They are the jocks, the athletes, guys with all the brawn that has allowed them to get all the money. While we put some of them up on a pedestal, like Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Cal Ripken Jr., not everyone has the universal appeal. Some figures may be polarizing, supported only by die-hard fans but detested by the rest of the world.
It may be because of personal issues, misused talent or poor performance during clutch situations. Regardless of the reason, this is a list of the top 10 most disliked athletes.
10. Tony Romo, Football
Tony Romo is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League. He led his college team to the Ohio Valley Conference title in 2001 and received the Walter Payton Award in 2002. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and holds the team records for most games with at least 300 passing yards and most games with three or more touchdowns. What’s there to hate? He is prone to turnovers that have led to losses and he usually disappears in the clutch. He was criticized for entering into a distracting relationship with actress Jessica Simpson; he was also taken to task for breaking up with her on the eve of her 29th birthday.
9. Kurt Busch, NASCAR
Kurt Busch is a NASCAR driver for Furniture Row Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. He has won 24 times, to go along with his five Nationwide Series and four Camping World Truck Series wins. He has a temper however and is considered to be arrogant. He has been involved in a number of controversies and has feuded with other drivers, most notably Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.
8. Michael Vick, Football
Michael Vick is the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL. He had a stellar college career with Virginia Tech before becoming the first African American quarterback to be drafted first overall. He was one of the most talented young quarterbacks back then, but it all fell apart after he was found guilty of involvement with dog fighting. He served almost two years in prison and became bankrupt. He returned in 2009 with the Eagles. Though he set career records the following season, fans will always view him as the guy with no regard to animal welfare.
7. Metta World Peace, Basketball
Metta World Peace plays basketball for the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association, or NBA. He has played for a number of other teams, including the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. He was instrumental in the Lakers’ title run in 2010. A former Defensive Player of the Year, he will always be remembered as Ron Artest, the guy at the center of a massive brawl between the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Though he has changed his name to Metta World Peace, the image of him going after a fan is forever etched in the minds of viewers.
6. Jay Cutler, Football
Jay Cutler is the quarterback of the Chicago Bears. He used to play for the Denver Broncos where he set several single-season team records in 2008, though Peyton Manning broke them all in 2012. He was once thought to be the quarterback most likely to join the elite rank alongside Manning and Tom Brady. Fans and players, including teammates, see him as a standoff, however, and do not view Cutler favorably. Chicago fans also find it hard to forgive that he pulled himself out of a crucial game in 2011, thus reinforcing his image as a soft player.
5. Tiger Woods, Golf
Tiger Woods was on his way to becoming the greatest golfer of all time, winning a major tournament 14 times and on the PGA Tour 79 times. In 2009 however, his wife, Elin Nordegren, caught Woods in an infidelity scandal. Woods has not won a major tournament since then, though he has been slowly rehabilitating his image.
4. Ryan Braun, Baseball
Ryan Braun is a baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers where he plays both third base and left field. He was Rookie of the Year of the National League in 2007, a five-time Silver Slugger, five-time All-Star, two-time member of the 30-30 club, and MVP in 2011. His quiet, clean-cut image was questioned however after he failed a testosterone test during his MVP season. He successfully appealed the suspension, even claiming that he was a victim of testing personnel who was a fan of a rival club and who was an anti-Semite. He was then connected to the current Biogenesis scandal. He was suspended for 65 games for violating the league’s drug policy.
3. Manti Te’o, Football
Manti Te’o is a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers. He is one of the most decorated college players of all time after a stint with one of the most celebrated programs in Notre Dame. He is also one of the most vilified after he was involved in a hoax about the fake death of his fake girlfriend. It’s a story that is both sad and amusing.
2. Alex Rodriguez, Baseball
Alex Rodriguez is one of the most talented baseball players ever. For this, he has been awarded with some of the largest contracts ever. Playing for the so-called Evil Empire of the New York Yankees made him a target of opposing fans. He made himself an even bigger target however because of allegations of drug use. He is also involved in the Biogenesis scandal, with the league giving him the longest suspension ever.
1. Lance Armstrong, Cycling
Lance Armstrong used to be considered as one of the greatest athletes in the world, winning the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005 after he got diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. He was an inspiration and one of the most liked, until it was found out that he had been guilty of doping offenses all along. Even worse was the way he bullied other people while covering up his offenses. After denying it for years and suing other people who said he did, he finally admitted to all the lies to Oprah Winfrey in an interview in January 2013.
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