Any great sports story is like a Hollywood movie; there's a hero and there's a villain.
Ultimately everyone likes a good guy. It's impossible not to root for Derek Jeter, Matt Ryan, Kevin Durant, Mario Lemieux, Dirk Nowitzki, Aaron Rodgers and Brandon Phillips. I mean seriously, there is nothing not to love about those guys.
Usually the hero deserves to win, but isn't it the villain that we all enjoy watching? Sure it's a little sick and demented, but it's absolutely the truth.
Would you rather have a discussion about the exemplary bunch of athletes listed above or an entirely different conversation about Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick, LeBron James, Matt Cooke, Shaquille O'Neal, Ben Roethlisberger and Carolos Zambrano.
Exactly! And only a few of those villains made this list of the 50 meanest in sports.
Now, let's countdown 50 of the meanest dudes (and maybe a few ladies) in professional sports.
After two seasons with the Dolphins and months of denying he was interested in the head coaching position at Alabama, Saban ditched the Dolphins for the Tide and never looked back.
In 2010, AOL.com asked when did Nick Saban become “Nick Satan” or “Benenick Arnold” or O’Saban bin Lying.” Apparently it wasn’t because he ditched Miami two years into a five-year contract, it was because he ditched Miami for LSU rival Alabama.
Beckett’s most famous incident occurred in April 2009 in a game against the Angels. It was only a few days after Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in a drunk-driving incident, but Beckett was not feeling compassionate.
In the first inning Bobby Abreu requested, and was granted, a timeout and probably assumed that Beckett would hold off on his next pitch. Wrong. Beckett launched a ball which nearly hit an unsuspecting Abreu in the face. Then he charged toward the plate like a psychopath; inciting a bench-clearing melee in the process.
He was suspended for six games, giving him plenty of time to eat fried chicken and drink beer in the dugout.
Michael Bradley is a member of the United States national team and currently plays for Chievo Verona in the Italian Serie A league. Michael is the son of former national team head coach Bob Bradley and is known for his combative style of play and being a hot head on the pitch.
In 2009, Bradley was involved in a heated confrontation with a referee after a United States upset over Spain. After being booted 87 minutes into the game for a lunge tackle, Bradley confronted referee Jorge Larrionda in the tunnel after the game; following the incident he was suspended three games.
In 2007, Bradley played in the U-20 World Cup and scored the game-winning goal against Uruguay. He celebrated his success like any American playing in an international competition overseas would; by taunting the opposition with the final score and nearly inciting a brawl.
Evans has been involved in countless skirmishes over the years but his 2006 run in with Clippers center Chris Kaman is certainly the most cringeworthy. In a playoff game against the Clippers, Evans (who was then with the Nuggets) was violently shoved by Kaman, who was then assessed a flagrant foul.
Kaman immediately informed the officials that the incident was in response to Evans, who had grabbed Kaman’s testicles and “pulled hard.”
Kaman said he showed restraint in not punching Evans and the refs obviously agreed; reportedly saying he would have knocked him out. Kaman said he felt violated and later wished he had laid Evans out, but decided against pressing assault charges.
Evans was fined $10,000 for the incident, but was not suspended.
Bills linebacker Shawn Merriman once had a very promising career in the NFL. Unfortunately his reputation as one of the meanest dudes in the NFL all but evaporated when steroid allegations surfaced in 2006, just his sophomore season in the NFL.
Sure the former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year 2005 isn’t someone that any of us would want to tangle with, but he’s failed to do much of anything in the league since 2007. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t failed to frighten the general public of course…
In 2009, Merriman was arrested and charged with the battery and false imprisonment of MTV’s idiot skank Tila Tequila. Tequila alleged Merriman choked and restrained her as she tried to leave his home, but the charges were dismissed less than a week later.
Red Sox Pitcher Josh Becket may be a headhunter, but at least he’s a great pitcher. The same cannot be said about the Dodgers’ Vicente Padilla.
The only thing remarkable about Padilla’s career is his penchant for conveniently-timed wild pitches and an uncanny ability to incite a bench-clearing brawl.
So far he’s pegged an impressive 106 batters in his career, including A.J. Pierzynski, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira. In April 2010, Padilla hit Giants center fielder Aaron Roward in the face with a fastball, leaving him with two broken bones and a concussion.
Padilla also pulled a Plaxico in November 2009: while home in Nicaragua he accidentally shot himself through the right thigh. His agent initially lied about the injury, insisting the bullet had only grazed his leg.
It was later revealed that the bullet actually had entered through Palilla’s upper thigh and came out the other side. Good thing he wasn’t in NYC.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steve Downie is undoubtedly one of the dirtiest players in the NHL and his behavior on the ice is often nothing short of sadistic.
Since his NHL debut in 2007, Downie has been suspended and/or fined for a number of dangerous offenses.
In fact, his rookie season with the Flyers in 2007 was put on hold when Downie checked unsuspecting Ottawa winger Dean McAmmond into the boards, head-first, during a preseason game. This earned him a 20-game suspension, one of the longest in league history.
Downie’s horrifying behavior first raised eyebrows after a 2005 incident with a junior hockey teammate. Downie blindly cross-checked 16-year-old Akim Aliu in the face (knocking out three of his teeth in the process) and then beat the hell out of him when he returned to the ice after receiving medical treatment.
Downie was reportedly mad about Aliu’s refusal to strip naked with other rookies and stand inside a small bathroom on the team’s bus.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen led the White Sox to their first World Series win since 1917 before personal problems with GM Kenny Williams resulted in his dismissal after six seasons with the club. He may be gone but his unhinged tenure in Chicago won’t soon be forgotten.
Ozzie Guillen behaves with the grace and decorum of a rabid bear hepped up on goofballs and PCP and, like a junkyard dog, you won’t like him when he’s angry. Guillen has been called out for using homophobic slurs and making racially insensitive remarks, but his legendary rants are generally met with a collective shrug.
