Some athletes are well liked heroes, while others are more adept at playing the villain. Though, when it comes to how we feel about professional athletes, things can actually get pretty complicated.
There's a difference between loving or hating an athlete and the complete inability to tolerate his existence. The former of which tends to be a permanent state of being, while the latter tends to be more fluid.
Someone we can't stand right now could very well have been someone we loved just a few months ago. And someone we may very well love again in a few months.
It could be someone we hated casually, but suddenly upped the ante to become completely intolerable. Or it could be someone we hardly knew that managed to earn 'can't stand for life' status with a single incident.
See? Complicated. Not to mention subjective.
That being said, here are 20 athletes who we just can't stand anymore.
Oh don't freak out, Ravens fans. We all know you love your Ray Ray, but by the end of that Super Bowl run in early 2013, even some of you must grown weary of those overemotional mood swings of his.
Ray Lewis may have called it quits on his football career, but he isn't going anywhere. He'll be performing his motivational screaming on ESPN for the immediate, and perhaps, long-term future.
Which is fine, because we won't be forced to watch the Lewis pyrotechnic dance routine ever again. The sobbing, the yelling, the ridiculous over-the-top personal of Ray Lewis is just too much for many of us.
So Baltimore fans got their Super Bowl and the rest of us got the gift of retirement.
Putting the Yankees disabled dud Alex Rodriguez on this list is kind of a reach, because everyone hates him. It just didn't feel right leaving him off a list of athletes we can't stand.
Can you stand anyone collecting $29 million to rehab an injury he must have incurred while warming the bench in the 2012 ALCS? Of course not, nobody can.
Although, I definitely can't stand him far more today than I couldn't stand him a few years ago. For awhile I just hated him for being a Yankee, but eventually seeing his face started physically upset me.
So I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that at some point, somewhere in his career, someone liked him. Probably. Maybe. And asserting that while he was once just hated, now he's downright intolerable.
Minus one late season 'bow to the head of one James Harden in 2012, the Lakers' Metta World Peace has definitely maintained the facade of being a kinder gentler version of Ron Artest.
Unfortunately he hasn't turned it down one bit on the "shenanigans" meter—anything to get attention. MWP constantly makes headlines for acting an escaped mental patient. A friendly escaped mental patient, but an escaped mental patient nonetheless.
In May 2013 some dumb affiliate let him do their weather report—a stunt he pulled in Vancouver last year. The guy who blogged about it on NBA.com said coming from MWP, "it never gets old." Beg to differ.
Things started to turn sour for LeSean McCoy in May 2012 when his teammate DeSean Jackson was the public voice of reason, encouraging McCoy not to hold out and expressing his own regrets over how he handled the same situation a year earlier.
How do you make DeSean Jackson look like a responsible adult? Seriously. McCoy didn't hold out and he got his contract—his production dropped exponentially and the Eagles had a garbage dump of a season. Not entirely his fault, but he certainly didn't care a lick about getting more carries.
It was the disgusting Twitter rant he was involved in with the mother of his child in January 2013 that really started to paint McCoy in another light. The details are well documented and not worth repeating. After tweeting back and forth for hours, McCoy tweeted "Hacked" and deleted his account.
Isn't the lying always more annoying than embarrassing Twitter incident itself? Ugh. In May it was reported that McCoy was facing a lawsuit for assaulting a woman on a party bus months earlier—civil, not criminal.
Even if the allegations prove unfounded, his likability is trending sharply downward. McCoy is young though, it's not too late to turn this ship around.
For all of his colorful insanity throughout his NBA career and beyond, many people maintained fond feelings for Hall of Fame bad boy Dennis Rodman.
He was a serious talent on the court. He was a serious spectacle with his every-changing looks. And he has the benefit of having played alongside Michael Jordan on some of those Bulls championship teams in the '90s.
Rodman managed to build enough good will to make up for every ridiculously crazy thing he's done over the years. Well, at least in the eyes of many basketball fans who recognized his contribution to the game.
And it finally ran out when he decided to become the self-appointed American ambassador to North Korea in March 2013.
Although if even a sliver was left after that, he was lost when he showed up to a recent All-Star Celebrity Apprentice event looking like this. (see photo)
Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was one of the most beloved athletes in the country in 2012. At least by fans of the Irish, which seem to number in the billions, and the sports media. In a college football season that lacked some of the offensive star power in recent years, Te'o was among the biggest beneficiaries.
Just a blip on the radar in 2011, Te'o's play on the field along with personal saga more compelling than a Hollywood tearjerker, made him a standout superstar in 2012. He closed out the year as a Heisman Trophy finalist. All in all, a pretty great year.
Then came 2013. Te'o's performance in the BCS championship against Alabama was absolutely abysmal. Days later it was revealed that his beloved girlfriend, who had supposedly died months earlier, never existed.
The news hit like a sonic boom because Te'o had talked at length all season about Lennay Kekua, the young beauty that captured his heart, before tragically dying of leukemia in September 2012. The death of his imaginary girlfriend was made all the more tragic due to its proximity to the death of his real life grandmother.
