20 Most Unromantic Moments in Sports
First, let's get this out on the table—most people suck at being romantic. It’s because the very concept of ‘romance’ is so loaded with old Hollywood tropes and other cultural ideals that when we try, it’s often creepy and scripted.
Try ‘drawing a bubble bath’ or ‘covering the bed in rose petals’ with your significant other (or the one you hope will be). It’s going to take some interpersonal jiu-jitsu to pull it off without the situation quickly devolving into awkwardness.
So, imagine what it’s like for the biggest athletes in sports.
Athletes live a life that is reported, photographed and promoted—if an NFL or NBA superstar goes on a date, then there is a blog somewhere that has the ‘scoop.’ And there are plenty of men and women in sports who actively seek the spotlight; even if it means their personal life and relationships are broadcast in households everywhere.
It’s no surprise that athletes—who are just as weird and clumsy as the rest of us when it comes to romance—have had plenty of painful, unromantic moments documented for the rest of us to revel in.
These are the 20 most unromantic moments in sports.
20. David Beckham's Wandering Eyeballs
Everyone knows that soccer stud David Beckham has a history of cheating on wife Victoria. Rumors of his infidelities, some confirmed, have been plaguing the couple almost as long as they've been married.
So it's safe to say that won't break them up, then the fact that David's eyes are continually glued to the rear end of any and every Lakers Girl who who wanders into his field of vision, probably won't either.
That being said, it sure is a bummer seeing the look on Victoria's face every time she's got courtside seats to witness her husband's gawking. Come on, David! She's right there.
19. Metta World Peace's Awkward Sexting
In July 2011, Deadspin continued their long and storied tradition of publicizing the ill-conceived attempts of professional athletes trying to woo the ladies, by publishing the painfully awkward sexts of one Metta World Peace.
After taking a shine to a "fine lil thang" on Twitter, MWP sent the woman his phone number via direct messages. But not before verifying that she was, in fact, above the age of 18—such a gentleman.
What followed was a series of strange back-and-forth communications that went something like this:
MWP: U r crazy lmao
MWP: Let's do it
Woman: Do you sleep with strangers often?
MWP: You r no stranger
MWP: Can't wait to hug u and…
Woman: take me to an extremely expensive dinner?
And of course, he used a self-portrait of his junk to seal the deal. Can you believe that girl turned him down???
18. A-Rod Pitches a Popcorn Fit
On the surface, a man being fed popcorn by his lady friend wouldn't be considered a non-romantic moment. But when Yankees overpaid driftwood Alex Rodriguez is involved, you just know it's going to be a wretched moment.
Only A-Rod could take a lighthearted moment like that and turn it into something vile. After realizing that he and girlfriend Cameron Diaz had become a buzzed-about part of the broadcast, Rodriguez reportedly went "ballistic," thinking the cameraman was "out to get them."
As if that wasn't disturbing enough, two weeks later he addressed the situation in front of the New York media, saying:
"Five years ago, I probably would have come out with some bogus statement…It was pretty comical. Why would anyone be upset about being fed popcorn. Pretty funny, actually."
Ah yes—ice-cold detachment, feigned sense of humor, and strained, soulless delivery. Ted Bundy couldn't have done it any better himself. Nice job, A-Rod.
17. Mark Cuban Gets Down
The shenanigans of billionaire Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are nothing short of legendary, but I think we can all agree that nobody would accuse him of being a romantic.
It's not that groping a girl in a Pittsburgh bar isn't romantic—public groping can be extremely romantic under the right circumstances. Especially in Pittsburgh...trust me...I'm from Pittsburgh.
But this scenario just doesn't meet those criteria. Although this photo dates back over a decade and has been floating around the web ever since, just adding to the Cuban sports lore.
Today he's a happily married father of two and, presumably, far more romantic than he once was.
16. Shaq's Extramarital Textcapades
The fact that retired NBA big man Shaquille O'Neal was less than faithful during his marriage to ex-wife Shaunie is no secret. Remember how he and Kobe Bryant made a sport of publicly accusing each other of cheating on their wives? Those were the days.
Shaq's infidelities were mostly rumors and innuendo until the Miami New Times decided to play TMZ (their words, not mine) and released transcripts of his communication with former mistress Dominica Westling that were obtained through court records.
Unfortunately, due to the content of said text messages, they can't be reprinted here. But suffice it to say, Shaq's language of love is just as lyrical and eloquent as his language everywhere else. And by that I mean—not at all.