The MLB is opposed to instant replay but completely accepting of nearly everyone on the field behaving like an escaped mental patient… that’s just baseball; respect for the game.
Check out Sports Illustrated’s list of Guillen’s “best” rants.
There are countless reasons to hate ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. He’s arrogant, he’s weasely, his voice makes ears bleed, and he’s a condescending douche-monster fueled by human suffering and hate mail.
Cowherd is also mean. Like telling his listeners to shoot themselves and then stab themselves in the face with an icepick for good measure, mean. Or publicly blaming someone for their own death before he knows all the facts, mean.
When Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot during the course of a burglary in November 2007, Cowherd made headlines over controversial, and entirely speculative, remarks about the potential reasoning (initially unknown) for the shooting. Following the incident he had this to say on his radio show:
“I'm supposed to believe his judgment got significantly better in two years, from horrible to fantastic? 'But Colin he cleaned up his act.' Well yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn't mean you got everything out...
A lot of people can't in the media, a lot of people can't, 'Oh, wah wah wah, sensitivity, he's a great person, wah wah wah.' Hey, I don't care, that's fine, he died, let's get to the truth…
No, all the information's not in. But I feel pretty confident that my gut feeling, like any of yours, by the way, is right and was right.”
Three years later Cowherd is still standing by some of his assertions.
Pound-for-pound Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith might be one of the toughest and meanest dudes in the NFL. At 5’9 he may be undersized for an NFL receiver but he doesn’t let that hold him back from throwing down every now and again.
Unfortunately Smith is notorious for throwing down with his own teammates. In 2008, Smith was suspended for two games after a training camp fight left cornerback Ken Lucas with a broken nose and black eye. And in 2002 he was involved in a much more serious confrontation with a member of the Panthers’ practice squad.
Smith and Anthony Bright were watching film when a fight broke out between the two; Bright was left with a broken nose and spent two nights in the hospital. Smith was charged with misdemeanor assault and spent a day in jail before posting bond. Smith was suspended just one game for the incident.
Vh1’s reality show Basketball Wives should actually be called Sadistic middle-aged mean girls who once dated, married or got knocked up by an NBA player. Sure it’s a mouthful, but it gives the viewer a more accurate description of the kind of soulless hell they are considering wasting 30 minutes of their life watching.
Here are the six meanest mean girl episodes:
1. Gloria tells the girls nasty stuff about Royce. Royce finds out and Gloria and Royce get into a brawl in the self-defense class until the instructor breaks them up.
2. At the Basketball Wives Reunion the girls reminisce about the season but when Sandra, the groupie, comes out not even guest host Tanika Rey can hold the girls down. Suzie throws water on Sandra and pushes her off the stage.
3. Royce is still at odds with the circle, while Tami learns that Evelyn is trademarking the hurtful phrase that launched their season-ending brawl, leading to a potential lawsuit and an ugly confrontation. Also, a new addition to the circle sets off alarm bells.
4. Suzie and Royce meet together with Jennifer and Evelyn, which blows up after Evelyn throws a drink at Royce, which leads the two women throwing punches until security breaks them up.
5. Shaunie makes plans for another international vacation to Rome with the girls, but doesn't invite Royce.
6. Tami and Meeka's feud only gets worse in Italy and leads to a fist throwing brawl between the two women, with Meeka subsequently taking flight on the drama.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward really rubs a lot of people the wrong way. He’s one of the most physical players in the NFL, pretty rare in a position that is usually all about finesse. Nobody on defense ever wants to get laid out by a wide receiver, but having to look at that big toothy grin after peeling yourself off the turf has add insult to injury.
Ward is routinely named one of the NFL’s dirtiest players because his tough style of play also includes the occasional cheap shot. In 2009 Ward broke Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers’ jaw on a blind-side block and he’s been called out as dirty by Baltimore’s Ed Reed and then Cincinnati Bengal, Chinedum Ndukwe.
Ward may be one of the meanest guys on the field, but most of the barking about it comes from division opponents… so always consider the source.
UFC’s Chris Leben is the 10th ranked middleweight fighter in the world according to MMAWeekly. You don’t make it in the UFC without being a pretty mean dude and Chris “The Crippler” Leben is no exception.
He made his debut in 2005 on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, a reality television show which featured 18 MMA fighters competing against each other. Leben may not have won, but his on-screen antics and emotional breakdowns definitely made him the star of the show. In the first episode, a drunken Leben urinated on his teammate’s bed and stole his pillow, and in a later episode he broke a window with his bare fist after a heated confrontation with another contestant.
Since then Leben has been fighting in the UFC, gaining a reputation as an exceptionally aggressive fighter known to taunt his opponents. He’s also had problems with substance abuse and has been suspended for testing positive for steroids.
Bengals owner Mike Brown is one of the worst owners in professional sports; he’s stubborn, he’s cheap, he’s lazy, and more than anything, he’s vindictive. He may stumble into some accidental success every decade but the Bengals are always going to be operating at a major disadvantage with Brown calling the shots.
The Carson Palmer situation is obviously the first thing that springs to mind. Ultimately Brown did the right thing for the organization in trading Palmer, but only after Oakland forced his hand by offering twice as much as the aging quarterback was worth. If you think Mike Brown wouldn’t have preferred to stick it to Palmer and not have to pay two additional first round draft picks… you’re wrong.
Anyone who watched season five of HBO’s Hard Knocks knows that Brown is a sadistic micromanager who feeds off human misery and employs an army of pathetic 'yes men'. How else would you explain cutting players at 5:30 a.m. in their dorm rooms? The same dorm rooms that players have pay rental charges on if they want them outfitted with anything more than a bed.
