Regardless of whether an athlete is a future Hall of Famer or a marginal contributor whose career is fleeting, we expect them to be something stronger than the average man or woman—emotionally, as well as physically.
Maybe an undrafted wide receiver will never move beyond the practice squad, but if they run a crossing route, they better hang onto the ball despite being torpedoed by a 220 lb human missile.
Great, horrible...or somewhere in between...athletes aren't supposed to wilt in the face of fear, pain or some combination thereof; fair or not. That's what WE do.
That's right: being a wuss is a sports taboo. Pain, suffering, intimidation? Meh...49ers great Ronnie Lott had his finger amputated to stay on the field—so what's your excuse? These are the 20 biggest wuss moments in sports.
In September 2012, Giants rookie running back David Wilson achieved a milestone that every player at his position does at some point in career. He coughed up his very first fumble. He sure didn't waste any time, though.
The fumble came in the first game of his NFL career, a game against the division rival Cowboys. Sure it must have been a bummer, but Wilson should've been able to see the silver lining—you can only fumble for the first time once and he got it out of the way really early.
Apparently, he's a 'glass half empty' kinda guy, though, because he was spotted getting all misty-eyed about it on the Giants sideline afterward. Naturally, Wilson denied his weepiness, and who can blame him, trying to pass the whole situation off as a pep talk.
That totally would've worked if there wasn't video and photographic evidence contradicting his version of events. If only he played football in the 1800s.
In January 2006, tennis player Amelie Mauresmo won the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam singles title of her career.
She "led 6-1, 2-0" when Justine Henin-Hardenne suddenly approached the umpire and retired the match. Henin-Hardenne was clearly on the defense and lost the first set on consecutive errors. She said she was feeling sick and simply unable to "find a little bit more."
Either that or the fact that she had already won four Grand Slam titles and was on a 13-match winning streak in Melbourne—calling in sick always looks better than going to work without your pants.
Not that I would know anything about either.
During a game against the Redskins in 2005, (then) Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss caused quite a controversy—shocking, I know!—when he left for the locker room at FedEx Field as Minnesota was lining up for an onside kick.
Sure the odds of recovering an onside kick are low. Time was ticking away and the Vikes were unlikely to win the game. But everyone else on both teams managed to stay on the field until the end of the game.
Typical Randy Moss. It was typical of him at the beginning of his career and typical at the end. He's loud and proud when things are going his way. And he's nowhere to be found when things are going not his way.
The best ever? Dream on, Randy. Dream on.
Lucky for Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez that baseball isn't designated as a contact sport. Otherwise, the stunt he pulled during a game against the Royals in April 2013 would have cost him more than some gentle ribbing in the media.
During the game, which the Tigers won incidentally, Martinez was was waved home at third. Unfortunately, the ball arrived home well before Martinez, who decided to just skip a nasty run-in a the plate.
He veered off midway through and just headed for the dugout instead, a pretty reasonable decision considering Martinez missed the entire 2012 season due to injury.
But still. Not the manliest of moves.
Perhaps I'm being a bit too tough on some of these crybaby athletes, but I just think crying has a time and place—like at funerals and during nature shows when a baby bear dies—and it's not at a football game.
Also, crying when you lose is one thing. Losing sucks and some people just can't keep their crap together. But sobbing like a little girl because Bama beat LSU back in November 2012? Sorry McCarron, this is just too much.
I watched the BCS Championship few months later, which is supposedly a much bigger deal, and this kid was all smiles. What's that all about anyway?
He probably exchanges presents on Memorial Day. Dresses like a slutty nurse on Christmas. And organizes hard-boiled-egg hunts on Thanksgiving.
Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony has kind of a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. Sometimes he seems humble, friendly and engaging. Relatively down to earth for a player of his stature.
Then there are all those other times. 'Melo has been known to be temperamental on the court, moody off the court, and occasionally reveals the very big chip on shoulder—that he has for no reason.
One thing you have to do as a professional athlete is engage the media, even if you're not in the mood. It's part of the job you're getting paid millions upon millions of dollars to do.
But in March 2013, 'Melo was in no mood for the media after watching his Knicks lose to the Clippers in a locker room at the Staples Center. "I'm not talking," was all he mumbled as he exited the arena.
Dude needs to grow up.
There are so many reasons why the odds are stacked against mega-bust JaMarcus Russell making an NFL comeback, it could be a slideshow unto itself.
So let's put most of the Raiders former quarterback's issues on the shelf and focus on one moment that pretty much sums up his career.
During a game against the 49ers in August 2009, it was clear that coverage broke down at the line and he was about to take a sack.
But instead of letting one of his Bay Area rivals have the pleasure, Russell bolted backwards and sacked himself.
Sacking himself. If that isn't a metaphor for his entire career, I don't know what is.
It almost feels wrong to call boxing great Roberto Duran a wuss for calling it quits during his famed rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard in November 1980. But even Duran would have to admit it wasn't his finest moment.
