A Twitter army has formed on both sides, with former CNN host Piers Morgan
agitator-in-chief for a vocal group of sports fans.
The soap opera surrounding Kevin Pietersen's exclusion from the England cricket team has raised questions of whether special talents warrant special treatment.
The South Africa-born star tore into his colleagues in an autobiography released last year, labeling former coach Andy Flower a "mood hoover" while branding teammate Matt Prior a "schoolyard bully."
Pietersen's England career unraveled following an incident in 2012 when he was dropped from the team for sending derogatory text messages about his teammates to South Africa players.
As a member of one of the greatest sports teams of all time, former West Indies cricketer Curtly Ambrose knows all about handling special talents and egos.
Part of a side which didn't lose a Test series for 15 years -- playing alongside legends of the game such as Viv Richards and Brian Lara -- the fast bowler insists no player is more important than the team.
"From his sheer talent, he would've been a great asset to the team," Ambrose told CNN when asked if Pietersen should be recalled by England.
"But there's no one person bigger than the team. If I was to come in as a coach, and I believed -- as good a cricketer as KP is -- he was going to be a disruption to the team, then I would not select him because the team has to be first every single time.
"If I believe having him in the team would work, then yes. But if he's going to be a disruptive force, then no."
Ambrose, who played in 98 Tests between 1988 and 2000, regrets that the Pietersen situation was allowed to grow into such a divisive issue.
"He's such a wonderful cricketer and has done so well for England," said the 51-year-old, who was born in Antigua.
"Maybe, before it escalated so much, someone should've called him in, had a word with him, let him know that 'You're a professional, it's all about the team and you can't afford to do certain things.'
"He's more than good enough to play for England again. But with the things that have been said, how are you going to coexist with the personalities you have ridiculed? That is the problem."
According to Ambrose, mercurial sportsmen require equal parts freedom and restrictions.
"I've always felt it was my duty to make sure guys didn't go overboard," he said. "You don't treat them like they're in the military, give them leeway.
"But once they reach a point where it's not tolerable anymore, you've to pull them back. I was one of those guys who were quick to do that."