Oh, and remember after hurricane Katrina when Saints owner Tom Benson was trying to help pick up the pieces in New Orleans and requested a waiver on club-seat revenues to fund improvements to the Superdome? Only one owner in the NFL spoke out against it… Mike Brown.
Congratulations on being human garbage, sir.
Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been called the meanest man in college football. Burfict idolizes Ray Lewis and Dick Butkus, which should tell you something about the way he plays the game.
Off the field he is known as a mild-mannered introvert and kind of a momma’s boy; at age 12, Burfict devised a plan to get into the NFL so he could use his first paycheck to buy his mother a house. On the field he flips a switch and becomes a bone-crushing 250-pound force of nature who can deliver a game-changing blow on nearly every play.
Matt Hayes of AOL's Sporting News describes Burfict:
"The toughest, meanest, nastiest player in the college game—the guy opponents fear and officials target, the guy once benched by his own coach because his violent makeup led to too many personal fouls—barely says two words away from his 53⅓-by-100-yard lined playground."
How much you wanna bet he ends up in Baltimore?
Danish soccer player Christian Poulsen isn’t just a baller, he’s also a brawler. Actually, he’s a brawler whose brawls incite other brawls.
In a 2008 World Cup qualifier against Sweden, Poulsen punched Swedish striker Markus Roseberg in the stomach and earned himself a red card in the process. The incident did not sit well with one Danish supporter who expressed his displeasure by storming the pitch and attacking the referee. Another member of the Danish team stopped the fan but the game was called off after the unusual brouhaha.
Poulsen is known for being a physical player who often crosses the line and in the aftermath of the incident was briefly dismissed from the national team. Ultimately the charges against him stemming from the incident were dropped and he was reinstated to the team.
Kobe is arrogant, but he’s got reason to be cocky about his game. Kobe is also not much of a team player, but basketball isn’t really a team game. Although being an egotistic ball hog doesn’t get someone voted one of the league’s dirtiest players and biggest trash talkers year after year, so obviously there is something else going on here.
On the court Kobe is a bully; he’s physical and mentally intimidating. And even though he’s not afraid to take a few steps over the line (like punching someone in the groin) to gain an advantage, it’s his actions off the court that are the most questionable.
Kobe has had his share of personal issues but in 2004 he proved that if his ship was sinking, he was willing to bring everyone with him. During an interrogation about a rape accusation, Kobe tried to deflect attention by accusing Shaquille O’Neal of often being in the same situation but paying up to $1 million in hush money to various women.
Ovechkin is a prolific scorer who is often the most physically intimidating presence on the ice; and exceptionally rare combination.
Ovechkin is a dirty player. He’s got a long history of questionable hits and has racked up more penalty minutes, game ejections and suspensions than the rest of the top scorers in the league. But the fact that he’s penalized, ejected, and suspended far less than the rest of the top enforcers in the league is a problem.
Ovi may score like Gretzky, but he hits like Domi. The fact that he's penalized somewhere in the middle guarantees that he's going to end his own career or an opponents' very prematurely.
Patriots’ defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is a universally despised figure at this point. He combines nearly every loathsome quality a professional athlete could have into one 350 pound package. Haynesworth is lazy, entitled, overpaid, combative, and has a sordid history of off the field legal problems.
Haynesworth has been involved in a number of incidents on the road; including an indictment for road-rage in Virginia and two accidents in Tennessee. His most recent indictment for misdemeanor sexual abuse came in April 2011; Haynesworth was accused of fondling a waitress. In his defense, he couldn’t possibly be guilty because he doesn’t “even like black girls.”
Despite being one of the most unapologetically useless players in the NFL, he still has a job. Any team interested in signing this guy after he's cut in New England needs to seriously consider what Albert Haynesworth thinks $100 million worth of his services gets you:
“Just because somebody pay you money don't mean they'll make you do whatever they want or whatever. I mean, does that mean everything is for sale?.. I mean, I'm not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but ... that don't mean I'm for sale or a slave or whatever."
Haynesworth doesn't like to play football unless he's allowed to stomp on faces.
2010: Gives the douchiest press conference in history.
2008: Suspended eight games for intentionally stomping on Ryan Kesler’s leg.
2007: Suspended twice during the playoffs for blows to the head during two separate series.
2004: Suspended one game for kicking Ville Nieminen.
2002: Suspended two games for a viciscious cross-check on Brenden Morrow. The hit left Morrow bleeding near one of his eyes.
2000: Suspended one game for leaving the bench to fight Kelly Buchberger.
1998: Suspended four games for slashing Jeremy Roenick in the head. The hit was deemed reckless and extremely dangerous.
1995: Suspended four games for slashing Pat Peake in the throat. Peake suffered a fractured thyroid cartilage.
There’s a reason that former Seattle Mariners left fielder Milton Bradley is a free agent. The reason is that he’s kind of a psycho.
There’s a reason that former Seattle Mariners left fielder Milton Bradley has been on eight different teams during his 10 seasons in the league. The reason is that he’s kind of a psycho.
Throughout his career Bradley been involved in all kinds of unpleasant incidents: throwing a bottle into the stands, chucking a ball at a fan, numerous fights with umpires, uncomfortable run-ins with reporters, confronting police officers and season-ending suspensions for various acts of douchebaggery.
Well folks, that’s nothing compared to Bradley’s recent arrests for menacing his wife with various weapons. In late September 2011, Bradley was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly swinging a baseball bat at his wife. Two weeks later his wife filed a request for a restraining order after he allegedly picked up a photo of a gun and told her, “This is the gun that I’m going to kill you with.”
Bradley has been described as a violent ticking time bomb. Sounds about right.
In April 2011, GQ named West Virginia University fans the third worst sports fans in America. As a University of Pittsburgh alumna, I can totally vouch for this assertion. Morgantown is a lawless hell, and after a game (win, lose or draw) you had better clear the scene before the couches are set ablaze.