15. Ryan Lochte: Sex Idiot
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte was one of the biggest sports stars during the summer of 2012. His fame was thanks, in small part, to the many medals he won at the Olympics in London. But, in large part, it was thanks to the "sex idiot" persona that he cultivated.
In an interview with Women's Health in July, Lochte explained that his strategy for picking up ladies is eye contact. A lot of really uncomfortable eye contact. He likes to give a girl a wink, just to keep her thinking, and then come back later and get down to the business of staring.
Lochte is probably such a creeper because he thinks that all girls are evil, psychotic liars. It's been impossible for him to meet a super hot, super honest woman who always wears white pants and has table manners that rival the Queen of England.
Not that he'd even have time for such a gem if he were lucky enough to find a woman that meets all of his Ryan Lochte needs. Last summer, his mother explained that her baby boy was just too busy for a steady girlfriend, instead preferring to go out on a lot of "one-night stands."
So…sorry, ladies! You're probably not good enough for Ryan Lochte. But if you are, he doesn't have time for you anyway. But he'll at least sleep with you, boot you out in the morning, and tell his mommy about it the next day. What a dreamboat.
14. The (Please Don't Make Me) Kiss Cam
The dreaded arena kiss cam is one of the most unromantic things on the planet. Forced affection with the threat of public mockery for noncompliance is a fundamentally flawed premise. But the real problem is that men and women often have very different reactions to it.
In my experience, men are almost always game for a public smooch, even if the woman sitting next to him is clearly not his girlfriend. For women, it's more of a mixed bag. Some will comply with the jumbotron orders happily, others reluctantly.
Then there are those who simply will not bow down to public pressure, basically assuring that she and her man will end up on SportsCenter's "Not Top 10" segment at the end of the week. This video was posted in 2007 and has amassed nearly three million views, probably because it runs highly amusing gamut of human emotion.
Unless romance is an emotion…because that's the one thing this spectacle is lacking.
13. Khloe & Lamar: Sex Swing Mishap
I almost didn't include this incident because I didn't want anyone mistakenly thinking that I watch any of the Kardashians' vulgar displays on the E! network. Everything I know about the show comes from The Soup, the only E! program that isn't strictly an abysmal display of humanity at its most grotesque.
Then again, The Soup is responsible for subjecting me to Khloe's sexual house of horrors, so there's that. But back to Khloe & Lamar—the episode documenting the most sizable Kardashian's attempts to personally install a sex swing in the couple's bedroom aired in February 2012.
Khloe's attempts to create a "sexual chamber of love" to spice up their already "phenomenal" relationship are actually, in a way, commendable. Unfortunately, her handyman skills are pretty much what you'd expect from a spoiled socialite who has had people waiting on her since the day she was born.
And as if just witnessing the installation and all the graphic sex talk wasn't enough, the audience is then subjected to the couple's inaugural voyage on the swing. Thankfully the whole contraption collapsed before we were treated to a larger version of the family's 2007 springboard into fame, Kim Kardashian, Superstar.
They probably exceeded the maximum weight. Nobody freak out, obviously I'm referring to Lamar, the giant basketball player.
12. Tiger Woods' (Alleged) Attempts at Reconciliation
In January 2013, it was widely reported that PGA superstar Tiger Woods was trying to win back ex-wife Elin Nordegren. Well, nothing says "I love you, please take me back" like offering to pay out $200 million, $350 million if he cheats, if things don't work out!
Woods refused to address the report because…well…that's just the way he is. But when asked point-blank if he was trying to purchase the affections of his ex, he tersely replied, "I am not going to comment on my private life."
As notoriously tight-lipped as Woods is with the media, you'd think that such an outlandish report would have, at the very least, warranted a stern denial and one of those frightening death stares to prevent anyone else from pursuing that line of questioning.
Neither party denying the rumor lends credence to the report. Although, anything Woods was attempting to salvage with Elin has since been chucked back into his sizable relationship graveyard. Woods and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn are now reportedly an item.
11. Anna Benson's Forced Fidelity
There's nothing like the implicit threat of punitive action to convince a man to keep it in his pants—am I right? Actually, I'm not sure that's the best way to convince anyone to do anything, but it did seem to work for Anna Benson for at least a while.
Back when her soon-to-be ex-husband Kris Benson was playing for the Mets in 2004, Anna famously threatened to sleep with everyone within the organization—including the grounds crew—if she caught him cheating on her. Sure it wasn't romantic, but it was relatively effective.
The Benson marriage lasted another eight years before Kris finally pulled the plug.
10. Jay Cutler Proposes Via Text, Mails the Ring
In February 2013, former reality star Kristin Cavallari essentially confirmed everything most people had long suspected Bears quarterback Jay Cutler of being.
