The 20 Most Hated People in Sports Today

David LevinSenior Writer IINovember 1, 2012

The 20 Most Hated People in Sports Today

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    They are the ones we are always talking about. The athletes or figures in sports that seem to always be associated with drama or poor play or the media.

    Whether its poor play or their extracurricular life outside the barriers of the stadiums or playing fields that make them stars, we are constantly talking about them at the water cooler or in social settings.

    And the conversations are not limited to athletes alone.

    Just as we talk about Terrell Owens, we talk about his agent Drew Rosenhaus. Just as much as we talk about the poor play of Alex Rodriguez, we are also just as quick to criticize the announcers who call his play in the World Series.

    When it comes to putting a bull's eye on someone's back, we are willing to target that sports figure, no matter who it may be.

    Here is a look at 20 of the most hated people in sports.

20. Kurt and Kyle Busch

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    NASCAR's reigning bad boys. Oh, their mother should be so proud. If it isn't older brother Kurt complaining about his ride and the drivers in the Chase, it's younger brother Kyle thinking he is Dale Earnhardt and trying to run over everyone on the track.

    Both are talented drivers, but their mouths and actions on the track have gotten plenty of attention this season, maybe more so than their performance.

    You notice neither is in the Chase this year and neither will win a Sprint Cup Championship this year, which is a shame since Kyle may be the most talented driver on the circuit, and that is saying something considering the talent of drivers on the senior circuit.

    Last time I checked, Jimmy Johnson was leading the points race and neither Busch brother can hold his brake pad right now.

    Where Dale Earnhardt's death may have left a void in the need for a bad boy in this sport, the Busch brothers have far exceeded the need for drama.

19. Mark Sanchez

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    Every week it seems that Mark Sanchez does something that has the New York media buzzing, and every week Jets head coach Rex Ryan defends his starting quarterback and says he is still the guy behind center.

    C'mon man!

    It should not surprise you that both Jets' passers make the list for different reasons.

    Sanchez has the talent and proved it by helping the Jets to the AFC Championship in his first two years in the league. While he wasn't asked to "win" games in the Big Apple in those seasons, he was asked to control the ball and not "lose."

    Last season and especially this one, the focus of Sanchez and his awful play (and who he is dating or breaking up with) has been the hot topic in the fish wraps.

    Should he be benched? Yes. But Tim Tebow backs him up, which does not give Ryan and the Jets many options to consider.

    Maybe the Jets' brass should have thought more about this before they hitched their wagon to Sanchez again this year without a quality backup.

18. Tim Tebow

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    And here is the other half of Rex Ryan's problem in New York.

    This is a case of an athlete making the list of the most popular athletes on the face of the earth by fans, but if you listen to some broadcasters and former NFL players (Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino), Tebow is not well received by the very cloth he represents.

    Tebow is what football should be. He is fiery and full of energy and brings the high school and college mentality to the professional level. It's contagious and teammates either really behind it or can't stand it.

    There aren't many players like Tebow who can play several positions and be successful at it. But when there are highlights of Tebow gaining five yards on a fake punt for the New York Jets, that's a little extreme.

    And when he gets behind center and lets the ball go on a 20-yard out, you have no idea if the kid can get the ball to his receiver or will the football land in the fifth row of the stadium. Yes, he is that erratic.

    You never know what you get with Tebow as a player and a success. He was a great college player, but as we all know that does not translate to NFL success immediately.

    And that is where the rub lies. He is either seriously loved by fans or disliked by fans and the media.

17. Kim Kardashian

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    She seems to go through athletes like Tiger Woods goes through swing coaches.

    If you are looking for a poster child for being a sports "groupie," then Kardashian might be it.

    Unlike her younger sister Khloe, who is married to Los Angeles Clippers forward/center Lamar Odom, Kim cannot seem to remain in a relationship with professional athletes.

    Kardashian married Kris Humphries of the New Jersey Nets. Their marriage and subsequent breakup continues to be the subject of reality lore. She has also been linked to relationships with the Miami Dolphins' Reggie Bush and the Dallas Cowboys' Miles Austin.

    While she has been seeing singer Kanye West of late, who knows what the future holds and which professional athlete will catch her eye?

    Something tells me she does not take "no" for an answer.

    Hey, didn't Kanye sing some song titled "Gold Digger?"

16. Terrell Owens

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    Did he really just ask the New York Jets for a job?

    While many NFL teams are in the market for a 6'3" receiver with decent speed, no one seems to be taking a chance on this malcontent who seems to be a cancer in the locker room of every team he associates himself with.

    Even the Jets, who need a good set of hands on the outside, have turned a blind eye to him.

    But I would love to see how he and Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow work or implode in the AFC East.