The hoax completely turned the tide on Te'o's reputation and his performance in the BCS championship and later at the NFL combine turned the tide on the perception of his abilities as a football player. Questions about the hoax linger to this day, but if Te'o succeeds with the Chargers, people will forgive and forget.
The rise and fall of relief pitcher Brian Wilson has been an interesting one. First he was a faux-hawked nobody with soul patch and a closet full of Ed Hardy gear.
Then the (former) Giants pitcher decided to go in a different direction with his hair and suddenly everyone knew who he was.
Wilson grew that insane beard, showed up to the ESPYs in a spandex tuxedo and generally built his particularly brand of crazy.
And then it's like the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2013, and everyone was over him. Wilson was let go by the Giants and has been unemployed, and MIA, ever since.
Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin has been one of the NHL's most dominant players in the league since his rookie season of 2005-06. Dominant both in terms of on-ice scoring production, but also is physical style of play.
He's been known to run hot and cold over the last few seasons, but when he's on, he's on. Ovi can always rebound from a slump, but his attitude has been in the gutter for well over a year. In early 2012 he boycotted the NHL All-Star game to punish the NHL after he was suspended for a dirty hit.
The Caps are currently on their third coach in less than two seasons and Ovechkin has been a huge factor there. In January 2013 he declared he'd be playing in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, whether the NHL decided to allow players to compete.
And after losing yet again in the playoffs in 2013, Ovi blamed the loss on the referees and a wide-reaching conspiracy to extend the series. Because of course he did. He may be a great player, but he's become an intolerable person.
In Darrelle Revis' defense, nobody but Jets fans can stand anyone on the Jets—and even some of them have lost their patience. Obviously he's now a member of the Buccaneers, having been traded in April 2013.
So perhaps eventually he'll become tolerable again, but Revis has to prove that all of his holdouts, injuries and trash talk have legs to stand on. Or knees, as it were. The fact of the matter is that the peak of his career was 2007—his rookie season.
Revis has had some preside seasons since then, but basically it's been a downward trajectory for five straight years.
All the talk. All the drama. All the money. It's just become intolerable and it makes you wonder if Revis Island was just a mirage.
Everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty; unfortunately that's easier in theory than in practice. The Brewers' Ryan Braun was named the NL MVP in 2011 and months later tested positive for PEDs.
Then in early 2013 he was linked to the Miami Biogenesis clinic, he was among many players, including the Yankees Alex Rodriguez, who are alleged to have received PEDs from the clinic.
Braun claimed he only consulted with the clinic in a legal capacity while preparing his appeal for the 50-game suspension he was issued for the 2011 positive test.
Maybe it's all just a coincidence…but when there's smoke…there's usually fire. Fair or unfair, it's almost impossible to like Braun anymore.
It's hard to say exactly why Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has become so freaking aggravating. He seemed like a pretty nice guy when he was drafted out of USC and throughout his career with the Bengals.
Then in 2011 Palmer decided he'd rather retire than play a single day more in Cincinnati. Honestly, it seemed reasonable enough; Bengals owner Mike Brown is known as one of the worst people in the world.
Opinion really started to shift when the Raiders were Raiders enough to trade their 2012 first-round draft pick, and a conditional second-rounder in 2013, for 31-year-old QB. The only winner in that scenario? Palmer.
He was unsurprisingly crappy in Oakland, considering he had been crappy in Cincinnati for awhile before the trade. But despite being useless for the Raiders, Palmer refused to take a $3 million pay cut on his $13 million salary in 2013.
So they dumped him on the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick. The trade resulted in a very minor pay cut for him with most of his contract guaranteed. Again, the only winner? Palmer.
For whatever reason, PGA golfer Phil Mickelson has always been relatively well liked by the public. Some people just have a special knack for turning on the charm when they know people are watching.
He's routinely ranked among top five highest earning American athletes, with hardly any of his earnings coming from golf. Mickelson's winning career winning percentage is around 8 percent, compared to Tiger Woods 26 percent.
When people aren't watching, Mickelson is less likable. Over the years he earned a special nickname from his fellow golfers on the PGA tour—FIGJAM. Which stands for "F*** I'm great, just ask me."
It wasn't until 2012 that Mickelson's private personal began to become public. In June 2012 he quit a tournament after the first round. He claimed exhaustion from a recent long and taxing European vacation, but the fact that he shot the his worst round in a decade probably played a part.
In January 2013 he pulled a "poor little rich man" move by threatening to quit golf because of his high taxes. Mickelson's claims of poverty were not well received and eventually he issued an apology. The PR apology didn't carry water…not a drop of it.
Given his penchant for showboating and generally making a spectacle of himself, there have always been a contingent of people for whom Chad Johnson was not their particular cup of tea.
But the hijinks earlier in his career were more funny than infuriating, for those of us with a sense of humor and lacking rage issues. The former Bengals wide receiver had the swagger and showmanship of his one-time teammate Terrell Owens, without that cancerous mean streak.
Until recently. Maybe the only thing keeping Johnson likable was his football abilities. His talent has dissipated with age, and he hasn't held a job as a contributing member of a team in quite awhile.
