B/R's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Sleazballs in Sports
With John Calipari possibly heading out of Memphis, I'd like to look back at the top ten sleaziest people in sports. These are either players, coaches or owners that have wronged fan bases and made them sick to their stomachs.
NOTE: This list is in no particular order.
10. John Calipari, Coach
Crime: Leaving Memphis Tigers to coach Kentucky in 2009
John Calipari came within a free throw of winning the 2008 NCAA Championship.
Now, he has signed an eight-year, $35 million deal with the University of Kentucky after guiding the Memphis Tigers to their fourth straight 30-win season while in the midst of a 61-game Conference USA winning streak.
Calipari gets on this list because of the money and the fact that he could say yes to a desperate and hungry fan base in Lexington.
John Calipari has made Memphis a national power and his inevitable signing now means the top recruits will follow him to Rupp Arena.
Mr. Modell is single handedly responsible for making Browns fans' lives a living hell.
After vowing not to move from Cleveland, he broke his promise and moved the team to Baltimore.
He gave them a new logo and name and in four seasons, the Ravens were Super Bowl champions with one of the all-time great NFL defenses.
Art Modell is A dead man walking the instant he steps foot in Cleveland, and who can blame him?
8. Robert Irsay, Owner
Crime: Moving Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis under Cover of Night in 1984
Though Baltimore has football back, they were the original victims of thievery on a fateful night on March 29, 1984.
The future of football in Baltimore was looking bleak in 1982, and Indianapolis, Indiana was looking to become a new American sports powerhouse.
Robert Irsay publicly vowed to keep the team in Baltimore, but behind the backs of all the fans, he continued negotiations.
Talks heated up and after Irsay visited the then-Hoosier Dome (later RCA Dome), he was offered a $12,500 loan by the city of Indianapolis.
Under the cover of night, 15 Mayflower trucks were dispatched to the team's training complex in Owings Mills, Maryland at 2:00 AM on March 29, because it was feared the franchise would be seized early the following morning.
Fans were distraught and angry (still are to this day) over what happened and though they received a new franchise in 1996, what Robert and Jim Irsay did to them still leaves a gaping wound.
7. Nick Saban, Coach
Crime: Leaving Miami Dolphins for Alabama Crimson Tide in 2007
Nick Saban left LSU for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 after Dave Wannstedt was let go to coach the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Dolphins were on the cusp of being a playoff team and after a 9-7 season in 2006, hopes were high in South Beach but that's where the hype ended.
At 5–6, hope still remained, but a 24–10 loss the following week to Jacksonville ended their dreams. After Thanksgiving, Alabama coach Mike Shula had been fired and Saban's name was at the top of the candidates' list.
During press conferences before and after games for the remainder of the 2006 season, Saban repeatedly told reporters he would not coach Alabama under any circumstances, stating on December 21 "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
However, on January 1, he met with Alabama officials and was hired as the 27th head coach of the Crimson Tide on January 4.
Saban's repeated promises to stay and then leave gets him on this list for using stupid judgment, but his crime isn't as bad as the next coach's on the list.
6. Bobby Petrino, Coach.
Crime: Leaving Atlanta Falcons in the middle of the season to coach Arkansas
They called him a coward, and for good reason.
Bobby Petrino accepted a five-year contract in the 2007 off-season to coach the Atlanta Falcons.
He was looking forward to installing his high-powered spread offense and working with superstar quarterback Michael Vick.
What he did not count on was his star quarterback being jailed for dogfighting and infighting between himself and DeAngelo Hall.
The pressure and speed of the NFL got to Petrino, and without telling his players in Week 13, he put his tail between his legs and went back to college after accepting an offer to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks.
He left a note on every players's locker noting how sorry he was and the pleasure it was to work with them.
The players did not buy it for a second and Lawyer Milloy went so far as to scribble his name off and write the word "coward."
He could not be more right.
5. Alex Rodriguez, Player
Crime: Narcissism While Playing for the New York Yankees
Where do I begin with this guy?
