Do we love them, do we love them not? The 10 most hated athletes of 2010
In today’s society, sports are everything. We go to sports events with friends and family, we bet on sports games for money and bragging rights, some even devote their whole lives to playing sports. In reality, they’re everything. Fans love the passion and dedication from the players of their favorite teams and let’s face it, when your team loses, it means everything to you. The love of sports is something that will forever be in Americans hearts and that will continually be passed down to our children, and our children’s children. It’s a legacy, a tradition, and something that will forever be in our lives. However, there is also a nasty side of the sports world. People will fight for their teams, and sometimes even lose friendships over them. As a result, there are a few target athletes that are hated around the world. While some athletes get hated on for legitimate reasons, other athletes are simply hated for being great at what they do. And this year, there were definitely a handful of athletes that fell under this category.
The #10 most hated athlete of 2010 is Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees shortstop. He is the captain of the most popular, yet the most hated team in baseball. He is one of those players who is hated simply just because people love to hate him. He has never been in trouble off or on the field, and he plays fairly. Even though he is hated, he is also widely respected. #9 on the list might be surprising to some. This spot goes to Phil Mickelson from the PGA tour. While golf is not considered one of the "three major sports" in our country, it is very popular and receives a lot of attention. One of the reasons viewers tune in to a PGA Tour event is to see how lefty Phil Mickelson is playing. He is considered to be the closest thing to Tiger Woods' rival, and for good reason. Not only are they ranked one and two in the world, Mickelson has also taken some jabs at Woods and his Nike equipment. Mickelson is loved by many but hated by many, too.
The #8 most hated athlete is quarterback Tom Brady, from the New England Patriots. Tom Brady is universally known as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, along with Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw, etc. However, he is also hated by every other fan base besides the Patriots'. He’s another one of those guys that we all love to hate—he is a good-looking guy, a successful football player with multiple championship rings, and of course, the real dagger to our hearts, he is married to a gorgeous Brazilian supermodel. He has it all, and people hate it. #7 is NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know how much Kurt Busch is hated—a lot! From his loud mouth to his "off-field" issues, Busch doesn't have much when it comes to fan support. He once told cops who asked him to take a sobriety test, "I'm not doing this gay test!" The real kicker happened in 2004, when Busch was nearly dropped by his sponsor. This was very odd, considering Busch dominated in 2004 and was the Driver of the Year. It takes a lot of attitude to have a sponsor drop a champion, don't you think?
Next up is # 6, Terrell Owens, NFL wide receiver. Terrell Owens needs no introduction. T.O.'s antics have been questioned for years, and it should be no surprise to see him on a most hated list. The guy's ego should have its own zip code. There is no doubt the guy has skill, talent, and freakish athleticism, but his negatives tend to overshadow the positives. He talks badly about his quarterbacks. He dances on opposing teams' 50-yard lines. He even tells people, "Get your popcorn ready," in reference to his entertainment. The guy is so hated that he currently can't find a team who will even sign him to a short-term contract. #5 is the infamous Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers point guard. Kobe Bryant is arguably the best player in the NBA and arguably one of the greatest players of all time. He and the Lakers are fresh off another championship and are hoping for a "three-peat" in 2011. Bryant makes some of the most difficult shots look easy and is the most clutch player since Michael Jordan. Bryant is hated because of how good he and the Lakers are, but another main reason he hears a lot of "boos" is because of his swagger. Fans hate when he raises his arms in the air after a victory, and fans really hate when he calls fouls for himself. Kobe's jersey was still the NBA's top seller this past year and he continues to grow in the eyes of many, but his love/hate relationship with the fans will always be relevant. The #4 most hated player of 2010 is Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees third baseman. A-Rod is a truly talented baseball player with every tool needed to be a star. This is exactly why he is hated so much—he cheated. A-Rod has proven the past couple of seasons that he didn't need the steroids to be a great player, but for most, it is too little too late. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Furthermore, A-Rod has never done himself a favor by acting like he is bigger than the game. It is known across baseball that he doesn't sign autographs for fans and he often is seen in more tabloids than Brad Pitt. He is a gifted guy that will most likely go down as one of the best—and the most hated.
Winding down on our list is #3; quarterback Tim Tebow, of the Denver Broncos. In Gator Nation, there will never be another player like Tebow. The rest of the nation is just glad they don't have to hear his name on "College Game day" anymore. Fact is, Tebow led Florida on an incredible run and put forth more effort than some of us have ever seen. Yet, there is a growing hatred for Tebow, and a lot of it is due to his nice guy attitude. Fans believe he is fake because we have all been let down so many times by so many other athletes. Nobody wants to believe he can be successful on the field and be equally as good off the field. I think Tebow is hated more for the love affair that ESPN and other college football networks had with him these past few years, but if you look around the Internet, it is hard to find a guy who has more jokes written about him than Tebow.
Close to the number one spot is #2, Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Big Ben" has had a rough few years, and when your own fan base has turned against you, it is a bad, bad sign. Roethlisberger has been in his share of trouble off the field these past few years, and his careless attitude has only made it worse. Just like Kobe Bryant, Big Ben has been judged to be guilty until proven innocent when it's come to his rape allegations. The only difference though? Easy. Big Ben has been accused on two separate occasions, and the mere fact that he was hanging out with college girls in a college town makes people question his decisions. Roethlisberger better wear some ear plugs this season—it won't be pretty. And #1 on our long list of hated athletes is forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat. It seems to me that the only people that don't have a problem with what LeBron James did last week are the Miami Heat players and fans, LeBron James himself, ESPN, and LeBron's "entourage." James is a rare combination of talent, speed, and freakish size. Going into this past season, his popularity was soaring and his game was seemingly improving. However, it is amazing how much can change with one poor decision. People who are claiming he did nothing wrong are either Heat fans or don't understand reality. The dude made his own reality show for an hour, basically told the entire NBA he was the most important person in the world, and, oh by the way, he never once thanked the fans of Cleveland for all the support they gave him. Now, I am not saying he should have stayed in Cleveland, because it really made no difference—it was simply the way he did it. The questions were staged, his answers were flat, and his composure was nowhere to be seen. It was almost as if he knew what he was doing was a big mistake. His jerseys are being burned. His posters are being torn down. And his popularity is at an all-time low. Fans have actually blogged about subscribing to NBA TV just to root against James. As of right now, "King James" has gone from the "Chosen One" to the "Hated One."
So as you can tell, people not only love their athletes, they hate them too. There will always be loved ones and hated ones within the athletic world, but one thing’s for sure, they will always be around, and people will always have something to say about them.