    There have been stories out in the media about him being broke, and he has already appeared on Dr. Phil to deal with his personal and child support issues.

    He was part of the Seattle Seahawks for a drink of water then was released.

    It remains to be seen if another NFL will sign him to a contract for the remainder of the season. But since he is a cancer in the locker room, is there a place for him in the sport at 38 years old?

    The receiver-starved Jets won't take a chance on him and the other 31 teams in the league seem to have turned a blind eye towards him.

    Owens has managed to upset the brass in San Francisco (after calling Jeff Garcia gay), Dallas (after he cried defending Tony Romo), Philadelphia (after criticising Donovan McNabb) and Cincinnati (after the experiment with Chad Johnson did not work).

    There was a stop in Buffalo as well.

    If there are players out on the market who can produce and play and make a team better, then most teams will swallow the "potential" gulp in their throats and let that athlete play. Owens is a different kind of beast.

    Maybe he has become the Jose Canseco of the NFL.

15. Urban Meyer

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    Somehow pulling a Billy Donovan with the University of Florida football program did not endear him to many within the state of Florida.

    Florida football alums may love the fact the university has two national titles in the last six seasons, but Urban Meyer was not most well-liked man on the campus.

    I guess the ghost of Steve Spurrier still looms large in Gainesville.

    Meyer came to the U of F ready to take on all challenges and win national titles. He had something other colleges did not have. Some guy named Tebow. But when the magic was gone, Meyer seemed to lose his way and the Gators faltered.

    He quickly announced his retirement, citing health reasons.

    After a quick reversal of thought, Meyer told college brass he wanted to return to the sidelines and coach. His team, with John Brantley behind center, was not a success and well, Meyer cited health reasons again for wanting out of Gainesville to spend more time with his family.

    This time, it was for good.

    After time at ESPN, Ohio State came knocking and well, Meyer being the Ohio boy he is, could not help but accept his "dream" job of coaching the Buckeyes.

    While he has the fans in the Midwest all excited about a rebirth of college football, the Gator alumni and football fans in the south consider him a traitor and still curse his name today.

    That's not very Woody Hayes of him, is it?

14. Jerry Jones

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    He arrived in the NFL, bought the Dallas Cowboys, fired Tom Landry and built a dynasty.

    But this is not America's Team anymore.

    Jerry Jones has always thought he was bigger than the league and could do whatever he wanted. The stadium he built is a testament to his extravagance.

    And if he didn't like it, he could always fire the head coach and start over. Don't you think Jason Garrett's seat is just a bit warm in Big D? And what about Tony Romo, whom the Cowboys have only won a single playoff game with him behind center?

    Jerry Jones loves drama and controversy. To him, they are one in the same.

    But all that money he spends, and there is a lot of it, Jerry Jones cannot buy himself a winning franchise. And he has his hands in the operations of every component of this team.

    Just think what would happen if he hired other people to run his business? Maybe the Cowboys get back to the Super Bowl?

13. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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    For all the talent he has, his ego and his attitude are much bigger.

    Mayweather takes the stance he is bigger than the law, bigger than the boxing world and bigger than just about anything that comes his way.

    In most cases he can back it up.

    He has even gotten into the ring with a "Giant" before when he wrestled Big Show in the WWE.

    But the mouth, the attitude, the disregard for rules and regulation leave most of us thinking he is nothing more than a thug, which is a shame because the man can really put on a boxing clinic with his hand speed and his jab, not to mention that knockout punch.

12. Bill Belichick

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    Don't ask "Captain Hoodie" to be a guest speaker at one of your fundraising events. People will pay you to stay away from listening to the monotoned coach of the New England Patriots.

    Once perceived as possibly the next Lombardi of the NFL, Bill Belichick is now one of those coaches who has has won three Super Bowls, has a great quarterback in Tom Brady, but has nothing to hang his hat on recently that defines him as great.

    Just ask Tom Coughlin, who now owns him in the postseason and has bested one of his colleagues when it mattered most.

    The NFL is cyclical and the Patriots are finally being exposed for their weaknesses. Maybe this is the year Belichick is criticised for not producing a Super Bowl contender.

    Tom Brady still runs the ship, but Belichick has appeared to be the Teflon coach who cannot get anything "improper" to stick to him, "Spy Gate" or otherwise.

    Something tells me there may be some grumbling in Boston after this year if Belichick cannot coax another title out of this team.

11. Skip Bayless

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    Smug, feisty, arrogant, and he thinks Tim Tebow will be a star in the NFL.

    Nobody's opinion matters other than Skip Bayless. Just ask him and he will tell you. Whether it is appearing on ESPN's Cold Pizza or First Take, Bayless has an answer and opinion for everything and all of it seems to be geared toward making him look like a bigger celebrity than he is.