After signing the now-biggest contract in American sports after the end of the 2007 season (10 years, $275 million), Alex Rodriguez just can't seem to stay away from the spotlight and for some perverted reason, he enjoys it and that makes Yankee fans cringe.
Whether it's allegedly being with a young blonde in Toronto, or admitting to using steroids in Texas, the man we call A-Rod is making more headlines on his own than his team is.
Just to give you an idea: during a press conference called by agent Scott Boras to discuss his steroid use, Rodriguez paused after saying "to my teammates."
The wait lasted about a minute, with him looking around and trying to look sad before finally saying "thank you."
It was no more than another way for him to use his celebrity to make himself look sympathetic; needless to say, not too many people bought it.
A new photo spread in Details magazine shows him kissing his reflection in the mirror in one of the pictures.
I was told by a friend that he has burned all things associated with A-Rod.
4. Clay Bennett, Owner/Chairman
Crime: Moving NBA Franchise from Seattle to Oklahoma City
The Seattle SuperSonics were not the same following the 1996 NBA Finals and during the 2006 season, businessman Clay Bennett bought the struggling franchise and hoped to build them a new complex after the lease on KeyArena expired in 2010.
Mayor Greg Nickels maintained the stance that the Sonics were expected to stay in Seattle until their lease expired.
On April 18, 2008, the NBA gave approval of the move, and it was agreed that the SuperSonics' name would not be used by Oklahoma City and that team's history could be shared between Oklahoma City and any future NBA team in Seattle.
The now-Oklahoma City Thunder began playing in October 2008.
Bennett broke the hearts of a lot of people and used the move as a last-ditch business effort.
The people of Seattle almost have to feel as if the last 40 years mean absolutely nothing to them anymore.
3. Babe Ruth, Player
Crime: Sold to New York Yankees from Boston Red Sox in 1918
After putting the Boston Red Sox on the map, George Herman "Babe" Ruth sold his soul to the New York Yankees and made himself a legend in the Bronx.
Ruth became arguably the greatest baseball player of all time, ranking second in the career home run list and winning multiple world championships.
He burned one franchise and made another. He single-handedly started what was one of the longest championship droughts in sports history and made generations of fans suffer.
2. Roy Williams, Coach
Crime: Leaving Kansas to coach North Carolina in 2003
After losing the 2003 National Championship game to Syracuse, Roy Williams was (again) at the top of the head coaching vacancy list for North Carolina; he was in the middle of the same situation in 2000.
Outside Kansas' locker room following the game, CBS Sports correspondent Bonnie Bernstein interviewed Williams about the job and he said, "I really don't give a (expletive) about North Carolina right now."
Williams later accepted the job and took Carolina to the 2005 championship, defeating Illinois.
He gets on this list like many other coaches do, they followed the money even after vowing not to leave under any circumstances.
Fate would hit Williams like an avalanche as North Carolina met Kansas in the 2008 Final Four, losing 84-66.
After losing Super Bowl XXXI, Bill Belichick (and most of the Patriots assistant coaches) migrated with Bill Parcells to the New York Jets.
Belichick served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Jets from 1997 to 1999, helping the Jets reach the 1998 AFC Championship game.
When Parcells stepped down as head coach in 1999, Belichick became the new Jets head coach. However, Belichick's introduction to the media the following day turned out to be a surprise resignation announcement.
From a single piece of paper he read, "I resign as head coach of the New York Jets".
Patriots owner Robert Kraft wasted no time in plucking him up and traded his first round draft pick to the Jets to name Belichick his head coach in January 2000.
Since that day, the Patriots have won six division titles, four conference championships and three Super Bowls; Belichick has been names Coach of the Year twice (2003, 2007).
Belichick is viewed as a shady character in many NFL circles as having a somewhat grim mood towards the media and is despised through other fan bases for the Spygate incident during the Patriots' record-breaking 2007 season where they took allegations of cheating and used it as motivation to destroy their opponents.
This list is my opinion alone, if you have gripes or have other names that should be added I welcome comments below.
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