And then there's the assault chargers against his ex-wife Eveyln Lozada, for which he was recently arrested for again on a probation violation. Johnson needs to take a long vacation from the public eye—nobody would miss him.
You probably didn't know you couldn't stand Spanish PGA golfer Sergio Garcia until just recently—probably because you didn't even know who he was until recently.
In May 2013 Garcia was paired with Tiger Woods for the second to last round of The Player's Championship. They finished the day tied, but after Garcia had a meltdown in the final round, he began lashing out at Woods publicly for his behavior the day before.
It was all much ado about a loser until Garcia upped the ante by suggesting he could lure Woods to the dinner at the U.S. Open by serving fried chicken.
It's been two weeks and Sergio Garcia has gone from unknown dud, to the sorest of sore losers, to someone that uses racial slurs that nobody can stand. What a loser.
Putting juiced up disgrace Jose Canseco on this list came from the same school of thought that landed Alex Rodriguez on the list too—but Canseco was definitely liked at some point.
Actually, the retired 'roid fanatic has carved out a little nonsense niche of crazy for himself on Twitter that often gets him the attention he so desperately desires.
For awhile Canseco's nonsensical musings were enough to make me forget I didn't like him. Stupidity, confidence, a need for attention and a complete lack of self-awareness can make for some pretty good comedy.
Until he recently started tweeting the details of a rape investigation in which he was the suspect. Canseco probably should have sent a DM to his lawyer instead. Either way, it was a stark reminder of why no one can stand this guy.
Public opinion on the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony seems to be constantly in flux. Yeah, he lead Syracuse to a national championship—but he did appear the infamous Baltimore PSA "Stop Snitchin'" a year later.
If you're not familiar, it was a friendly little DVD put out in Baltimore back in 2004 casually reminding residents not to cooperate with the police because 'Melo's posse would casually murder them if they did.
There were so many ups and down—with 'Melo, every yin had a yang. Not anymore. Who cares if he's a great shooter. Going into the series with the Celtics in 2013, he said he felt "no pressure."
Anthony just doesn't care, and I can't stand it—or him—anymore.
Sorry, Aggies fans, surely y'all are still a fan of your Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, who came out of nowhere to become the first rookie in history to win college football's highest honor.
Manziel was more than impressive on the field during the 2012 season, leading Texas A&M to a stunning victory over Alabama—their only loss of the season. Unfortunately it's been all downhill in terms of his public persona since then.
This kid can throw a football, but he's downright obnoxious. Manziel is already in love with his own celebrity, and his party boy pictures with his bros have been gossip site fixtures all year. He probably extra spare time because he gets to take all his classes online.
Manziel has gotten into snit fits with fans on Twitter, lashing out at followers over the stupidest things. After one incident, he quit Twitter altogether. Then he came back…because he's a responsible grown up and not an idiot.
Kidding. Not only is Manziel kind of an idiot, he's also kind of a jerk too. In March 2013 he reportedly became irate and shoved a graduate assistant, inspiring the hilarious headline: "Manziel's competitive fire burns even in spring drills."
Ha. Alrighty then.
It may not be fair, but the sudden onslaught of scorn directed at Angels slugger Albert Pujols was an inevitable reality we all saw coming when he decided to ditch the Cardinals after 11 years with the team.
Then again, he had every right to do what he wanted a a free agent in 2011, and we have every right to hate him for it. So actually, it is kinda fair.
The Angels outbid the Cardinals by $40 million in their offer, signing Pujols to a 10-year deal worth $240 million. As if signing a 32-year-old to a 10-year contract wasn't hilariously A-Rod-esque in its stupidity, the deal itself included another $27 million in incentives and perks.
Pujols has been intensely scrutinized ever since. Every slump. Every injury. His struggles have been meticulously documented because he went from hero to zero when he left St. Louis for an insane contract he never had a chance of living up to.
If Pujols is anything like Alex Rodriguez, he probably has no regrets. It's just regrettable that baseball fans will have to watch him slowly fade into uselessness, knowing that he's getting paid $30 million a year to do so.
Yeah, Dwight, you're the king. The king of getting swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs and getting ejected at the end of a very embarrassing Game 4 blowout.
After the three-year saga that has been the life of big man Dwight Howard, it's hard to imagine anyone still has a soft spot left for him. Maybe not even his mom—remember how she felt about him leaving Orlando?
Now this whole soap opera is about to start up again (The Day of Dwight's Lies…whatever, it's working title) because Howard doesn't seem too keen on staying in Los Angeles. He has his reasons, but you know it's because Kobe routinely makes him cry.
He may be going to Houston, but I wish he'd just go away.
American swimmer Ryan Lochte was one of the rock stars of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Maybe that's were "Lochte Nation" was founded.
For whatever reason people couldn't seem to get enough of this kid for awhile, which was great for Lochte, being an attention hound.
His sudden stardom wouldn't be complete without his own reality show: What Would Ryan Lochte Do?
It's not only a show, but a question begging to be answered! Here are my five top answers, having been subjected to one episode.
- Something stupid.
- Stare vacantly.
- Talk about sex.
- Wear a shirt that spells out exactly what he plans to say when he walks into a room.
- Laugh about bodily functions.