    Should I also add he is self-depricating?

    What also makes Bayless hated or disliked is the way he responds to criticism or is challenged. His smirk or his cunning facial expressions are priceless.

    Maybe it has something to do with his brother, restaurant owner and famous chef Rick Bayless being a more popular celebrity. Sibling rivalry is good on the gridiron or on the baseball diamond, but it is never good in reality television or sports broadcasting.

10. Ozzie Guillen

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    The classic case of open mouth, insert foot.

    That best describes Ozzie Guillen. The man who brought a World Series championship to Chicago and the White Sox and has a forked tongue that does not get tired of spewing venom. That venom, along with a losing record for the Florida Marlins cost Gullien his job in only his first year in south Florida.

    I hope he was renting instead of buying a home.

    Gullien's woes are well chronicled back to his days in Chicago, but his comments earlier this year about Fidel Castro go beyond explanation.

    Has there ever been a baseball manager who has made a living on saying the most obscure and controversial things throughout his career?

    If you are looking for a way to fill a few note pads, as Guillen about his views of baseball or politics of the media.

    If you have writer's block, problem solved.

9. Joe Buck

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    He isn't anything like his father, the former Cardinals announcer, Jack Buck.

    Whether it is covering baseball with Tim McCarver or John Smoltz or whoever is in the broadcast booth with him, Buck takes over the situation. And it would seem he favors the Cardinals, the team his father covered for as an announcer for decades.

    There is no favoritism in sports. But Buck's ire drawn from fans goes beyond the diamond. He has drawn criticism for his comments made during the NFL playoffs in 2005. After Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss simulated mooning the Green Bay crowd in the end zone, Buck called it a "disgusting act."

    In 2008, Buck drew criticism for comments he made during an appearance on ESPN Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd, in which he admitted to spending little time following sporting events he doesn't broadcast and claimed that he preferred watching The Bachelorette instead.

    Buck seems to think his status in the game, where he has received many awards and accolades, allows him a certain pass when it comes to injecting his own likes and dislikes in sports. And while he has been known to be biased toward certain elements of the games he covers, fans are just as biased in how they feel toward him and his comments.

8. Tiger Woods

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    Will he ever win a major championship again?

    That has to be the leadng question on his mind and the minds of golf fans world wide.

    Note to Tiger: Rory McElroy is the new Tiger in this sport.

    Once cold as ice and as a sharp as a surgeon's scalpel when it came to dissecting courses and making the field his own playground, Woods seems to collapse in major events and in this year's Ryder Cup.

    Tiger does something that the PGA and sports media loves: He draws money and fans. But the fans are now coming to the events and watching on television to see if he can actually put together four solid rounds of golf without faltering.

    He was on top or near the leaderboard of every major event this season before falling apart over the weekend or on the final day. Not a great showing despite three wins on the tour this year. 

    Remember, Tiger, you were the one who had winning majors the most important thing in your career. You seem to be stuck on 14 (majors) and time might be running out.

7. Chris Berman

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    The baritone voice, the larger-than-life "Fred Flintstone" personality and the common references to music in almost every vignette he is involved with. That is Chris Berman.

    And nothing is going to change that.

    The man who has been at ESPN since its birth in 1979 has covered football and baseball for the majority of his career, as well as spent time on NFL Countdown and SportsCenter.

    Berman, who has a nickname for everyone when it comes to giving you a game recap, used to be one of the best at what he does, but it would appear his bravado and his smug appearance in his delivery has gotten old with younger fans of the four-letter network.

    Berman is great when it comes to programs for ESPN (NFL Countdown) but doing play-by-play has passed him by. He is a wealth of knowledge for the younger sportscasters, but at some point, like Bob Ley did to concentrate on award-winning programming, Berman should consider moving away from the anchor desk.

6. Drew Rosenhaus

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    He is the Eddie Haskell of sports agents. Just like Leave it to Beaver, the act is wearing thin.

    That's Drew Rosenhaus, the ultra-aggressive sports agent for some of professional football's biggest stars. They also happen to be the most controversial in their own way.

    Whether it is Terell Owens, who ironically made this list as well, or it's Chad Ochocino or someone like Kellen Winslow, Jr. or Jeremy Shockey, they all have one thing in common. Rosenhaus is always showing off his mug to try and better his company and better the lifestyle of his players.

    He also might be one of the dirtier representatives in the game. According to a September NFL.com story, Rosenhaus' tactics have come under fire by the NFLPA. The story states Rosenhaus may have had an improper relationship with former financial adviser Jeff Rubin.