I could go on, but GQ’s description is absolutely priceless:
Yeah, sure, they've been condemned by the local mayor for shouting obscenities on national television broadcasts. And yes, given their history, it wasn't really surprising last season when Pitt's assistant basketball coach got pegged in the face with a metallic object (specifically, a quarter).
But what really defines the West Virginia University faithful is their devotion to celebratory arson. The school led the nation in intentionally set street fires from 1997 to 2003, lighting up an unmatchable 1,120 blazes. That includes 120 in a single night to celebrate a football win over Virginia Tech in 2003 and sixty infernos set to celebrate advancing to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament in 2005.
When school is in session these days, the local fire department reports that it extinguishes as many as twelve Dumpster fires in a week. It's all in keeping with the school's (real) unofficial fan motto: Win or lose, we still booze!
Wanna see more? Google: WVU Osama riots.. you'll thank me later.
The Redskins have been known for many things during the Dan Snyder era: Hording overpriced free agents who are way past their prime, a coaching carousal that included Steve freaking Spurrier, and suing a local paper for simply printing facts about Snyder’s business and life. The Redskins have been a flaccid team over the past decade, averaging 6.9 wins per season and making the playoffs twice. Perhaps the Redskins could use some attitude, some meanness. Enter LaRon Landry, strong safety.
Landry was selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the perennial top ten picking Redskins. LaRon made an immediate impact and was named starter as a rookie.
However, he is better known for exhibiting llama-like behavior, as well as a penchant for mocking head injuries, rather than being the next Ed Reed. Amazingly enough, he gained this reputation via a single game against the Philadelphia Eagles (ironically enough) in November 2010.
As reported by PhillySportsDaily:
Following pregame warm-ups, as both teams were exiting the field for their locker rooms, Washington safety LaRon Landry decided to pick a fight with DeSean Jackson, and hit below the belt.
“He brought up my concussion, and said, ‘I’m going to put you asleep again,’ ” said Jackson.
That was all she wrote. The teams jawed at one another near the corner of the end zone before being separated by the referees. The Eagles went into their locker room far more ravenous than they exited.
…the issues with Landry continued in-game. Center Mike McGlynn claims that Landry spit in his face late in the first quarter following LeSean McCoy’s 11-yard TD reception that put the Eagles up 21-0. Landry spit on McGlynn later in the game as well, he said.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier enjoys speaking his mind. He will publicly humiliate a reporter, he will criticize himself and his team after a loss, he will run up the score whenever possible, and he will take a shot at the opposition for allowing him to run up the score.
In October 2011, South Carolina blew out Kentucky 54-3 with three touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter. Spurrier had this to say about the score:
"We could have picked up 70 or 80 points today," Spurrier said smiling. "But 50 was enough."
And this to say about Kentucky:
"Kentucky has a heck of a punter, I know that"
He spent the greater part of a decade doing the exact same thing as coach of the Florida Gators. Spurrier is more than willing to take the heat when he loses, just so he has the opportunity to stick it to everyone in the room when he wins.
It's mean... but I love it.
Is Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh aggressive, or dirty? Suh has described himself as a “fun-loving teddy bear,” which is a sharp contrast to his play on the field.
There’s no question that his physical style of play has helped change the culture in Detroit, but fines for excessive violence have raised questions. Hits on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and former Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme have cost Suh, only in his second season, $42,500 in fines.
In October 2011, a Sports Illustrated players’ poll named Suh the third meanest player in the NFL.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan is a controversial character in MLB; emphasis on the word character. On the field Morgan goes by Tony Plush, his “gentlemen’s name.” A goofy alter ego might sound like all fun and games, but considering Morgan is a loose cannon at best and a volatile escaped mental patient at worst, it’s not all that fun.
Nyjer’s bizarre interviews are one thing, but the disgraceful behavior that stamped his ticket out of Pittsburgh and Washington was anything but fun and games. Consider his 2010 season with the Nationals.
May: Morgan dropped a fly ball and instead of going after the ball, he threw down his glove and walked away as the ball rolled into left field.
August: Morgan was suspended for seven games and fined by MLB for throwing a ball into the stands and striking a fan.
September: Morgan was benched by his own manager, who was concerned about retaliation, when he ran into Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson.
Morgan barreled into Marlins catcher Brett Hayes, knocking him out for the season with an injury in the process.
Morgan lost it when Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad threw a pitch behind him; he threw down his bat and charged the mound. The benches cleared but Morgan threw just one punch at Volstad that barely connected before being laid out by Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. He received a 15-game suspension which was reduced to eight.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: nobody here is “hatin” on LeBron James. There is a misconception that people hate LeBron for ditching the Cavaliers and that’s just not true. People hate LeBron because he’s an egomaniacal douche who always comes up short on the court and always says the wrong thing off the court.
LeBron has done and said a lot of questionable things and it’s hard to tell if he doesn’t know how it’s going to come across or he does know and he just doesn’t care.
In July 2010, LeBron exercised his well-earned right as a free agent to sign with another team… but after he stretched out the decision forever and announced it on his own televised special; which aired eight hours after the story broke.
In July 2011, with what you’d imagine is the weight of the world bearing down on him in Game 5 of the NBA finals, LeBron and teammate Dwyane Wade mock Maverick’s star Dirk Nowitzki (who was sick with the flu) in full view of television cameras.
And just days later…LeBron used his press conference after the Heat’s Game 6 defeat to address the “haters”:
"All the people that were rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today. And I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do."
In October 2011, with fans across the country despondent with the potential loss of an entire NBA season, LeBron took to Twitter to joke around about joining the NFL with fellow comically tone deaf Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll.
There’s no denying that Phil Hellmuth Jr. is one heckuva poker player; he’s won a record 11 World of Series of Poker bracelets, including a main event win in 1989. There’s also no denying that The Poker Brat is one of nastiest, bile spewing human beings that you could ever have the misfortune of encountering.