Leonard told Sports Illustrated that he was just too fast for him and that every time he landed a hit on Duran, he'd make a strange owl-like noise. The event, which took place at the New Orleans Superdome, lasted just under eight long rounds.
But despite Leonard's quickness and skill, he had by no means inflicted any serious injuries on Duran, known as El Animal, by the end of the seventh round. In fact, he looked relatively unscathed when, out of nowhere, he turned towards his corner and just quit.
The fight became famously known as the "no mas" fight, which means "no more" in Spanish, because that's what Duran told the referee as he walked away. SI described the fight as a stunning fall from glory.
You may not remember the "Phantom Sack" that former Rams quarterback Jim Everett "suffered" in a fourth quarter of a 30-3 loss to the 49ers back in the 1989 NFC Championship as it happened.
But surely you're heard of the notorious incident since then. It's not because the incident itself was the most egregious act of wussery you've ever seen or anything.
In reality, Everett was basically just sliding to avoid an inevitable hit—which most quarterbacks today do on the regular.
At least those who want to stay healthy.
It didn't become permanently etched in sports history until (then) ESPN Los Angeles radio show host Jim Rome, who made a habit of calling him "Chris," had him on his show in 1994.
According to Everett, he was misled by the network about the interview and had no idea he would be sitting down with the guy who had been calling him Chris until about 10 minutes before the interview.
Jim Rome, being Jim Rome, antagonized Everett from the get-go and eventually things got physical between the two. And for that we thank them.
In June 2012, PGA golfer Phil Mickelson shot a 79 in the first round of the Memorial tournament, the worst score of his career in nearly a decade. And if you didn't see him play that day, it sure felt like he shot worse than that.
But instead of carrying on like a professional in the tournament hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Mickelson immediately announced his withdrawal and bounced. Big surprise that the man who threatened to quit the game altogether because he doesn't like paying taxes couldn't stick it out another day or two.
It's not like he would've made the cut. Mickelson offered up some BS excuses about being fatigued from his recent vacations in Paris and Italy. Wow, Phil, that must have been so hard on you. Poor thing.
Surely his fatigue wouldn't have been such an issue if he weren't embarrassing himself on the greens.
Everyone knows quarterback Vince Young's stint with the Titans wasn't the best of times. In fact, it was the worst of times. After some early success with the team, Young's play, not to mention his mental condition, started to rapidly spiral downhill.
In November 2010, (then) Titans coach Jeff Fisher, never his biggest fan, announced that Young had lost his starting position and would be replaced by rookie Rusty Smith.
The announcement came after a loss to the Redskins in which Young sustained a thumb injury on his throwing hand in the third quarter. But Fisher made it clear that the severity of his injury was irrelevant to the benching.
Young handled it with the poise and dignity of an intoxicated Lindsay Lohan. He lashed out at Fisher and was reportedly mumbling unpleasantries under his breath as the team got dressed. And then he stormed out of the locker room.
Way to take it like a man, Vince. Paris Hilton handled her jail time with more courage and managed to maintain an affable demeanor.
Given what we know about disgraced former football coach Bobby Petrino now, it's hard to imagine him leaving the Falcons in any other way.
In December 2007, one day after a particularly embarrassing loss on Monday night, Petrino resigned his coaching position in Atlanta, leaving nothing for his players but a poorly received goodbye note.
Within hours, he was announced as the head coach at the University of Arkansas. Naturally the players, not to mention the organization, felt betrayed by his act of cowardice—he literally left town in the middle of the night.
Suppose what they say about karma is right. The same thing can be said about Petrino, himself.
In March 2013, the suddenly very unlikable Rory McIlroy followed in the footsteps of the great Phil Mickelson and the greater John Daly when he just wandered away from the Honda Classic mid-round.
He played eight holes and was seven over par when he walked up to his playing partner Ernie Els, handed him his playing card and said, "Here's my card, I'm outta here."
McIlroy didn't have any explanation for ditching, first insisting he was in a bad place "mentally," then later claiming his exit was due to an issue with a wisdom tooth.
A report on Fox Sports hilariously debunked the tooth excuse by pointing out that he was seen eating a sandwich right before quitting.
McIlroy's agent later debunked all the excuses with a surprisingly frank statement about his client, saying "He's not hurt, he's not sick and he won't answer his phone. I don't know."
Sounds like McIlroy has got a bad case of being a sore loser and his divattitude was flaring up again.
Football isn't a game for the faint of heart, certainly not from high school on. Talented players can get by with minimal abuse, though—at least until they get to the NFL.
If you're the type of player that can't take a hit, it won't be long before you're exposed.
Former Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston was instantly labeled as "soft" after dodging an obviously catchable pass in order to avoid a hit during a game against the Redskins in December 2004. Fair or not, he was essentially a pariah after that.
That season, Pinkston was pulled from Super Bowl XXXIX with leg cramps and suffered an Achilles tear months later in the preseason.
He never really played again and his career has been defined by one single act of wussiness.