    Never at a loss for words, Rosenhaus has continued to do just what he has been doing since he started obtaining clients—that being fight for the cause, run his mouth and cause a whole lot of controversy.

    Sometimes, it is just better to shut up and do your job without fanfare.

5. Alex Rodriguez

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    The first question that comes to mind is what is most important to the New York Yankees diva: playing baseball and earning another World Series title or sweet-talking two baseball fans in order to make time for after the season is over.

    Whatever the reasons, Alex Rodriguez and the New York media don't ever seem to get along, and this time, his woes at the plate, coupled with his being benched in the ALCS and his reported talking to fans while playing a game against the Detroit Tigers, have all been well reported and could lead to his ouster in the Big Apple.

    And you thought Mark Sanchez had issues with the fans and media.

    Add to it that he admitted to using steroids and has been injured often in the later part of his career and the pretty face from South Florida has lost some of his luster as one of the greats in the game.

    All of this while Derek Jeter continues to be one of the most-liked Yankees of all time and plays the game like it is the last game of his career.

    Rodriguez could be one of the 10 most talented players to ever play the game, but he is also one of the most vilified. Add the fact his contract is huge, and a great case for closure of Rodriguez's career has been made without him uttering a word.

4. Dwight Howard

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    Don't let the Cheshire Cat grin and the Digital Underground glasses fool you.

    There is some evil in the inner workings of Dwight Howard's move to Los Angeles. The kid who started out as an 18-year-old wunderkid from Atlanta seemed to be the perfect role model for kids coming out of high school and straight to the NBA.

    He said the right things, did the right things and looked the part of "Superman" as he portrayed himself to be in the City of Magic.

    He had us all fooled.

    Now, in the City of Angels, we will see if this self-absorbed center can follow the lead of Mikan, Chamberlain, Jabbar and O'Neal, the man whom he is most compared to when it comes to ripping apart the hearts of basketball fans in Orlando.

    Howard made no secret about his displeasure with Magic management and the coaching job Stan Van Gundy did in Florida. He also was part of the drama that led to Van Gundy's firing and the tenure of team general manager Otis Smith ending.

    Remember, young Superman, in order to be a super hero, you must first do superhuman things. This is Disney Land, not Disney World.

3. Roger Goodell

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    He has become the Czar of the NFL.

    While taking over for Paul Tagliabue, all Goodell has done is try to rule the NFL with an iron fist. The NFL is not a communist sport, you know?

    Player investigations, "Bounty Gate," the NFL lockout, and his gruff and smug appearance through it all have made him the NFL's most hated. He even draws criticism from the players who "work for the league."

    The very players who play in the league speak out against him like Drew Brees and James Harrison.

    By the way, Jonathan Vilma played last week despite all the friction between himself and the league office.

    Football is a violent sport, and those who show up every week and levy that violence on other players wind up in the prinicipal's office.

    The NFL has always been about the league and the teams in the AFC and NFC. There are helmets that protect the identity of players and the names of the teams in each city have always been more important than the names on the back of the jersey.

    Goodell has made the NFL about him, not about the sport. And to be able to do that speaks volumes about how he is thought of throughout the league.

2. Mike Vick

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    What's worse for Vick to listen to: the boos from the Eagles fans after he has been so erratic with his play this year or the fact he is still vilified for his part in the dog-fighting scandal that sent him to prison?

    It is said that the quarterback gets way too much credit for wins and gets too much blame for losses.

    In this case, the boos are warranted for his play on the field. Andy Reid even had to reaffirm that Vick would be the starter.

    Vick does deserve most of the blame for how erratic the offense has been this year so far in Philadelphia. With offensive weapons like LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson to choose from, it's hard to understand why this team is so "mediocre."

    There better be an improvement in the Eagles scoring and preparation or Mr. Vick could be looking at the bench rather the goal line.

1. Lance Armstrong

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    Right now, he might be Public Enemy No. 1.

    How can one man symbolize everything that is good about beating cancer and raising money for cancer research stop fighting for a cure?

    And on top of it, essentially give up after years of speculation that Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, has been doping to gain an edge?

    After years of criticism from fellow cyclist Greg LeMond and the French media trying to catch Armstrong in lies and prove he has been using illegal drugs to win cycling's greatest event.

    Finally the USADA and Travis Tygart have spoken. Armstrong has been stripped of his medals and his titles and is not allowed to compete in sanctioned events.

    It's also pretty bad that he is not allowed to compete in marathons or sanctioned running events. That speaks to the sanctity of the belief that he is in fact guilty.

    So the years of LiveStrong, the years of speaking out against his detractors and the years of speaking out against cancer are now a sham.

    And Armstrong is not speaking in his defense. He has basically given up.

    What a shame.