Have you ever heard that you learn more about a person in defeat than in victory? Whoever coined that phrase had to have been talking about Hellmuth.
The Poker Brat is legendary for his condescending tirades following a beat because he doesn’t like being defeated by inferior poker players (i.e. everyone) who don’t know how to play the game. The main gist of his argument is something along the lines of; you’re an idiot who can’t play poker if I lose.
It’s actually very confusing, but then again, I don’t have Hellmuth’s big bloated
In all seriousness though, you haven’t lived until you see Tom Dwan beat Phil Hellmuth. It’s always a thing of beauty.
I was hesitant to even include agitator Sean Avery since he can’t even find a job in the NHL, but considering his past, it’s almost impossible not to include him. Fox recently named Avery the ninth dirtiest player in the history of the NHL.
On the ice Avery has had his share (actually, he’s had a lot of players share) of controversial incidents. In 2003 he was traded from the Red Wings because GM Ken Holland thought Avery lacked respect for the game. While with the Kings, Avery found himself in trouble using a racial slur, diving, criticizing the NHL’s director of hockey operations and butting heads with coaches.
In 2008, Avery signed a four-year contract worth $15.5 million with the Stars. His tenure in Dallas was short lived because just two months into the season Avery was suspended for calling Flames’ defenseman Dion Phaneuf’s girlfriend (Avery’s ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert) his “sloppy seconds.” Avery was suspended by the league indefinitely and dismissed by the Stars.
He was signed by the Rangers, but in order to be reinstated Avery agreed to seek a professional anger management evaluation and structured counseling in response to what the league says is a pattern of unacceptable and antisocial behavior.
Avery’s behavior on the ice continued but an arrest for challenging a peace officer in August, 2011, was the last straw for the Rangers. Cops were dispatched to his Hollywood Hills home over a noise complaint; Avery called them “fat little pigs,” and challenged them to a fight, even daring them to return without their badges.
The other day someone told me Terrell Owens obviously isn’t a mean guy because he cried about “his quarterback, man” in Dallas. I said that his various emotional breakdowns have nothing to do with meanness or niceness; they have to do T.O. being dangerously mental.
Seriously, he had an emotional public breakdown over Tony Romo in 2008, but was cut one year later after accusing Romo and tight end Jason Witten of holding secret meetings where they conspired to cut Owens out of the offense. That’s deranged.
Plus, I think we all remember what went down in San Francisco and Philadelphia and to a lesser extent in Buffalo and Cincinnati. T.O. has made a career of killing quarterbacks and poisoning locker rooms.
San Francisco: Owens implies quarterback Jeff Garcia is gay. Garcia responds by marrying a Playboy playmate and never again playing a full NFL season. He barely wins a starting job after 2003, his last season with T.O.
Philadelphia: After a good start, Owens divides the locker room and eventually questions McNabb’s heart and abilities. McNabb had a career high with T.O. in 2004 and has been in relatively steady decline in recent years.
Buffalo: Owens does nothing on a team that does nothing, but he does manage to call out starting quarterback Trent Edwards a few times.
Cincinnati: After one season with T.Ocho, Carson Palmer draws a line in the sand and promises to never play another game in Cincinnati stripes. He keeps his word, and the Bengals dump Owens and Ochocinco anyway.
A lot of cities have their resident always angry, often controversial local sports personality. In Pittsburgh they have Mark “The Super Genius” Madden. If you’re wondering if Madden gave himself that nickname; he did.
In 2006 Madden was fired from his job as a panelist on the WTAE’s Action Sports Sunday. Madden, who hosted an afternoon talk show on ESPN at the time, went on-air claiming Steelers owner Dan Rooney orchestrated his dismissal for being overly critical of the team.
Madden’s ESPN show was required listening for sadistic sports fans who got sick pleasure from being told to kill themselves for being idiots by a 350-pound monster in a Hawaiian shirt. In fact, his show was one of the highest rated in the region when he was fired for “dumber-than-usual” comments. Though the shock jock had been courting controversy for years, it was his comments on the death of late Senator Ted Kennedy that finally got him fired:
"I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated.
Staying true to form, local station manager Mike Thompson stood behind Madden and his comments until the big boys in Bristol stepped in and relieved The Super Genius of his duties.
Some of the stories are legendary: Phillies fans pegging J.D. Drew with garbage and batteries, Eagles fans booing Santa Claus, a drunk Phillies fan vomits all over an 11-year old girl, and Eagles fans cheer as Michael Irvin lay injured and motionless.
I do not doubt the unpleasantness of Phillies and Eagles fans, but I’m definitely disputing the exclusion of Flyers fans. Flyers fans recently made the news for booing an anti-cancer PSA and they have a long history of behaving like rabid animals. They are overlooked because hockey isn’t nearly as popular as baseball and football.
I’ve got no authority to change these rankings, but I have been to a Flyers/Penguins game at the Wells Fargo Center while rocking a Sidney Crosby jersey. Let’s just say that I’m pretty sure I’ve been to hell and back.
Italian soccer player Gennaro Gattuso plays for Serie A club in Milan. Soccer isn’t generally thought of as a full contact sport, but Gattuso prefers to play the game with some added brutality. His nickname “Ringhio” means growl in Italian and comes from his resemblance to a snarling dog.
Gattuso has seen his share of controversy during his career including a couple of very serious incidents on the pitch. In 2003 he was ejected from a game after backhanding an opponent across the face, and after a victory in 2005, he seen seeking out opponent Christian Poulsen and taunting him incessantly.
Gattuso’s most serious incident came in February 2011, during Milan’s game against Tottenham Hotspur. After a physical play on the field, Gattuso and opposing coach Joe Jordan were seen in a heated exchange on the sideline; video later showed Gattuso pushing Jordan away by the throat and head-butting him during the “discussion.”
