Athletes Who Aren't Fans of Sports

Matt HaupertFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2014

Athletes Who Aren't Fans of Sports

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Sports fans are among the most passionate fans in the world.

    They paint their faces. They spend thousands decorating their homes. They rearrange their schedules—and their lives—around important games.

    The men and women who actually play sports for a living, then, must be the biggest fans of all—right?

    Well, not exactly.

    Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals got a lot of attention when he recently admitted he thought baseball was boring, but he's not the only athlete who's ever appeared slightly disinterested in his sport.

    Some don't find playing fun or enjoyable in any way.

    Some love to play but have zero interest in watching.

    And then there's Joe DiMaggio, who has a very specific distaste for one sport that seems entirely pleasant and harmless.

    Take a look through the following slides to see a few successful athletes who aren't the biggest sports fans after all.

Dominique Easley

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    "Okay, I know the Super Bowl is cool and all. But did you see last night's episode of Phineas and Ferb? It was transcendent, man."

    Such is the type of remark you might expect to hear from New England Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley, 2014 first-round draft choice and avid fan of non-football-related television programming.

    According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, Easley does not enjoy watching football on TV, and when asked if he had ever even made it through an entire game, he replied, "Not start to finish. I might change it to a cartoon or something."

    I get it, Dominique. At the end of the day, Peyton Manning is really just a poor man's SpongeBob Squarepants.

Floyd Mayweather

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    Jordan Strauss/Associated Press

    Ronda Rousey's name has become one of the biggest in sports over the past year—but not big enough to catch the attention of the man with perhaps the biggest name in sports, Floyd Mayweather.

    After being asked by a reporter about the prospects of potentially fighting Rousey, Mayweather replied by saying, "I don't know who he is," as reported by MMAFighting.com (h/t Give Me Sports).

    Mayweather later explained that the reason for his slip-up is that he doesn't really keep up with sports outside of the occasional basketball or football game.

    "I apologize because I didn't know," Mayweather said to Fighthub, per MMAFighting.com. "I'm used to watching football and basketball. I'm not really into boxing like that. When they tell me, 'Floyd, you need to check out a fighter, you need to scout a fighter' I'll say, 'Well, let me see him. We need to sign him.'"

    If I were Rousey's PR adviser, I would have released a statement that sounded something like this:

    "Who doesn't know me? Something Mayweather? That's okay. I've never heard of her, either."

Serena Williams

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    One might think that the key ingredient to becoming an all-time great at a sport is having a deep-seated love and passion for the sport itself.

    Such is not the case for Serena Williams, who explained in 2012 that she never really loved tennis at all.

    As reported by The New Zealand Herald:

    I don't love tennis today but I am here—I can't live without it so I am still here. It was never that I have fallen out of love with it—I have actually never liked sports. I have never understood how I became an athlete—I don't like working out. Anything that involves sitting down or shopping I am excellent at that.

    Funny how that worked out.

    If only I could magically become incredible at things I didn't like! I'd be the world's best mathematician, boast the most beautifully mowed lawn on the street and have a book written about my historic performances on jury duty.

Ivan Johnson

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Ivan Johnson's passionate and almost reckless style of play made him a fan favorite during his years with the Atlanta Hawks.

    Turns out that while Johnson was flying up to the glass to grab rebound after rebound, he rarely knew who the players were that he was going up against, as watching the NBA had never really been worth his precious time.

    As reported by Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (h/t Business Insider), Johnson explained his lack of knowledge of most players in the NBA:

    My thing is, I don't really watch basketball so I don't know who anybody is. So when I match up against them, they are a regular player. I know the major players like LeBron [James], Kobe [Bryant], [Dwyane] Wade but all the extra ones I don't know. Even if I did know them, I'm not going to be afraid. We are playing basketball.

    All the extra ones. You know, useless space fillers like, I don't know, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Duncan.

    A lot of times in the movies, the "extras" aren't even paid—who keeps signing these losers to multimillion-dollar contracts?

Bubba Watson

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    Breaking news!!!! Bubba Watson says golf is boring!!!

    Thank you, Captain Obvious.

