The Five Most Awkward Talk Show Appearances By Sports Stars, Ever!

The chat shows that didn't go to plan, in a big way
10:05, 13 Oct 2019

Given the immense popularity of sports stars around the globe, the worlds of sport and entertainment unsurprisingly clash on a regular basis.

That includes sports stars making appearances on talk shows - you know the type - and those appearances don't always go to plan.

Whether it's because they didn't have the appropriate media training, because they didn't end up being very interesting, because they clearly just didn't want to be there, because things got hostile or awkward, or because they shared a little too much, a number of sports stars' appearances on such shows have been quite awkward and/or embarrassing - whether that was for the stars themselves, the people interviewing them or even somebody else.

In this piece, we'll take you through five such examples - and please be aware that some of the clips contain strong language.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson's relationship with reporters, interviewers and talk show hosts has been, as you might expect of such a temperamental individual, turbulent over the years, but on this occasion he really blew his top.

It happened in 2014, when Tyson sat down with CP24 Toronto News presenter Nathan Downer to talk about his new book and the fact that he'd had a sit-down meeting with then-Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Downer dropped a VERY loaded question about whether or not Tyson thought his meeting with Ford would tarnish the mayor's re-election campaign due to Tyson's previous rape conviction.

Tyson responded aggressively, repeatedly swearing on the live broadcast and making the whole thing very awkward and embarrassing for everyone concerned - except his promoter, who seemed to relish the inevitable publicity it would trigger.

Tyson will never - and should never - be able to get away from his past, but whether or not the question was called for remains a point of contention. He certainly shouldn't have reacted the way he did either way.


George Best

George Best was, of course, a very troubled man, in addition to being an exceptionally talented footballer - and the majority of those troubles stemmed from his addiction to alcohol.

It was, therefore, rather embarrassing, for both him and the BBC, when he appeared drunk on Terry Wogan's show back in 1990.

In hindsight it's hard not to have sympathy for Best, and this interview should never have been allowed to happen. Listening to the crowd laughing at him makes for a very uncomfortable experience indeed.

The interview infamously abruptly came to an end when Best said he spent his spare time "screwing", which underlined the fact that he was in no fit state to be on live television.

Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn

Back in 1993, just prior to their rematch bout at Old Trafford, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn sat down for a one-off talk-show style interview with Jonathan Ross.

The Best Of Enemies: Eubank vs Benn aired on the night of the fight itself, as the two men got to stare each other down in close proximity before they exchanged punches for what would be the final time.

There were people from the world of sport and entertainment in the crowd, including Henry Cooper, John Fashanu, Linda Lusardi and Todd Carty - and Wendy Richard was among those who posed questions to the fighters.

There were a few somewhat awkward moments, mainly when Benn expressed his dislike for his opponent, but the whole thing was a generally embarrassing spectacle in hindsight.

Can you imagine, for example, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua doing something similar, with Graham Norton sat between them while Nick Pickard watched on from the crowd and Helen Worth posed questions to them? It would be absolutely farcical!


Brian Clough and Don Revie

In 1974, on the evening of his dismissal from his role as manager of Leeds United, Brian Clough discussed his short reign at Elland Road with Yorkshire Television's Calendar news programme.

Intriguingly - given the notable temperaments of the two men in question - the programme also brought Don Revie into the studio. Revie was the England manager at the time, having left Leeds only weeks earlier, and Clough had been a very open critic of his predecessor.

In what was a live broadcast, the two managers spent as much time debating management practice with each other as they did talking to host Austin Mitchell - and it didn't really show either of the two men in a great light.

In fact, it was very much like watching a bickering married couple who were on the brink of divorce!

That being said, it's undoubtedly a highly entertaining watch to this day.


Lance Armstrong

For years and years, Lance Armstrong maintained his innocence regarding numerous accusations of illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of cycling.

Armstrong became a living legend, winning the Tour de France seven times after winning a battle with cancer, but that was all tarnished when it was revealed that he had in fact used illegal substances to enhance his performance.

He came clean in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey and it was as if someone had just flipped a switch to transform him from a liar into someone who was happy to be frank and honest about his cheating.

Armstrong smiled and laughed his way through the interview, describing how his life had been "one big lie" and going into detail about the secrets of his drug use.

It resulted in him being stripped of his Tour de France titles and, frankly, completely humiliated the once-iconic cyclist. He'll now be remembered for being the central figure in one of the biggest, most controversial doping scandals in the history of sport.