their roster suffered insane damage (via Baltimore Banner).

CBS Sports

Joe Greene

Pittsburgh loves Greene because he’s one of their most legendary players. The four-time Super Bowl champion was an integral cog in the most successful part of their history. ‘Mean’ Joe is rarely critical of the team he loves but in 2023 he trashed the franchise after one bad defeat.

NBC Sports

The franchise icon told the Zach Gelb show (via SBNation): “Let me say that in all the years I’ve been watching my team the Pittsburgh Steelers, the black and gold, Thursday night, that first half, was probably the saddest days that I’ve had in all of my years of playing. And all of my years since retirement and watching the Steelers play.”

GOAL

Roy Keane

Former Manchester United captain Keane was a brilliant player and motivator. However, he also earned a reputation after retirement for speaking plainly about his former team. United went through a turbulent period and Keane openly trashed their lack of leadership on the field.

RTE

Keane was scathing about one humiliating loss to a Championship team. He said (via All Football App): “Over the last couple of home matches, they have only scored one goal and one obviously again tonight. I was talking about Man United finding a way to win the game but what did they do, they found a way to lose the game.”

CBS Sports

Tom Brady

Technically, we’re cheating by including Brady on this list because he trashed the NFL. However, he’s arguably the league’s most important player over the past couple of decades. The seven-time Super Bowl winner believes that football isn’t as technically advanced as before and coaching is weaker.

CNN

Brady said: “I think there’s a lot of mediocrity in today’s NFL. I don’t see the excellence that I saw in the past (via USA Today Sports.” Unsurprisingly, this made waves and many people disagreed. Some even said that it was typical of an older player to complain about the modern version of their sport.

Sky Sports

Mikey Garcia

In 2021, former boxing champion Garcia trashed Top Rank and his old promoter Bob Arum. One of the sport’s most popular fighters, Garcia’s words held a lot of sway. He’s not the only former Top Rank athlete to shred Arum and the promotion in public. He answered a question about Arum on his Instagram Live.

Essentially Sports

Garcia said (via SBNation): “F*** Arum, piece of s***. I’ma keep it real now, I’m tired of just keeping it always politically correct and trying not to get him upset because all the fighters are still with Top Rank, because my brother still works with Bob Arum and Top Rank. F*** that fool.”

New York Times

Hope Solo

Solo became one of the most famous players in women’s soccer. The goaltender won acclaim for her outstanding leadership and reflexes on the field. However, she also attracted criticism for her volatility. She infamously trashed her coaches and the USWNT set-up several times.

Detroit News

Former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis felt the brunt of Solo’s wrath. Solo said (via The Spun): “Jill is not the leader I wish her to be because she relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But often that doesn’t matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb.”

ESPN

David Ortiz

Ortiz is still bitter about how the Minnesota Twins cut him in 2002. He despises his former head coach Tom Kelly with a vengeance and loathes the organization. His hilarious autobiography unintentionally reveals his bad attitude. Ortiz wrote: “I know he’s recognized as a good baseball man, but he struck me as a guy who believed his players were dumb f****.”

MLB

He also said that the situation would have broken a lesser man and he blamed Kelly. However, the Twins’ horrific losing record across Ortiz’s tenure gives Kelly some credit. He didn’t have good players so nobody can blame him for losing patience with them (via SBNation).

Pro Football History

Fred Taylor

Former Jaguars star Taylor made waves when he tweeted: “Somehow, I played career with a fractured clavicle, 2 partially torn labrum, one in each shoulder. I’m Appalled! I was never told this as a player. Oversight? Or BS? (via Jacksonville.com). This went down like a lead balloon in Florida.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Later, Taylor deleted the tweet and claimed that he didn’t mean to criticize his former organization. However, he trashed his old team with good reason. He said that he was sharing his story rather than complaining but it didn’t feel like that. Football takes an incredible toll on bodies so he has a right to take a stand.

DAZN

Jorge Masvidal

The former BMF champion became one of the UFC’s most popular fighters after a string of electrifying KOs. He earned the moniker ‘Street Jesus’ and became one of Florida’s favorite sons. The UFC helped Masvidal achieve fame but that didn’t stop him from criticizing the organization after he retired.

Marca

Masvidal trashed the UFC on the Ariel Helwani Show (via Planet Sport). He said: “Our opinions don’t matter for crap, you know. Like, for the uniforms, for a lot of the pay – a lot of things, our voices don’t matter. All that matters is that we get in there and kick someone’s ass, that’s all they care for.”

