Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated film The Dark Knight premiered this weekend and all eyes were transfixed on the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of the dynamic villain The Joker. In tribute to Ledger's devilishly mesmerizing character, I have decided to nominate the five most villainous sports figures of the past decade.
1. Barry Bonds—Bonds, 43, a seven-time MVP and eight-time Gold Glove winner who is baseball's all-time home run king with 762 dingers, is one of the greatest players to ever grace the diamond.
Unfortunately, Willie Mays' godson is also one of the most despicable and surly human beings to ever be thrust upon the world of professional sports.
In November of 2007, Bonds was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for lying about his use of performance enhancing drugs (including the allegation that he utilized a steroid called trenbolone, which is intended to improve the muscle quality in cattle).
Currently, Bonds is an outcast who has been essentially banished from the sport of baseball.
2. Bill Belichick—Belichick, 56, helped lead the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl championships, and is widely heralded as one of the greatest coaches in the annals of the NFL.
But, he is also a cheater—both on the field and off of it.
In September of 2007, the philandering fashion plate, who has a career record of 41-57 as a "HC" without Tom Brady at the helm, admitted that he had been illegally videotaping his oppositions defensive signals since the 2000 season.
3. Roger Clemens—Clemens, 45, won 354 games in his career and was awarded the Cy Young Award a record seven times.
But, the fat Texan also cheated on his wife, Debbie, at least 354 times, and he likely took a minimum of seven different forms of illegal performance enhancing drugs throughout his sham of a career.
Any time now, "the Rocket" could be launched to prison for lying to congress.
4. Alex Rodriguez—Rodriguez, 32, is a three-time MVP and 12-time All Star who many believe will one day be revered as the greatest baseball player ever.
Early last year, A-Rod was asked why he was such a magnet for criticism and he responded, "When people write bad things about me, I don't know if it's because I am good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team."
The reasons that many dislike the purple-lipped pariah are actually because he is a pompous, robotic, and fake man who is incapable of succeeding in pressurized situations.
5. Ray Lewis—Lewis, 33, a two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, is one of the most dominant linebackers to ever step on the gridiron.
He is also a menacing man who was charged (and later acquitted) with murder and aggravated assault after a fight in 2000 left two dead from stab wounds.
Lewis was the first MVP of the Super Bowl to not be asked to say the famous phrase, "I'm going to Disney World!" after the game. One can only assume that Lewis wasn't the image that Disney craved to be associated with their brand.
*Honorable mention: Kobe Bryant
Everybody has different vantages and varying likes and dislikes. I would be interested in hearing the opinions of others on this subject. In this case, nobody can be pronounced wrong.