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in June 2010, NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick, who played for the team for a few years in the early '90s, broke down into tears on national television.
Roenick is a Boston native but, but he did play in Chicago almost two decades prior. So ya know. A grown man, particularly a retired hockey player, crying on television is always subject to potential ridicule.
But when you're standing next to the notoriously brash Mike "I'll beat you with your own shoe" Milbury while weeping, you simply must expect to be taken to task.
When Dan Patrick asked Roenick why he was so emotional, he responded, "Um…Chicago Blackhawks, man. I didn't get to do that. It's pretty unbelievable."
Responding in the only way that an old school Bruins goon could, Milbury retorted, "Well, I didn't get to do it, either, and I'm not gonna cry."
Anyone who watched the AFC Championship between the Ravens and the Steelers, live in January 2009, saw the career of a once-promising wide receiver end on the field in a single play.
On paper, second-round draft pick Limas Sweed, a two-time Rose Bowl Champion at Texas, had everything a player at his position should have.
But on the football field, he was a straight-up disaster. His short career in the NFL was plagued by injury issues and personal problems.
Although it wasn't until that game that it became abundantly clear that Sweed didn't fill a need for Pittsburgh.
After missing on a downfield pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Sweed dramatically feigned an injury. It was an embarrassing display—like really embarrassing—and he was out of the NFL entirely by 2010.
When former Laker Lamar Odom was almost traded to the Hornets in December 2011, he was devastated. Like crying his eyes out publicly devastated.
He received a brief reprieve from NBA Commissioner David Stern, who nonsensically vetoed the trade, before allowing a worse one later. But the writing was obviously on the wall and it was clear the Lakers were looking to deal Odom.
And that's just what happened two weeks later when he was shipped off to the Mavericks. Odom dealt with that even worse. He was atrocious in Dallas and saying he phoned in the very few games he played would be an overstatement.
You'd think a guy who has to wake up next to Khloe Kardashian every day would have a little more mettle.
His first two seasons with the team, Jets head coach Rex Ryan was hands-down the biggest blowhard in the NFL. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. And he literally never stopped saying anything.
Much like his brother Rob, Ryan treated every press conference like his own personal Broadway show. He instigated. He aggravated. He chided, chirped, and never failed to provide his captive audience with a bombastic sound bite.
But all that babbling and bluster was fine, as long as the Jets were winning. And they were winning. Ryan led them to two straight AFC Championship Games in his first two seasons before the bottom came out, the wheels fell off, and winning was no more.
The 2011 season was rough for Ryan and his Jets. The 2012 season was rougher. Suddenly Ryan had nothing to offer but polite cliches. Then in January 2013, he made national news when he decided to head to the Bahamas, and abruptly cancelled his mandatory season-ending press conference.
Well that's one way to avoid answering questions about how bad Mark Sanchez sucked. Although, later he ended up having to answer questions about why he has a tattoo of his wife in a Sanchez jersey.
Ditching the presser was a wuss move. Coming back in the wake of tattoo-gate, though, that took some balls.
Listen. I know how ridiculous out of control leg cramps can be. The first time I ever experienced them, it was during high school soccer practice. We were running laps and all of a sudden I crumpled to the ground without warning, immediately convinced I was dying.
But you know what I've done every time I've had a leg cramp since? Sucked. It. Up. That's what adults do.
So when tennis great Rafael Nadal showed up to a press conference at the U.S. Open in September 2011 with leg cramps, that's exactly what I expected him to do. After all, he's a professional athlete.
Surely that wasn't his first experience with cramps. Which is why his over-the-top dramatics were positively unbearable. If they were that bad, why not postpone the presser a few minutes while he composed himself?
The most ridiculous part of the whole spectacle is the flack Caroline Wozniacki took for teasing Nadal's dramatics during her own press conference the next day. He was a big out-of-control drama queen. She was hilarious.
Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens' emotional breakdown over criticism of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in January 2008 is, was, and always will be one of the strangest sports moments ever.
It would have been strange if a normal NFL player did it, but the fact that the man who made a career out of (figuratively) killing quarterbacks, it was even stranger.
After a bummer of a loss to the division rival Giants, Owens was asked if Romo's gallivanting with his sexual napalm girlfriend Jessica Simpson had anything to do with the Cowboys' loss.
Yes, the question was delving into the personal life of a teammate and, it seems, a friend. But T.O. really could've played it a little cooler. Like a lot cooler.
I played it cooler than that the day I almost drowned in Lake Erie back in 1993. But I guess nobody was questioning my quarterback, man.
This doesn't exactly pertain to sports, since it didn't happen during the course of anything baseball-related.
But the fact that Yankees dude Alex Rodriguez fainted during the birth of his first daughter was just too wussy to exclude.
Plus, who doesn't like to take a jab at A-Rod? Screw baseball, mocking A-Rod is the new American pastime.
**Speaking of wusses, you should follow me on Twitter because I will take them to task for their sad antics. As long as you don't take me to task for mine: Follow @blamberr