TeamTalk

Gary Neville

Former Manchester United Captain Neville is one of the most successful players in soccer history. These days the retired defender is a respected analyst for Sky Sports. While he still loves United, he’s extremely critical of their regression over the past decade. Neville doesn’t hold back despite his affiliation with the team.

Bleacher Report

Neville trashed his old team and the owners. He said (via Goal): “It’s down to the Glazers that Man Utd have not for 10 years – to provide the leadership, guidance and strength over recruitment. If you get it wrong, £300-400m at a time, three or four times in 10 years, that is ultimate failure. That’s down to the owners.”

DAZN

Terence Crawford

Omaha’s finest son is one of the greatest boxers of all time. However, his former promoter Top Rank mishandled his career and prevented him from fighting the best names in the sport. Finally, Crawford managed to free himself from their control and he trashed Bob Arum in a ruthless statement.

New York Times

Crawford alleged that “Arum clearly allows his revolting racial bias to impact the fighters he is obliged to promote.” He also said that Arum doesn’t know how to promote black fighters in a scathing statement (via the New York Post). It’s safe to say that they won’t be sending each other Christmas cards.

AP

Derek Carr

The Raiders cut ties with Derek Carr in 2023 after their new coach wanted to move on. This happens occasionally in the NFL and the quarterback joined the New Orleans Saints. However, he trashed the Raiders over the way they treated him as well as his wife.

Front Office Sports

Carr said (via NBC Sports): “Once they made my wife cry, that was pretty much over. Once they made her cry, that was out. The love for my teammates is what probably would have made me do it. But the way it worked out and the timing of things, I was just… it was time for me to move on.”

AP

Tito Ortiz

Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Ortiz was one of the promotion’s biggest stars. However, the loudmouthed fighter always had a tense relationship with UFC President Dana White. He was also openly critical of how they treated athletes and believed it was all going to down.

MMA Fighting

Ortiz trashed his old promotion in 2015. He said: “Rome crumbles from inside and that’s what they’re going to do. They’re going to crumble from the inside. They’re their worst enemies. I could just sit back and nobody is gonna talk trash about Dana, talk trash about the UFC. I’ll let them do their own damage (via MMA Fighting).”

Yahoo Sports

K.J. Wright

This former Seahawks linebacker is happy to share his opinions about his former franchise. He infamously threw Pete Carroll under the bus in 2023 because Seattle’s defense wasn’t playing well. Carroll didn’t respond well to Wright’s comments because it felt like a violation of trust.

Sports Illustrated

Wright trashed his old team on Seattle radio (via KDH News) “What I’m hearing from coach Carroll is that he’s sick and tired of these guys. He’s extremely frustrated, he feels like he’s preaching to ’em, he’s trying to be nice to them, but they’re just not receiving his message. So essentially, they don’t give a (expletive) what he’s saying at this point.”

Sports Illustrated

Eric Dickerson

In 2022, NFL legend Dickerson made waves with his memoir. The Rams icon had some interesting and provocative statements about the league. He trashed the way the NFL eats players” bodies but doesn’t give them long-term security. Dickerson wasn’t the first to say this but he wrote it eloquently.

Sport Reviews

“Guys need health care. You need a pension you can be proud of,” he said (via KCRW). “The NFL gave me a life that I’m happy that I have. I thank God for it. But I just feel like it really is disrespectful, so disrespectful to the players that make the game great.” The NFL didn’t enjoy this because it brought more attention to their malpractices.

Mint

Lionel Messi

One of the greatest soccer players ever, Messi is a phenomenon. He won 34 trophies with Barcelona and became synonymous with the Catalan giants. However, it came to an unfortunate, acrimonious end in 2021 when he left as a free agent. The club president Joan Laporta criticized Messi after his departure.

Sky Sports

Messi defended himself passionately and trashed Laporta. He said: “Nobody asked me to play for free and it seems to me that the words said by the president are out of place. They hurt me because I think he doesn’t need to say that. This makes people think and generates a type of doubt that I think I do not deserve (via Eurosport).”

CNN

Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger is a Steelers’ all-time great and won two Super Bowls. The veteran quarterback retired after a successful but controversial career. In 2023, he raised eyebrows when he trashed Pittsburgh and bemoaned their performances. He shredded head coach Mike Tomlin as well as the entire roster (via Sporting News).

Sporting News

“You can’t afford in the second half of games to burn silly timeouts and to not have them late in the game,” Roethlisberger said. “To me, that’s bad coaching.” He also complained about their lack of on-field leadership and said nobody was taking responsibility. ‘Big Ben’ didn’t hold back on calling out the franchise that made him a household name (for better or worse).

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