The Q Scores Company, a company who aims to determine the popularity of sports figures, just released their latest results.
Every sports figure receives both a positive q score, which represents how liked they are, and a negative q score, which represents how disliked they are.
Not surprisingly, many athletes appear near the top of both lists. For example, LeBron James received the highest positive score of any NBA player, but he also received the second-highest negative score of any NBA player.
The top six most hated sports figures are, in order of their ranking, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad OchoCinco, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. All six of the players are African-American.
The top six most loved sports figures are, in order of their ranking, Michael Jordan, John Madden, Shaun White, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Arnold Palmer. Five of the six players are white.
Now, I want to make one thing very clear from the start. I am not saying that race definitely plays a part in this. Given the results, however, it seems like a fair question to ask.
I know that a lot of sports fans get angry when someone "pulls the race card", but where is the harm in at least considering the possibility?
It seems that an honest and open consideration of whether race plays a part or not could only be beneficial.
So, after reading through the lists, a few names come to mind.
Where is Ben Roethlisberger? Brett Favre? Roger Clemens?
Maybe to put these guys ahead of Michael Vick or Tiger Woods would be a stretch.
But to have them ahead of Terrell Owens, Chad OchoCinco, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James certainly seems reasonable.
It would be nice if we had more of the list available to see how the demographics look across the entire study, but I could only get my hands on the top and bottom six.
Now, certainly the players on the list of most hated sports figures are there for reasons that we all know. Similarly, it is not hard to see why the players that are on the most loved list are there.
But the question is, are sports fans quicker to forgive a white athlete than a black athlete?
Are we quicker to pass judgement on a black athlete than a white athlete?
Hopefully, of course, the answer is no. But I think we should each ask ourselves, honestly, whether it truly is.