Today Gattuso is contending with a freak eye injury that has him contemplating retirement. That has got to be some eye injury considering in 2007 Gattuso suffered a torn ligament early on in a game against Catania, but played the entire 90 minutes before being examined by a doctor.
There’s no question that Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pac-Man” Jones is a troubled dude. But at some point you have to stop blaming a tough childhood, and Jones had a very tough childhood, for behavior as an adult.
Since being drafted by the Titans in 2005, Jones has been arrested, questioned or named as a suspect in connection with no less than 14 off the field incidents. His most recent arrest was in July 2011; Jones was arrested in Cincinnati for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. It was his second arrest since signing a two-year contract with the Bengals; Jones played five games in 2010 and is currently on injured reserve.
Jones most famous arrest came during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game weekend following an altercation with an exotic dancer in a Las Vegas strip club. Rapper Nelly was “making it rain” and Jones joined in the fun with his own skrilla ($40,000 to be exact). When the dancers tried to collect the money, he became enraged and insisted he was only throwing his own money for “visual effect.”
Jones allegedly then grabbed the dancer by her hair and slammed her head on the stage. After a tussle with security, Jones and his entourage were ejected from the club; although not before allegedly threatening to kill a security guard.
Later that evening someone returned to the scene and shot the very same security guard twice as well as wrestler Tommy Urbanski, who was paralyzed from the waist down.
Jones maintained his innocence and was never charged with the shooting, but court documents revealed he paid $15,000 to various people involved in the incident.
The UFC’s Brock Lesnar is one scary dude. You might be thinking to yourself, “he was scary, but now he’s old and his career is in decline,” but I guarantee you wouldn’t say it to his face.
Lesnar got his start in the WWE and in 2002 he proved just how real wrestling can be when he left rival Hardcore Holly with a broken neck after a particularly contentious match. In 2004, Lesnar left wrestling to pursue a career in the NFL; the highlight of which was a training camp brawl before getting cut prior to the start of the regular season.
Lesnar doesn’t just put on a show for the cameras; a profile by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports really paints a frightening picture:
"He lives deep in the Minnesota woods, where he lifts weights, drives around on tractors and emerges every so often to “get in a fight.” He abhors materialism and strives for simplicity. If it weren’t for hunting shows, he says he’d throw the family television out. If not a UFC star, he says he’d be a farmer.
He isn’t particularly jovial. On Wednesday, he was surrounded by lawyers and agents that take themselves way too seriously. He got shuffled about in a self-important manner that runs counter to the down-to-earth style of every other star in mixed martial arts. Everything around him seemed stressed.
Then to top it off, he’s liable to flash anger at any moment. He boasts that he has no respect for any opponent."
Maxim's 2009 profile of Lesnar is also pretty riveting stuff.
Zambrano’s temper is legendary and his demeanor on the mound is not unlike a rabid pitbull foaming at the mouth and looking to unleash his rage on whatever you got. One of his greatest freakouts came against the Pirates in 2009. Zambrano “was ejected in the seventh inning after he got in a heated argument -- which included him firing a ball into left field, tossing his glove and taking a bat to a dugout cooler before heading to the clubhouse -- with umpire Mark Carlson.”
In August 2011, Zambrano was suspended for 30 days for throwing inside pitches at Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. After the suspension the Cubs announced Zambrano would not return in 2011 and his status for 2012 is unknown.
In a 2010 Sports Illustrated poll of 173 players, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was named the league’s biggest trash-talker; he won in a landslide with 62 percent of the vote. There are two schools of thought on KG; he’s either a ferocious competitor with a big heart and a bigger mouth or quite simply, a bully.
Count Lakers star Kobe Bryant amongst the first group having described Garnett as a “good dude” who “plays his heart out.” Known to jaw with the best of them, Bryant thinks trash talking is a fun part of the game, but not everyone agrees.
Even those of us who love trash talking found it hard to defend Garnett in late 2010, when Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva tweeted that KG called him a cancer patient during a game. In a written statement Garnett called the exchange a “major miscommunication,” but given his history people were not quick to forgive.
Garnett has earned a reputation as an elitist who targets weaklings. He will ignore a rookie’s attempt at small talk in a meaningless game, he will tell a reporter to burn his nasty suit, he will get on all fours and bark like a dog to make someone feel like less of a man, and he absolutely will kick someone in the balls if he thinks the situation warrants it.
What’s the one thing KG won’t do? Apologize.
Calling Clippers owner Donald Sterling the worst person in the world might be a bit of a reach. But Deadspin’s assertion that he’s the most evil man in sports is spot on. Accusations of horrifying behavior have been routine since Sterling acquired the Clippers in 1981.
As an NBA owner Sterling's track record has been bad: He's heckled his own players, asked a former coach to cut costs by taping players himself, suggested the Clippers tank the season to help their draft position, lost 50 games in a season 20 times, tried to get out of paying $1,000 to a fan who won a free-throw contest, undercounted assist totals to depress the value of his own players and told a coaching candidate that he, “would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players.”
Unfortunately Sterling's track record as a human being has been substantially worse. Serious accusations made against him include:
Sexual Harassment: Sterling has been sued for sexual harassment a number of times and settled out of court a number of times. One lawsuit brought by a former employee alleged Sterling asked her to visit friend of his for sex and routinely ordered her to find massage therapists who would service him sexually.
Housing Discrimination: Sterling was ordered to pay nearly $5 million in legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorneys after an out of court settlement was reached in a lawsuit which accused him of driving blacks and Latinos out of apartments he owned. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the judge described the award as “one of the largest ever obtained in this type of case.”
Flat out Racism:
On Mexicans: “I don’t like Mexican mend because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house.”
