15 Nice Stories About Athletes We Hate

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterMarch 25, 2013

15 Nice Stories About Athletes We Hate

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    "Hate" was once a strong word, but now most of us toss it out there like confetti—a cheap throwaway term for anything that grinds against our grain or irks us in the least.

    Most of the time it's used for the littlest things, and it's only getting pettier. And nowhere else is more hate generated over ultimately petty things than in the world of sports.

    More often than not, fans enjoy hating on a team or player as much or more than they love cheering on their side. We'll hate a guy on our own team because he blows a big game (guilty), and in the same breath we'll hate a guy on the opposing side because he's too good (double guilty).

    Obviously, there's a distortion in perception here, and what we see of an athlete on the field or in the media isn't all there is to that person as a human being, and the following slideshow attempts to add a dimension of humanity to the athletes out there that have garnered a sizable amount of hate from different fans for a number of reasons.

    So relax your jaw, de-furrow those brows and consider giving the following stories about controversial athletes a fair shake.

Dwight Howard Spends Time with Biggest Fan

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    Hated Because:

    His lack of toughness and his decision to abandon the Magic to chase rings with the Lakers.

    But Did You Know:

    Dwight Howard made a dying woman’s last wish come true

    In 2010, the former Magic star visited a 62-year-old woman named Kay Kellogg suffering from multiple myeloma—an aggressive bone cancer. 

    Kellogg, an Orlando Magic season ticket holder, had claimed that watching Howard play was one of the few things that made her feel better. And when Kellogg's daughter reached out to the Magic organization about her mom’s condition, Howard showed up in the cancer ward for a special visit.

    Howard’s visit with Kellogg was supposed to last a half hour. He stayed for nearly two.

    Kellogg spoke warmly of the star center, referring to him as her “7-foot-tall bottle of medicine.”

Tim Tebow Clips for the Kids

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    Hated Because: 

    His name is always in the news cycle, ESPN force fed us “Tebowmania” with a shovel, and he shoves his faith down our throats. 

    Oh and he ruined one of the best songs ever.

    But Did You Know:

    He does seem to lay it on thick, but Tim Tebow’s faith isn’t a made-for-television gimmick—and the proof is in the Philippines, as it were.

    Instead of going on Spring Break his junior year at the University of Florida, the Heisman Trophy winner went on a mission trip to General Santos City in the Philippines to minister and supply aid to sick children.

    While his peers were out getting blitz-faced on tequila body shots at Señor Frogs, Tebow was cleaning surgical equipment and helping stitch newborn circumcision patients.

    Snicker all you want, but a man who would do that over pounding Rumplemintz in Panama City isn’t a bad guy. 

LeBron James Meets Joey

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    Hated Because: 

    He’s LeBron James—flopper, oath-breaker and basketball player extraordinaire. 

    But Did You Know: 

    LeBron James helped make the dying wish of a terminal cancer patient come true.

    After being a diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, 23-year-old Heat fan Joey Cawyer just wanted to meet King James before passing.

    And thanks to the some good friends and the magic of social media, the hashtag
    #MeetJoey took the Twitter world by storm. As luck would have it, James noticed the trend spreading and met up with Joey two weeks before he succumbed to the disease.

Ryan Lochte Spreads Awareness About Muscle Dystrophy

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    Hated Because:  

    He’s a good-looking guy with zero speaking ability, and we’re tired of hearing about him.

    But Did You Know: 

    Ryan Lochte is a spokesman for the Mac Crutchfield Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to raising awareness and finding a cure for muscle dystrophy. 

    And he’s not just doing it because every famous athlete has to have a “cause” they support. A close relative of Lochte’s passed away from Duchenne (a form of the degenerative muscle disease), and since he has dedicated his time toward raising money to help fund research to fight the disease. 

Mario Balotelli Picks Up the Tab, Drops Bills at Church

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    Hated Because: 

    He’s an egotistical crazy person who only cares about himself.

    But Did You Know: 

    Some crazy stories have been published about Balotelli’s giving nature—that he confronted a bully and gave a homeless man on the street a bunch of cash. 

    Most seem to be myths and exaggerations, but it can be confirmed that the former Manchester City striker (now with AC Milan) did some random kindness with his money in 2011.  

    According to the Daily Mail, Balotelli visited a Manchester pub around Christmastime in 2011 and picked up a £1,000 tab on drinks for its patrons. After this, he walked into a midnight mass at a Manchester church and dropped £200 in the collection tray. 

    Because these are the things that Balotelli will do from time to time.

Ndamukong Suh—A Giver & a Fighter

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    Hated Because:  

    He’s the dirtiest, low-rotting-est player in the NFL. He’d rather stomp on your body and punch you in the head than even look at you.

    But Did You Know:  

    In 2011 Suh was voted the most charitable athlete in the world after giving $2.6 million to his alma mater, the University of Nebraska. 

    Sure, he didn’t donate to the John Hopkins School for Puppy Cancer Research, but the donation was reportedly the sixth largest of any celebrity in the world that year, and undoubtedly helped fund scholarships for student-athletes. 

    Or they might’ve thrown a mindblowing Suh-A-Palooza party with it. Either way, a great cause.

Brad Marchand Champions Boys and Girls Clubs

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    Hated Because:

    He hits low, he talks trash constantly and generally pisses just everyone off.

    But Did You Know:

    Marchand is invested in helping raise money for the Boys and Girls of America. 