    Now can someone pass me the remote? British Open highlights just came on, so I think I'm going to see what's on the Disney Channel.

Andrew Bynum

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Most of the athletes on this list just don't like to watch their sports on television. Understandable.

    Serena Williams didn't like working out but persevered and accomplished her goals anyway. Admirable.

    Andrew Bynum? He took his disinterest in the game to a whole new level.

    Mary Schmitt Boyer of Cleveland.com reported that during his time with the Cavaliers late in 2013, "a disruptive pattern of behavior had been developing, culminating with an obviously disinterested Bynum jacking up wild shots at practice on Friday, angering coaches and teammates," which led to an indefinite suspension.

    According to Matt Moore of CBS Sports, "reports surfaced that he simply does not have any interest in playing basketball any longer."

    You've all probably played with a Bynum-type character in a game of pickup basketball. You know, the guy who shoots the ball every time he touches it then laughs at the rest of the players for taking a game of pickup so darn seriously.

    The difference is, of course, that guy wasn't being paid millions of dollars.

    And your pickup team definitely does not play in the NBA.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Though he upset a lot of fans, you've got to give Tottenham Hotspur's Benoit Assou-Ekotto credit for being honest—and for most likely speaking what is the truth for a lot of the world's elite athletes.

    Assou-Ekotto was not shy about admitting that his sport was simply a job and in no way a passion.

    The Guardian reported on Assou-Ekotto's decision to leave his former team, RC Lens, to play for Tottenham. The footballer was frank:

    Why did I come here? For a job. A career is only 10, 15 years. It's only a job. Yes, it's a good, good job and I don't say that I hate football but it's not my passion.

    If only all athletes would be so honest.

    We'd probably hear a lot more press conferences that ended with statements like, "I did it for the money," or, "I never could have gotten this far without hard work, support from my friends and performance-enhancing drugs."

Frank Kaminsky

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    For a college basketball player, the NBA is the ultimate dream. The end of the journey. The mark of ultimate accomplishment.

    Unless you're the University of Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky. Then it's just downright boring.

    In his own blog, Kaminsky detailed his reasons for staying in school for his senior season rather than declaring early for the NBA draft.

    "I am at the pinnacle of my basketball playing career, at least in my eyes," Kaminsky wrote. "I know the NBA has their crazy fans and all, but if you look at all of their games, there are games when teams get hardly any fans, and it looks flat out boring."

    If only college could last forever, Frank.

    Unfortunately, the dream is going to have to end eventually, and you'll have no choice but to become a working professional, just like the rest of us, playing for an NBA team and managing your millions and millions of dollars.

    I'm sure you'll find some hobby to keep that dull life of yours interesting.

Anthony Rendon

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    To the ever-growing club of sports fans who do not find that baseball satiates their constant obsession with action and minuscule attention spans: You have a new member.

    And he happens to play for a professional baseball team.

    The Nationals' Anthony Rendon, arguably the team's best player, explained that baseball is never part of the conversation at home and isn't something he finds any joy in watching on TV.

    Asked if he would watch the All-Star Game, to which he was denied an invitation, Rendon told Jason Butt of The Washington Post, "I don't watch baseball — it's too long and boring."

    Sounds to me like a guy who was bitter about an All-Star snub.

    If not—here's hoping they show basketball in the clubhouse.

Joe DiMaggio

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    FILE/Associated Press

    Joe DiMaggio wouldn't be caught dead saying a negative word about the sport of baseball, for which he is not only one of the game's all-time great players, but also one of the game's all-time great ambassadors.

    He does not, however, share a similar affection for all sports.

    According to a 1966 article by Gay Talese in Esquire, DiMaggio had some critical remarks about men who partake in the sport of skiing:

    "I would never ski," DiMaggio said. "Men who ski must be doing it to impress a broad. You see these men, some of them 40, 50, getting onto skis. And later you see them all bandaged up, broken legs..."

    Fair enough, Joe.

    But in the end, is man's pursuit of a broad really something to be ashamed of?

    I say ski on, my friends. If Joe had ever needed to, he would have done the same thing.

     


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