On Koreans: “I like Korean employees and I like Korean tenants… I don’t have to spend any more money on them, they will take whatever conditions I give them and still pay the rent… so I’m going to keep buying in Koreatown.”
“Headhunter” is the word most often used to describe Penguins winger Matt Cooke. Fox Sports recently named Cooke the dirtiest player in the NHL today and the third dirtiest player of all time. Violence in the NHL is a growing concern and his behavior in recent seasons has become the focus of increased scrutiny.
Cooke has delivered a number of questionable hits during his career but his most notorious was an elbow delivered to the head of Bruins center Marc Savard in March, 2010. Cooke said it wasn’t his intention to hurt him, but Savard left the ice on a stretcher with a concussion. At the time there was concern that the injury might end Savard’s career, but he returned to the ice two months later.
Cooke received two lengthy suspensions late in 2011 and missed the final 10 games of the regular season, as well as the first round of the playoffs. He apologized for the incidents and insisted he understands that he has to change his play on the ice.
It’s going to take a lot more than an apology for Cooke to change his reputation, but two weeks (and five games) into the current NHL season and he only has two penalty minutes.
So far, so good.
Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour has been called one of the best first-round draft picks of all time. He’s also been called one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. Seymour has developed a reputation as a cheap shot artist and it’s a reputation that is well earned.
October 2011: Fined a total of $15,000 for slamming former Patriots teammate Tom Brady to the ground and for a facemask on running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Seymour set the tone for the game early and his Raider teammates followed suit; three were penalized for unnecessary roughness, one of which was fined $7,500.
January 2009: Proving that brawling runs in the family, Seymour’s wife Tanya was charged with second-degree lynching after participating in a mob-like attack on a woman at a New Year’s Eve party.
A.J. Daulerio replaced Deadspin’s founding editor-in-chief Will Leitch in 2008, and since that time the site’s monthly readership has jumped 700,000 to 2.3 million. Deadspin, and Daulerio, routinely make headlines for publishing the salacious and scandalous sports stories that mainstream outlets like ESPN won’t touch.
The Rex Ryan foot fetish video, Ron Artest’s awkward sexts, MLB’s secret financials, and Sean Salisbury’s cell phone scandal are a few examples of what Deadspin has been known for. Although, the site’s biggest claim to fame is breaking the story of Brett Favre’s alleged sexual misconduct toward Jet’s sideline reporter Jenn Sterger.
It seems almost nothing is off limits to Daulerio, but in a 2011 interview with GQ Magazine he confessed to running a story he wish he hadn’t. In May 2010, Deadspin published a video of “an obviously drunk college girl having sex in a bathroom stall at a sports bar in Bloomington, Indiana.” After exchanging a few emails with a woman begging him to take the video down, Daulerio informed the woman the mistakes like that happen to the best of us.
After receiving a call from the girl’s father, he and chief operating officer, Gaby Darbyshire decided to remove the video; but not before it had been posted on a number of other sites. Daulerio said of the incident:
"It wasn't funny. It was possibly rape. I didn't really look at the thing close enough to realize there's maybe something a little more sinister going on here and a little more disturbing."
A.J. Daulerio may cross the line on occasion and he may be the meanest guy in sports journalism today, but he doesn’t answer to anybody. He’s not afraid of losing access. Honestly, it seems he’s not afraid of anything, and that’s very important for at least one media outlet.
Recently retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is almost as well known for his ability to deliver a dis as his dominant play on the court. Shaq has a unique ability to combine meanness and comedy into a pitch perfect insult that is guaranteed to make you feel like less of a man.
Even calling someone “weird,” which is a fairly innocuous insult, seems ridiculously harsh when coming from Shaq:
“I never hung out with that dude because the dude is a weirdo.”
On Phil Jackson’s coaching style:
“Incense. Books. Just weird.”
“It’s pretty much the same; it’s just that Phil was very weird with his system. This is more of a traditional system.”
Here are some of Big Aristotle's other greatest hits:
On David Beckham via Twitter:
“u will never score a goal on me, I challenge you lil man… There’s no way you’d score on me… how many goals did you score for the Galaxy?”
On Chris Bosh:
“That’s strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men… I’m going to the same thing (in the next game) I did before- make him quit.”
On the Sacramento Kings:
"I'm not worried about facing the Sacramento Queens. Write it down. Take a picture. I'm not going to talk about this all year.”
“Kobe always tried to be a hero. But you know, as the saying goes, a hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich.”
You have probably heard the phrase “[blank] is everything that is wrong with hockey.” The blank in that sentence almost always refers to Jarkko Ruutu, or players like him. Most serious hockey fans like the tough nature of the NHL and even the fighting to an extent. However, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed and Jarrko Ruutu has regularly crossed it throughout his career.
Ruutu doesn’t play in the NHL anymore but over the 12 seasons he did, he was known as an agitator who racked up penalty minutes and wasn’t afraid to take a cheap shot. If you aren’t familiar with Ruutu’s game, here are three incidents that sum up his tenure in the NHL:
1. During the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Ruutu (Finland) checked an unsuspecting Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic) face first into the boards. As Jagr lay crumpled in a pool of his own blood, Ruutu let’s everyone on the ice know that he’s more than willing to take on the rest of the Czech team.
2. In 2009, Ruutu was playing for the Ottawa Senators when he was suspended two games and fined $37,707 for biting the glove hand of Buffalo Sabres goalie Andrew Peters. He wasn’t penalized during the game but the NHL handed down the suspension soon after. Peters called the incident “weird.”
3. In another matchup against Buffalo less than a year later, Ruutu delivered a shoulder hit to the head of Sabres’ resident tough guy Patrick Kaleta. Kaleta collapsed to the ice and did not return to the game after being helped off the ice.
In 2008, Ruutu’s on-ice behavior got the best of (then) Sabres winger Adam Mair who went after Ruutu outside his locker room following a game.