    The Boston Bruins’ irritating center holds auctions and sells off autographed gear in the name of funding the construction of new centers for at-risk youth on the street.

    I just hope he doesn’t teach the kids sportsmanship.

Richard Sherman Plays Santa

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    Hated Because: 

    He never shuts his mouth, taunts opponents constantly and he indulges in pointless inarticulate arguments with Skip Bayless.

    But Did You Know: 

    Richard Sherman has a soft spot for the poor, especially kids in need.

    The Seattle Seahawks shutdown corner has been known to order entire meals to-go at restaurants, and then hand them out to the poor on his way home. 

    This past Christmas Sherman “adopted” an impoverished Seattle family, sponsoring their Christmas dinner and purchasing them a load of presents to put under their tree.

    He might look like the Grinch when he’s sarcastically waving his white-mittened hands at Julio Jones, but the truth is Sherman’s heart has always been three sizes too big.

Ray Lewis Mentors Young Victim of Tragedy

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    Hated Because:

    He’s always crying, his constant down-home Christian revival shtick is getting old and we’re sick and tired of his dance. Oh yea, he killed a guy, according to some people.

    But Did You Know:

    Ray Lewis mentors the remaining child of a family devastated by suicide.

    In a fit of depression, La’Shaun Armstrong’s mother drove her van into the Hudson with her four children inside. Of the five people in the car, Armstrong was the sole survivor, escaping through a window.

    After seeing the tragedy in the news, Lewis contacted Armstrong whose father—and only surviving immediate family—was doing time in prison. 

    The two went bowling together, and Lewis used his position as the vice chairman of the United Athletes Foundation to help organize a fundraiser to provide food, counseling and long-term support for Armstrong.

A.J. Pierzynski Grows It out for the Cure

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    Hated Because: 

    “He’s a d**che AND a turd sandwich, rolled into one.”—top answer on Yahoo! Answers to the question “Why do people hate A.J. Pierzynski?”

    But Did You Know 

    He’s fully on-board for “Movember." 

    The Texas Rangers catcher may be a cocky know-it-all, but A.J. Pierzynski is fully down for cause of raising prostate cancer awareness. 

    Pierzynski grew out a beard in November in 2010 as part of the Movember movement, raising money and awareness by growing his beard out through the entire month of November. 

    It might not seem like any grand gesture, but it’s a surprising move for a guy who appears to spend an inordinate amount of time on his boyband hair.

Maurice Clarett Helps Athletes Stay on Track

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    Hated Because: 

    Maurice Clarett broke law after law, challenged the NCAA and basically was an insufferable jackass during his meteoric rise at Ohio State during the early 2000’s. He ended up falling out of the NFL before playing a single game, however, and since his name has become synonymous with cocky star athletes who got what they had coming. 

    But Did You Know:  

    Clarett has come a long way in the last decade, and has become a motivational speaker and advocate for athletes struggling with life after sports. 

    He travels the country speaking to young athletes and former players about the dangers of letting fame, addiction and money take over their lives. 

    Clarett is this generation’s Lawrence Taylor in a way, and it might be time he receives a warm LT welcome.

John Calipari & Hoops for Haiti

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    Hated Because:

    He’s John Calipari—cheater, Monstar-recruiter and slimy tool-face extraordinaire. And yes, I realize he isn’t an athlete. We’re doing it anyway.

    But Did You Know:

    John Calipari will drop everything and pull out his checkbook for a good cause.

    The head coach of Kentucky basketball donates a hefty amount of his time and money to charity. After the terrible earthquake tragedy in Haiti in 2010, Calipari organized “Hoops For Haiti,” a fundraiser that raked in over $1 million in donation for relief effort to the troubled island nation. 

    And lets not forget his own personal donation of $1 million to Streets Ministries, an organization providing support for underprivileged in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Johnny Manziel as Patch Adams

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    Hated Because:

    The Heisman Trophy winner isn’t widely “hated” by your garden variety of sports fans, but if you’re incredibly good at what you do, are dating a beautiful woman and have a lot of fun...

    Well, some people are going to hate you.

    But Did You Know:

    Johnny Manziel visits with sick children on the regular.

    After posting a pot-stirring image to his Instagram account of he and friends flashing their winnings at an Oklahoma Casino in early January, Texas A&M’s star quarterback posted another less controversial picture—himself visiting with a young patient at a Connecticut hospital. 

P.K. Subban Shows Up for Mandi

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    Hated Because:

    He’s a self-loving youngblood who holds out on contracts and doesn’t respect his teammates. 

    But Did You Know:

    While holding out for a longer contract with the Canadiens, Subban helped raise funds for “White Out for Mandi,” a charitable annual event held by Yale University’s women’s hockey team.

    Subban attended the game, signed autographs and donated money in support of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the need for bone marrow and umbilical cord blood donors.

Jay Cutler Speaks Up for Children with Diabetes

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    Hated Because:

    He’s a once-overrated quarterback who now underperforms on a regular basis. But mostly because he looks like a smug frat guy who has never given a solitary damn in his entire life. 

    But Did You Know:  

    Jay Cutler has Type-1 diabetes, and he spends time advocating to young people who suffer with the deadly metabolic disease.

    “It’s hard enough as a kid these days to feel normal and just try to fit in,” Cutler told Yahoo! Sports. “[Diabetes] doesn’t have to change your goals or your aspirations...it’s just a little speed bump that you’ll get through, and you’ll have to manage it each and every day.”