The 20 Newest Villains in Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2013

The 20 Newest Villains in Sports

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    With Ray Lewis retiring and LeBron James getting the championship monkey off his back last season, and actually having fun playing ball again, us sports fans are looking for the newest villains to hate on.

    Lucky for you, we're giving you 20 athletes who just seem to rub us the wrong way in the same manner guys like A-Rod, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Kobe have over the years.

    Whether it's because of dirty play, disrespecting their franchises, off-the-field activity or yes, winning too much, these are the new guys we can't help but root against.

A.J. McCarron

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    We start off with a guy whose led his team to the last two national championships, yet still can't seem to win over the country the way Tim Tebow did while doing the same at Florida.

    Maybe it's his brash attitude—or jealousy because of the whole Katherine Webb thing—but unless you bleed Crimson, McCarron's probably not very much liked.

J.R. Smith

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    Blessed with all the talent in the world, the Knicks guard has had numerous occasions when he's proven he's just a typical rich and snotty professional athlete.

    But when fans voiced their disgust with him last year, he took to twitter and lashed out, threatening to pack his bags and leave New York if fans weren't nicer to him.

    Really dude? You're a grown ass man, come on.

Sergio Busquets

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    Anyone who watches the Barca defensive midfielder on the pitch knows exactly why he makes our list.

    His propensity to dive and try and attract free kicks and cards on opponents is well-known.

    Thanks to this type of behavior, Busquets was voted on as one of the most hated soccer players on twitter, which is the nicest way someone can say an athlete is trending for all the wrong reasons.

J.J. Watt

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    Though Watt was recently praised by earning Defensive Player of the Year honors, he's a classic case of love him or hate him at this point in his career.

    The former Wisconsin standout can do it all on the football field, but unless you're a fan of the Texans, he's probably enemy No. 1 when he's lined-up against your team.

    He's earned a couple fines for helmet-to-helmet hits, so it'll be interesting to see if he continues to get nailed with penalties in the coming seasons for his aggressive play.

Marshall Henderson

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    Thanks to his raw emotion he carries around with him pretty much anywhere he goes, most college basketball fans either love or hate this Ole Miss guard.

    We're not sure if Henderson will have the staying power of some of the other guys on this list, but one thing's for sure: He's giving us memorable quotes and moments while he's in the spotlight as he is right now.

Matt Cooke

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    We're guessing that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk won't be inviting the Pens winger over for dinner anytime soon, after having the reaction he did following Cooke's slicing of Senators Erik Karlsson's Achilles heel.

    For Ottawa fans, Karlsson's loss is a major one as he's established himself as a big-time defenseman in the league, making Cooke the culprit for the major loss.

DeSean Jackson

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    He's an explosive wideout who, though a bit undersized, isn't afraid to take on the challenge of bigger defenders either across the middle or one-on-one deep.

    The knock on Jackson is his premature celebrating and continuous lack of punctuality to team meetings, which usually get the ire from fans when the guy was re-signed for five years and $47-million last year.

Kurt Busch

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    It's probably not a shock to see the driver on this list, as he's typically looked at as standoffish and hot-tempered after feuds with several teammates and reporters alike.

    For his role as instigator on the track, he'll remain on the most disliked lists until he changes—though we have a feeling he won't be anytime soon.

Nyjer Morgan

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    If you enjoy players that do everything they can to get under their opponents' skin, then you probably have an affinity for Morgan, who uses his alter ego Tony Plush to tweet ridiculous baseball stories.

    Last year he even picked a twitter fight with Albert Pujols, often referring to him as "Alberta." 

    Bush league move if you ask us, as Pujols is one of the more-respected players in the game.

Rajon Rondo

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    For whatever reason, the Celts point guard just isn't liked all that much.

    Could it be his tendency to play lackadaisical at times, opting to hoist up jump shots instead of blowing by his defender and going to the rim, or that he's been called "moody and stubborn" by his head coach?

    Regardless of the reason, Rondo's not too liked by basketball fans outside of the city of Boston.

Dez Bryant

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    Thanks in part to all of his ridiculous off-field behavior, the mercurial wideout for America's Team is often looked at as immature and a distraction.

    In fact, don't think for a second that his recent Pro Bowl snub from his insane '12 season wasn't directly correlated to how fans view him.

    Successful receivers are almost always prima donnas, it's how much they rep themselves as one that's the deciding factor in how much they're disliked—which Bryant seems to be finding out the hard way.

LeBron James

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    Even after winning a title and getting a mention for his newfound persona on the court, the fact of the matter is Bron Bron still can't win over everyone, so he remains in our top 10 here.

    He's been under the microscope since his sophomore year in high school—so we all know this isn't new—but until he lives up to the expectations of everyone else, he'll often be looked at as a villain—whether fair or not.

Raffi Torres

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    After earning himself the third-longest suspension in league history last year, after putting Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa on a stretcher, Torres is slowly developing a rep as the dirtiest player on the ice.

    The Coyotes defenseman recently returned to action from his hit in last year's playoffs quietly, though fans probably won't be shocked to see him back among the most penalized players again this season.

Mario Balotelli

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    The Italian national team member may have been successful in helping lead Man City to the EPL title last year, but thanks to his selfishness and inappropriate actions on his former manager Roberto Mancini, "The Blues" were happy to dispose of him to AC Milan last month.

    Like most on this list, he has loads of talent; it's all the extracurricular stuff that finds him in the doghouse with supporters.

Cam Newton

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    We've been on record as saying Newton has all the skills and attributes to have one of the most outstanding careers anyone's ever seen from a QB—yes, there was alcohol involved.

    But just because we were a little tipsy, that doesn't mean he's not talented as all hell.

    Problem is: He knows how great he is and absolutely loves it when folks point it out to him, making him less likable to most people.

Nick Swisher

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    Though we really enjoy some of Swisher's antics, in the most recent poll of disliked players amongst peers, he finished in the top-3 behind A.J. Pierzynski and A-Rod.

    Maybe it's because he's such a bro, or because he's had some success on the field, but for whatever reason, fans find any reason to hate on the new Cleveland Indian.

Kris Humprhies

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    It has nothing to do with anything the big man does on the basketball court—he's actually proven to be a pretty consistent player there.

    Humphries is disliked for the way he's handled this whole Kim Kardashian divorce thing, refusing to make the split official until the starlet openly admits it was all done for publicity.

    Based on how the dude was portrayed on the show, he's not really going to get much sympathy even when things get ironed-out.

Manti Te'o

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    Oh how fast the mighty can fall!

    Te'o's incredible and endearing college football season, in which he captured fans' attention by becoming a finalist for the Heisman trophy and helped return Notre Dame back to prominence with a national title appearance, was all for naught after that whole girlfriend hoax.

    It allegedly wasn't his idea, but regardless of what you believe, he's fallen on the crazy list because of the fallout.

    But hey, at least we got a new pose out of it!

Dwight Howard

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    As recent as just a couple years ago, D12 was arguably one of the more appealing guys in the Association.

    Regularly flashing his trademark smile, excelling as the most feared center in the league and leading his team to success, fans really liked him.

    Then that whole flip-flopping thing happened between Howard and the Magic last year, with allegations that he got former coach Stan Van Gundy fired, while being a head case ever since the beginning of last season.

Ndamukong Suh

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    Although Suh doesn't want to think of himself as a villain, the writing's on the wall for the mammoth defensive lineman from the Lions as he tops the list for most fans right now.

    Thanks in part to his quarterback-slamming, offensive lineman-stomping shenanigans, the former No. 2 overall pick is looked at as one of the biggest villains in all of sports right now.