During an interview, Cavallari, the mother of the couple's young son, recounted the unforgettable moment in which the man of her dreams proudly declared that he wanted them to be together forever in the hope that she might feel the same.
Even though ''til death do us part' is a relatively big deal, there's no question that elaborate marriage proposals can get out of hand. That's why Cutler decided to keep it simple. No flowers. No champagne. No getting down on one knee.
Not even any face-to-face contact! In a story that she would later backtrack on, Cavallari revealed that Cutler had proposed to her via text after an extended weekend romp in the sack at his Chicago abode. *Swooooooon*
Of course she accepted! Who wouldn't? (Me. Ew) And then dreamboat Jay Cutler picked out the finest diamond ring on all of Michigan Avenue, shoved it in an envelope addressed to "My baby mama," stuck a couple of forever stamps on it, and dropped it in a mailbox.
All in the name of love!
9. Doug & Jackie Christie's Uncomfortably Close Marriage
Considering the average lifespan of an NBA marriage, you can't blame Jackie Christie for being a little concerned about the daily temptations husband Doug faced during his career in the league.
But there's a pretty defined line between vigilant wife and unpleasant stalker, and Jackie has always come down comfortably on the wrong side of that line. Their interesting relationship was detailed in a revealing New York Times article in 2002.
- Developed their own sign language so she could communicate to him from the stands—a reporter once counted 62 interactions during a single game.
- Jackie joined Doug on a large percentage of the team's road trips, generally sitting right next to him on the team plane.
- They exchanged notes before games, often requiring an attendant run back and forth delivering replies.
- Jackie required Doug to change by himself in a separate locker room because female employees around her man made her uncomfortable.
- Jackie plans a wedding every single year to renew the couple's vows.
- In 2012 the couple announced they were embarking on a new career in the porn industry.
- And they are rumored to be swingers.
And that, my friends, is the greatest love story of all time.
8. Basketball Game Proposal Rejection
- Most women would prefer something more intimate.
- If the woman you are proposing to demands this kind of attention, you should probably find a new one.
- There are too many factors not within your control—what if she goes to the bathroom? What if she spills nacho cheese all over herself and is humiliated on camera?
- And then there is always the chance that she will say no, run away, and leave you sitting there rejected and humiliated in front of 50,000 spectators.
Men out there really need to learn a lesson about proposing marriage at a sporting event. It's just a terrible idea for so many reasons. Off the top of my head?
Proposing a lifelong commitment of marriage might not have the same sense of forever it once did, but it still deserves a more romantic backdrop than a basketball game.
7. The Unholy Union of Carmen Electra & Dennis Rodman
Remember that fateful night back in 1998, when NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman married Baywatch body Carmen Electra in an alcohol-fueled ceremony that took place at a Las Vegas wedding chapel around 7 a.m.?
The couple said their love was legit, but Rodman's beleaguered publicist said they were "deeply intoxicated" at the time. Clearly the union was written in the stars, which is why when they filed for an annulment nine days later, the nation—and perhaps the world—wept.
After the divorce was finalized six months later, an annulment was denied, Electra explained that they had gotten caught up in a romantic moment. In Las Vegas. At dawn. And then went on to compare their blessed union to the always regrettable decision to indulge in a late-night cheeseburger. So romantic.
Well over a decade later, Rodman offered up the kind of perspective on the relationship that only time and distance can provide. In December 2012, Rodman told UK tabloid The Sun that Electra was one of the top 10 lovers he's ever had. Not like…the best…but up there.
Can you even believe these two couldn't make it work? Here's hoping they give their love another shot!
6. Roy Williams Tape-Recorded Proposal
For all the flack that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler caught recently for his textual travesty of a proposal to Kristen Cavallari, former NFL wide receiver Roy Williams makes the mopey one look like Casanova himself.
Maybe it's because Williams was a useless lump of a wide receiver throughout his career and people would just prefer to never speak his name again. But there is no question that the tape-recorded proposal of marriage, that he mailed to former flame Brooke Daniels in 2011, was worse than a textual transmission.
Williams included a diamond ring worth over $75,000 in the package as well. Daniels smartly declined the offer and Williams reportedly replied, "I'm not like a lot of people, I don't want the ring back." And then he filed a lawsuit to get it back. Naturally.
5. Brett Favre's 'Courtship' of Jenn Sterger
Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre married his wife Deanna in July 1996. Which explains why he tried to seduce former Jets employee Jenn Sterger like a middle-aged man who had been married since the dawn of the Internet age.
