Some players on the list of the most hated athletes in America are proof that people don’t forget past sins or even alleged sins, and that’s why Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and Michael Vick are still high up on this list. Manti Te’o is the shocking new entree, but it’s hard to find someone less popular than Lance Armstrong at the moment.
The list is based on national polls put together by the Nielsen Sports and market research firm E-Poll.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Playing for the Dallas Cowboys never really helps your popularity, but being a quarterback on a Cowboys team that hasn’t made the postseason in three consecutive seasons, and often being blamed and being presented as the reason for these failures, hate your popularity even more.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Playing for certain teams and being known for your ball-hogness isn’t a way to be popular with the general public or sports fans who don’t like the Lakers, but there’s still some bad feelings towards Bryant due to his involvement in the alleged rape incident 10 years ago.
Busch seems to run the wrong side of about everyone involved in NASCAR, or is the other way around? In any case, is frequent tantrums and fights with newspapers, other drivers and teammates don’t really help him become Mr. Popular on the track.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
As the years go by, Vick is sliding down the list. But being in prison for running a dog fighting business in his own backyard, responsible for the deaths of man’s best friends, is going to take quite some time for people to put it behind them.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Even before the PEDs, Rodriguez was never a popular baseball player. Going to the New York Yankees and his overall demeanor on and off the field have kept him away from the public’s embrace. Now that he’s been on two separate reports of baseball players using performance enhancing drugs? Just another reason for many in America to hate him.
Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
Despite his “peaceful” name, not a lot has changed with the player formerly known as Ron Artest. An elbow to the head of James Harden and a recent punch to Brandon Knight tell us that while World Peace is mostly trying to change, his on court behavior tells us a different story.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears aren’t a hated franchise, but Jay Cutler manages to transcend above the general perception of the team, for being standoffish with fans and teammates, for being regarded as soft and for letting his opinion, negative one, be heard when he feels like letting it out on a coordinator or teammate.
The best thing to do when you want to improve your image? Win major tournaments. Tiger Woods is trying to piece together his marriage, but in the meantime, he needs to start winning Masters and US Open’s again if he wants the public’s love and a few more sponsors back on his side.
Te’o’s appeal rating went from 88% to 15% almost overnight the moment his part in the girlfriend hoax was revealed. No one will ever be quite certain just how much he knew about it, but after being a star and media darling for an entire season as Notre Dame went undefeated for almost the entire way, Te’o, like the Irish in the national championship game, crashed and burned in a matter of minutes.
From king of the world, from being the symbol to all cancer patients, survivors and families, Armstrong went and became the most hated man in the world of sports for cheating, lying and taking money that he never deserved to get, while winning a lot of love and accolades he never deserved either.