Biggest Jerk in Sports — 2012 GuySpeed Awards
Remember how closely ESPN followed Terrell Owens during the peak of his career? As much as many football fans hated him, they'd still be glued to their televisions, waiting for his latest bizarre interview. The same holds true with the current day's sports villains---as much as a certain athlete, owner, or commentator might get under our skin, we can't wait to see what they'll say or do next. From shady business deals to sheer arrogance, let's take a look at the stories behind the 10 biggest jerks in professional sports.
In 2011, Jeffrey Loria forced taxpayers to pony up $2.4 billion dollars for a new Miami Marlins stadium, promising to provide a winning baseball team for their trouble. Instead, after a disastrous 2011 season, Loria decided to take the team "in a new direction"---in other words, he traded all of its good players away in one of the most shameless salary dumps in baseball history. With barely any proven talent left, the Marlins will likely spend the next few seasons in the NL East cellar, leaving Loria plenty of time to work on his evil billionaire impression.
Roger Clemens has never exactly been a fan favorite, mostly due to his penchant for firing 98 mile-per-hour fastballs at opposing batters. For most fans, the news of the former Yankees' indictment by a federal grand jury was long overdue, a sort of karmic payback for his years of obvious steroid use. When his perjury case resulted in a mistrial, we rejoiced in the fact that, while he wouldn't be going to jail, Clemens would finally be out of the public eye. That is, until this past summer, when the 50-year-old decided to pitch for an independent league team called the Sugar Land Skeeters. At this rate, we may never get rid of this guy.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The only thing as large as Floyd Mayweather's bank account is his ego. Critics will point to Mayweather's arrogance or constant legal problems as the cause of his tarnished reputation, but that's only part of the story. Most of the negative press that surrounds Pretty Boy Floyd stems from his refusal to fight fellow boxing great Manny Pacquiao, the one fighter who stands a chance at putting a blemish on his undefeated record. Oh, and he pals around with Justin Bieber, which should be punishable by law.
When you've spent the last 15 years of your life creating a foundation that focuses on clean, healthy living, it's probably best to avoid a lifetime ban for blood doping. Lance Armstrong's decision to end his fight against U.S. Anti-Doping Agency did more than cost him his seven Tour de France titles---it convicted him in the eyes of the public. Even worse, it suggests that Armstrong has spent the last few years lying to the same people that he claimed to be inspiring. To be fair, Lance has done a ton of great charity work over the years, but that doesn't change the fact that he cheated.
In a league notorious for its belligerent personalities, Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh has been named the NFL's dirtiest player for two consecutive years. In 2011, Suh served an infamous two-game suspension after purposely stomping on an opposing lineman's arm. His most recent run-in with league officials occurred this past Thanksgiving, when he was accused of kicking Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub directly in the McNuggets. We could tell you more, but we're afraid Ndamukong will hurt us.
Just when you thought Alex Rodriguez couldn't get any more unlikable, the 2012 American League playoffs happened. After missing most of the regular season, most Yankee fans were hoping that A-Rod would earn his bread in October. Instead, A-Fraud was so lost at the plate that Joe Girardi sent him and his $30 million salary to the bench, where he allegedly spent the rest of the ALCS flirting with attractive fans. Oh, and did we mention that Rodriguez is 38-years-old, injured, and still owed more than $100 million? No wonder no one likes him.
Want to make America's most violent sport even more dangerous? Just hire Gregg Williams! As the former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, Williams spearheaded the infamous "Bounty Program," offering his players thousands of dollars in exchange for causing injuries to opposing stars. When the NFL found out about his misdeeds, Williams decided to turn rat, blaming Bountygate on respected players such as Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita. Williams is currently serving a one-year suspension, but given his track record, it's unlikely that he'll be coaching again anytime soon.
Metta World Peace
In reality, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest could earn a spot on this list solely for legally changing his name to Metta World Peace. Since breaking into the NBA in 1999, Metta's transgressions include jumping into a crowd to pummel fans, drinking Hennessy during games, and earning the longest suspension in league history. More recently, the Lakers forward drew the ire of fans for the unprovoked elbowing of James Harden during a 2012 playoff game. If all of that isn't enough to convince you that Metta is a jerk, you could always check out his Twitter page.
If you're interested in learning some new colorful words, just ask a diehard hockey fan about their thoughts on commissioner Gary Bettman. Under his watch, the NHL has endured three labor stoppages, the latest of which has already resulted in the cancellation of the first half of the 2012-13 hockey season. Bettman's constant gripes about "bloated" player salaries (despite record ratings and improved revenue) are not only absurd---they threaten to undo all of the progress the NHL brand has made over the last years.
Skip Bayless isn't content with reporting on sports news---he's obsessed with becoming a part of it. ESPN's resident firebrand will do whatever it takes to get a rise out of his audience, even if that means making a complete fool of himself. When he isn't making delusional claims about Tim Tebow's quarterbacking abilities, he's waxing poetic about his (nonexistent) high school basketball career. Luckily, we'll always have fellow analyst Jalen Rose to put Skip back in his place.
As the commissioner of the "No Fun League," Roger Goodell has spent the last year during everything in his power to irritate its fans. A notorious disciplinarian, Goodell's office enacts heavy fines and suspensions for everything from tackles (aren't they playing football?) to excessive celebrating. As if this weren't enough, Goodell was also directly involved in an NFL lockout, a shady investigation into the "BountyGate" scandal, and, lest we forget, the unforgivable replacement referee saga. Needless to say, most fans have had just about enough of the commish.
Voting for the 2012 GuySpeed Awards closes on Jan. 15 at 11:59 PM EST. Fans can vote once per hour, so keep coming back to make sure your favorite jerk wins!