With relatively limited access to the web, it's obvious that Favre had no idea what he was getting himself into when he decided to pursue a woman he had no relationship with whatsoever.
On one level, he was very aware of his own fame and the kind of weight it carried; why else would he have pursued Sterger to begin with? But on another level, Favre had no comprehension of what that meant in the digital age; why else would he have sent photographic evidence and left those sad voicemails?
In August 2010, Deadspin broke the Favre story and, with Sterger filling in all the blanks, detailed the most unromantic courtship ever. Because it pains me to delve into the details, let's just leave it at that and hope Favre is never released back onto the singles market.
4. Vanessa Bryant's 'Sorry I've Been Accused of Sexual Assault' Diamond
The last thing I want to do is get into the details of an incident of accused sexual assault, so I'm going to try to tread lightly here. Basically, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was accused in 2003, the case was settled in civil court and never went to trial, and the claims were very much undermined a year later.
The nature of what actually happened between Bryant and the Colorado hotel employee that accused him may be in question, but there's no question that a sexual encounter took place. Bryant copped to cheating on his wife Vanessa and she sat next to him at a press conference addressing the charges.
Not long after, Kobe presented Vanessa with the most unromantic ring in the world. A $4 million, 8-carat, purple "I'm so sorry I cheated on you and even more sorry I'm being accused of sexual assault and you had to sit there awkwardly through that entire press conference, but I still love you so much" diamond.
Probably not a best seller at Jared.
3. Kim Kardashian's Big Fat Fake Wedding
Most people are skeptical of everything the fame-whoring Kardashian klan does—and with good reason too. They can't make a move without conferring with an overworked PR team and notifying an army of E! cameramen.
So when NBA player Kris Humphries, a dimwitted oaf clearly in way over his head and Kim's boyfriend of just months, appeared in an elaborately produced, made-for-reality-TV spectacle in the spring of 2011, few people were convinced this was true love.
The wedding was a lavish $10 million affair that aired on E! just months later. And then 72 days later, Kim filed for divorce. After all, 2.5 months is a long time to be married.
Although, you've got to give Kim a little credit for saying "screw it" and not even attempting to save face with the public. I guess that's what you get when your heart is replaced with a cash register and your brain is replaced with a live feed of TMZ.
Thanks to the Kardashians for being a constant reminder that true love and personal sense of dignity are dead.
2. Marv Albert Takes a Bite Outta Love
Perhaps I'm not in the majority, but I know I'm not alone in being surprised every time I'm reminded that Marv Albert remains a gainfully employed member of the sports media. Sure, it's been a while since his 1997 scandal and subsequent trial made headlines, but the details are pretty hard to forget.
If you weren't old enough to be exposed to the details of the case, let me remind you. Albert was arrested and charged with forcible sodomy and assault after attacking a woman he barely knew for not delivering on his sexual requests. The request being a well-endowed male to share in what would become a very unpleasant and violent sexual encounter.
Albert's case went to trial and, while he was ultimately convicted of a lesser charge, the embarrassing details of his private life were revealed. Including allegations that he enjoyed wearing women's lingerie and the fact that his name appeared in the black book of a murdered dominatrix.
Is there anything more romantic than a man wearing women's lingerie, who enjoys being beaten, demanding you provide a well-endowed male—kind of like a sexual dowry? Shudder.
1. Chad Johnson's Happily Never After
When it was announced that Chad (then) Ochocinco's wedding to Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada had been indefinitely postponed in January 2012, I assumed that it probably wouldn't ever happen. Which was a good thing.
After all, Chad had been continuously cheating on her throughout their entire relationship. And Evelyn was only famous for being engaged to a basketball player at some point and basically made her entire living based on that failed relationship.
Only a couple of idiots would get married with all that baggage hanging over their heads, right? Well, obviously Chad and Evelyn are a couple of idiots. They got married in July 2012, swearing before God and everyone in attendance that they would be together forever.
Naturally she was "shocked" that he cheated so quickly—which may or may not include all the stepping out he was doing in the days up to their wedding. Probably because she's so dumb. Lozada quickly filed for divorce. Johnson said there was no way they were getting a divorce. Then the divorce was finalized in September 2012. And uh…they might be back together already.
So he cheated on her with every woman within a 100-mile radius throughout the entire duration of their relationship and physically assaulted her weeks after their wedding for confronting him about it. And she only exists on this planet because of the publicity his former career has afforded her.
Isn't it romannnnnnntic? No...it's gross.
**What's not gross? Following me on Twitter. Follow @blamberr