15 Sports Franchises That Are More Like Bullies (And Why)

15 Sports Franchises That Are More Like Bullies (And Why)

Bullying is unfortunately everywhere in our society, not even sports escapes it. We've conveniently set up three tiers of bullying in sports today. See which one works for you: 

Tier One: Financial Bully

New York Yankees

New York Yankees logo

Shutterstock: Manu Padilla

First on this list for a reason. Major League Baseball has no salary cap, meaning the richest teams can sign the best players, and the Yankees are the poster child for poaching superstars from small market teams. Brad Pitt and Aaron Sorkin made a whole movie about it, the one where Jonah Hill was confident in weight rooms? The Yankees are the bad guys in that movie. And real life. Especially to minor league teams

Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park

Wikimedia Commons: Werner Kunz

Don't yell at us, Boston, you know it's true. The team that was once so cheap they sold Babe Ruth to fund a musical is a recognizable global brand, probably thanks to Ben Affleck's wardrobe choices. The BoSox routinely have some of the highest payrolls in the league and are a destination franchise. We recognize that Moneyball is only sort of based on true events, but the film does start with the Yankees poaching A's players and ends with the Red Sox trying to poach the A's GM. Just saying. 

Miami Heat

Miami Heat merchandise

Wikimedia Commons: HumongoNationphotography

Financial bullying is difficult in the NBA, but doable. The NBA has a salary cap, but you can go over it if you're willing to pay what's called a luxury tax, basically an extra dollar to the league for every dollar over the cap you spend. The Miami Heat, owned by cruise ship magnate Micky Arison, are sometimes willing to pay the tax. And speaking of tax, the fact that Florida doesn't have a state income tax is high on the list of things team president Pat Riley mentions to free agents, presumably right after plopping his championship rings on the negotiating table.

The New Money of The English Premier League

For a league with built-in relegation and promotion, the EPL sure is a league of haves and have-nots (more on that later). But an influx of cash from UAE prime minister Sheikh Mansour and Thai billionaires has opened up opportunities for other clubs. Manchester City especially seems to relish no longer being the little brother to Man United, tossing around cash and winning five championships since 2012. 

Tier Two: Legacy Bullies

The Old Powers of The English Premier League

Old Tafford

Wikimedia Commons: André Zahn

Only four teams won a Premier League championship for nearly 20 years. Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea threw their riches and glamour around, bullying a league where elite glory is theoretically achievable even by the lowest-relegated teams, but practically reserved for the very few. The recent influx of money to other clubs means more parity, but history's history. There's a reason Ted Lasso's boy-os freak out in Manchester

Washington Commanders

When you are told over and over again “hey, your nickname is a racial slur” and your response for years is “so?”, you're a bully. Also when this guy is your owner, you're a bully. 

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens mascot

Wikimedia Commons: Steve Ruark

Nevermore, motherf*****s

*Ron Burgundy speaking in impressed tones about Brick's trident throwing prowess voice* Ray Lewis killed a guy! Probably not, actually, but the families of the victims sure weren't comforted by Lewis's “God has a plan” hand-waving. Anyway, the Baltimore Ravens spent the next decade as one of the staunchest, most brutal defenses in the NFL, anchored by Ray “are we sure he didn't kill a guy?" Lewis. Marketing your team around a defense anchored by an alleged murderer is basically staring other teams in the face and reminding them their deaths would mean nothing and their loved ones would forget them. 

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls

Wikimedia Commons: Chicago Bulls

This is about Jerry Reinsdorf. The man who chose loyalty to Jerry Krause over Michael Jordan after the Bulls' run of six championships seemingly cemented their status as one of the elite franchises in the NBA. But an unwillingness to spend money (there's a whole Bulls podcast derisively called Cash Considerations) despite being the third-largest media market in the US means the Bulls have never even come close to that 90s glory. Then there's the whole matter of the team's owner saying “finish in second place every year” because the fans will love it. When your team owner treats fans like a drug dealer introducing a new strain, your team's a bully in the worst way. 

Tier Three: Stylistically Bullies

The Detroit “Bad Boy” Pistons

Detroit Pistons

Wikimedia Commons: Michael Barera

Some of these players were actually skilled at the fundamentals of the game of basketball. Most, though, were really great at hitting people. People love to wonder how players from different eras would fare in today's game, with its emphasis on diversity of skills, but no one ever wonders that about the Bad Boy Pistons. 

The Oakland A's Bash Brothers

Literally had the word “bash” in their nickname, famous for crushing things with baseball bats. If they seem like snarling, be-mulleted, roided-up 80s movie villains come to life, well, that's because they were. Shoutout Lonely Island.

The San Fransisco 49ers and Everyone Else Blacklisting Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Wikimedia Commons: Au Kirk

Colin Kaepernick should still be *NFL announcer voice* playing professional football games in the National Football League. 


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