When is trash talking valid?

Josh Moore

More stories from Josh Moore

Time Management
March 13, 2020

Josh Moore

ALL BARK, NO BITE. Although it is highly frowned upon, even in professional leagues players still resort to the art of trash-talk. Some of the most iconic sports players in history like Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and Sean Avery have even refrained from keeping the game totally clean. According to Shaquille O’ Neal, Jordan once told him exactly what he was going to do during the game and yet still pulled it off. “I’m coming down. I’m going to dribble it between my legs twice. I’m going to pump fake and then I’m going to shoot a jumper. And then I’m going to look at you,” recited O’ Neal.

You rotten piece of…! Ever since the dawn of humanity, we have strived as individuals to be the best. Society compels us to do so by working hard or proving yourself through a fierce competitive spirit.

But there is another strategy, specifically in sports, that does not involve you working towards a higher position but rather pushing someone down- trash talk.

And in some ways, it has become part of the game, but in this day and age where respecting other peoples feelings and self-esteem is what we value most, trash-talk has become a controversial subject, more specifically in schools.

Many agree that we should not have to be exposed to that sort of negative behavior, especially at a younger stage in life.

Through the evolution of our society, we have started to respect and be open-minded towards subjects like gender, sexuality, or race but it seems that with trash talk, these sensitive topics are being used as the material for name calling.

Some of the names or jokes players use on the court could be considered offensive or insensitive towards other players without even knowing. When playing on the field all you see is a competitor playing the game, you do not take time to think about their temperament.

Even if the material being used is not considered offensive, it can still be deemed as rude or disheartening towards other players.

“There’s really no place for bringing someone down in sports, even if they are instigating it you have to above them. You have to keep your mouth shut and focus on accomplishing your job,” said Mr. Andrew Ovington, SHS basketball coach.

On the other side of the argument, trash-talk is not meant to offend but rather create a fun and engaging environment for competitiveness and aggression

In fact, an article from ScienceDirect titled “Trash-Talking: Competitive Incivility Motivates Rivalry, Performance, and Unethical Behavior,” states that trash-talking increases the psychological stakes of competition and motivates targets to outperform their opponents.

Just look at politics, half of it is just calling the other side out on a matter and injecting your opinion as the better one.

“You want to get in peoples heads, it’s part of the game, some say games are 90% mental and 10% physical. But at the same time, it makes the person receiving trash talk have to think and put their mind in a place where they avoid outside distractions.

“I would say the stronger person isn’t the one who talks the crap, it’s the person who can receive it and keep going on.

“Of course, you have your boundaries on what to say and what not to, but a lot of the times what your saying doesn’t have to be that harsh or offensive as long as you’re getting inside someone’s head,” said Mr. Matthew Spary, SHS hockey coach.

Many players and coaches will argue that taking trash talk away from the game after years of it being a staple in competitive school sports can alter the physiology and gameplay and that by dealing with the vulgarity of it head on strengthens you as a person emotionally and mentally.

Because that fact is, trash talk will always live on in our civilization, not just in sports but in work and in public.

With so many different opinions in the world, it is hard for people to not be over-competitive and defend what they hold true in any way possible. It is sad but trash talking, name calling, and offensive speech will never go away as long as we are human.