Athletes are the sporty celebrities that make their way into our lives day in and day out. They permeate our interests, our conversations, and even our arguments. Gossip, news, and events revolve around them and we take off from work and school to catch them live and on television. They are our heroes, the people we admire who exhibit a strong work ethic, perseverance, and the rags-to-riches stories we just love to eat up.
And then we have the athletes that are not so liked. Such as the folks on this list of America’s 10 most disliked athletes. These people span different sports and the reasons for their low appeal ratings vary. From animal abuse and domestic violence, to pure jealousy and being a huge jerk, these are the pro sports stars that top the list of most-hated. Basketball, football, golf, cycling, baseball, NASCAR – these are popular sports that became championship events thanks to athletes who portrayed loyalty, hard work, and dedication to the sport.
Yet these ten people got lost somewhere along the line. Whether they gave in to steroids or their own short tempers, they have a lot of work to do if they want to repair their public image. Only time will tell if they can get their approval ratings up.
10. Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong had it all: a beautiful wife, a stellar career, a boatload of Tour de France cycling titles…and then it was revealed that he had doped up and used steroids to secure all those wins. Ouch! His career and public image quickly descended into the pits. As of right now, Lance is having a hard time repairing his reputation and most of the media coverage about him is negative. His appeal rating (according to Forbes) is a measly 15%. That is extremely low for an athlete who made cycling cool and was more talked about than a lot of football players. Time will tell if he can turn things around and “live strong” again.
9. Manti Te’o
Manti Te’o was a prized football player and then his career got shrouded in mystery and controversy. His girlfriend was said to be dead, then she was revealed to be a complete myth. What? Lenay Kekua was just a made up woman? Who does stuff like this? The public was left scratching their heads and tuning in to their television sets every night to find out the latest details of the Te’o-Kekua story. His likeability status plummeted and he is no longer the football star he once was. Yet maybe his public persona will make a rebound and people can begin to like Te’o for who he is. If he actually exists.
8. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was once fixed at the top of the leaderboard in terms of the golf world. Kids admired him, golfers emulated him, and even the general public had a favorable opinion of him. Then he ran into injuries, his golf game got worse and worse, and then he was revealed to be a sex addict. He admitted himself into rehab and tried to patch things up. He had at least 14 mistresses according to reports, and he totally ruined his marriage. So much for that. Tiger Woods may still be known for being a “tiger” if you know what we mean. He is still playing golf, but not doing a very good job.
7. Jay Cutler
Jay Cutler is the quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Currently, the team is in shambles, particularly due to Jay’s beef with the management of the Bears. The offensive coordinator expressed second thoughts about signing Cutler, but he then tried to take back those comments and later apologized for the hateful words. Cutler has snubbed the Bears’ management staff and is not on good terms with them. Head coach for the Chicago Bears, Marc Trestman, was fired and replaced with John Fox. This was further proof that Jay was not having it from the managers and wanted them out. Time will tell if Fox gets fired as well.
6. Metta World Peace
His name may be Metta Peace, but this basketball player has had a rough past. The last decade or so has been filled with domestic violence, brawls on the court, and drama outside of the arena. He was originally known as Ron Artest, but legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2011. A cry for help? A call to action? More like a self-righteous nod to himself. This is one of the least favorite basketball players out there right now, and he may need to change his name to Mr. Congeniality if he hopes to snag any more fans. Plagued by legal problems, who knows if Metta World Peace will ever be likable.
5. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez has had it rough. He has had to battle reports that he has used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe the public would have at least accepted him or even liked him if he had just owned up to his mistakes. But Alex spent years adamantly denying that he had doped up. Only years later did he finally admit that yes, he had used steroids and lied about it to authorities. Well, now no one is going to like you! You can’t just pretend to be some baseball hero and then come clean about years of lying and sneaking drugs around!
4. Michael Vick
Most of us hate Michael Vick and still can’t get past the fact that he was one of the leaders of a dog-fighting ring. The football player who was once a star and admirable team mate has morphed into a hateful and violent man with self-seeking tendencies. He organized that dog-fighting ring and saw animal after animal being killed yet did nothing to stop it. In fact he kept it going and only felt sorry about it once he was found out. To his credit, he has been trying to turn his act around and maybe one day he can be equated with just football again, and not animal abuse.
3. Kurt Busch
There seems to be a pattern in sports for male athletes to abuse their girlfriends. Whether emotionally, sexually, or physically, one might think that domestic violence was part of the contract or job description. Well, it is not, and it is so not okay, not matter if you are a famous athlete or not. We can add to the list of abusers, Kurt Busch. The NASCAR race car driver received allegations for assaulting his girlfriend and is one of the most hated drivers out there. Kurt Busch is unfortunately going to go down in history as yet another pro athlete who used his fame and fortune to take crime lightly.
2. Kobe Bryant
Poor Kobe Bryant. No one wants to play with this pro athlete. He used to be at the top of his game and was dominating the National Basketball Association. So what happened? He is even being blamed for the less-than-stellar performance of the Los Angeles Lakers. Insiders are reporting that Kobe is an ego-maniac and that it is hurting the Lakers’ prospects for trades and obtaining newbies and up-and-coming players. He is supposedly a complete jerk to his own team mates and he is so not liked by management and others in the NBA that no one even wants to communicate with the Lakers. Ouch.
1. Tony Romo
Tony Romo, the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, has an appeal rating of only 27%. So what exactly did Tony Romo do? Not much, really. Except he is on the Dallas Cowboys, and when you are on the Dallas Cowboys, people are gonna hate, hate, hate. Perhaps it is just jealousy; after all, Tony Romo has got it going on…high-profile girlfriends, loads of moolah, a nice football record. Still, a 27% appeal rating is harsh. Oh well. Just goes to show you, even the life of a professional athlete is not a bed of roses. It is probably more like a bed of sweaty sheets. Gross.