Slice began his career as a bodyguard for Miami porn moguls, but after a concealed weapon charge in 2002, he turned his attention to unsanctioned street fights. Slice was only defeated once on-tape over the next several years and in 2007 he transitioned to MMA. He’s had some success in MMA but his street fights are some of the craziest things on the interwebs; which says a lot.
Kimbo Slice is so big and mean that even his 2008 acting debut in a Nickelodeon holiday special didn’t hamper his cred.
Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is, to be frank, a douche. He’s a professional baseball player who behaves like a like an escaped mental patient for the most part. Former Giants teammates labeled Pierzynski a cancer who was combative with his teammates and underprepared for games.
Recently 215 MLB players voted him the meanest player in baseball in a Sports Illustrated poll. Pierzynski met the news with a laugh; he thinks the players that hit kids or beat up old ladies deserve the honor. Although if SI conducted a poll on the MLB player most likely to hit kids or beat up old ladies, one would assume Pierzynski would top that as well.
A.J. Pierzynksi isn’t a horrible person and teammate though, he just loves to win. Don’t all baseball winners take shots before playoff games, knee their trainers in the balls, get into fistfights on the field and have an offseason career in professional wrestling?
Trade rumors have followed Pierzynski’s throughout his career and now it seems the White Sox are ready to say goodbye to their cantankerous catcher.
According to Sports Illustrated’s player poll, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is the second meanest player in the NFL. With 15 percent of the vote, Lewis finished second to Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison who garnered a whopping 35 percent.
At 26-years-old Ray Lewis was a very different man. In January 2000, following Super Bowl Party in Atlanta, Lewis was involved in an altercation which resulted in the stabbing death of two people. That February, instead of heading to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl, Lewis was arrested on murder charges. Ultimately all of the witnesses changed their stories and nobody was ever convicted of the murders; although Lewis reached financial settlements with the victim’s families.
When the Ravens won the Super Bowl a year later, Ray Lewis was named MVP but quarterback Trent Dilfer was asked to say the signature phrase “I’m going to Disney World.”
Back then it wouldn't have been a compliment to name Lewis the meanest guy in the NFL.
Today Lewis' has repaired his image. He's spent an entire decade as one of the most dominating forces the NFL has ever seen. He's managed to make the world forget about the guy he used to be. Lewis is considered second meanest player in the NFL based entirely on his play on the field; and that is a compliment.
ESPN’S Skip Bayless is, hands down, the most universally reviled figure in the sports media today; if you don’t hate him, you probably don’t know who he is. Bayless is abhorred with good reason; dude is straight up mean.
From a distance he might look like an unassuming very skinny old man, but don’t let that fool you. Bayless is like the honey badger, he just don’t give a sh*t!
Bayless on Chris Bosh: “Bosh Spice”
Bayless on Shaquille O’Neal: “Shakira O’Neal” and “Shaquille O’Whale.”
Bayless on Jay-Z: “Overrated” with “low on-stage charisma.”
Bayless on LeBron James: “LeBrick” (kinda funny, sorry) and “Prince James.”
Bayless on Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens: And obviously the Bengals will be far better off without Team Obliterator and the Ocho Sideshow.
That's so Skip Bayless.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison recently took top honors in two separate polls on the NFL’s most frightening man. Considering he spent last season making headlines and racking up fines for delivering crushing blows to the head, this surprised nobody.
Sports Illustrated polled 287 NFL players to find out who they thought the meanest player in the league is and Harrison edged out Baltimore’s Ray Lewis for the number one spot. ESPN’s SportsNation conducted a viewer poll to determine the NFLs “baddest dude” and Harrison beat out Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh.
James Harrison has always had a reputation of as kind of a loose cannon, and his interview with Men’s Journal in July did nothing to dispel that perception. Not that he wanted to. An intense Harrison appeared shirtless on the cover with his own guns; an FN Five-Seven pistol and a Smith & Wesson 460V revolver. He had this to say about his reputation:
“My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people.”
And this to say about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:
“(He’s) a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
He went on to explain that Goodell is “a devil” who was “too stupid to understand” his game.
Harsh words there, but when you’re right, you’re right!
You remember James Harrison's altogether questionable interview with Men's Journal in which he called the NFL commissioner "the devil" and posed for the cover shirtless with a couple of guns. Now imagine if he was paid an inconceivable fortune to constantly appear on television dressed (or undressed) like an unapologetic psychopath and say increasingly horrifying things.
Well then he'd be Don Cherry.
Cherry thinks Russian players are quitters who take a lot of drugs.
Cherry thinks that helmet visors are for Europeans, French guys and gay dudes.
Cherry thinks that former NHL players concerned with player safety are hypocritical pukes, turncoats and backstabbers.
Cherry thinks the best thing about the Candian Fooball League is that there are no Russians or Swedes playing.
Cherry thinks that bicycles are for communists. Seriously.
It seems Canadians have got a different set of behavioral standards because in 2004, CBC (without involving their French-language arm) named Don Cherry as the seventh greatest Canadian of all time; two places ahead of Alexander Graham Bell and three ahead of Wayne Gretzky.
So the network that employs Quebec hating Don Cherry, minus their French Canadian arm, produced a documentary series which named their employee Don Cherry one of the 10 greatest Canadians ever. They passed over Mario Lemieux, John Candy, Michael J. Fox, Celine Dion, Mike Myers, Bobby Orr and Neil freaking Young; who all made the top 50.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather may be a great boxer, but he’s not a great human being. Actually, he’s a pretty terrible human being who is far meaner out of the ring than in it. First there’s what he had to say about the man he refuses to fight, Manny Pacquiao:
"As soon as we come off vacation, we're going to cook that little yellow chump… Once I stomp the midget, I'll make that mother f----- make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice…. We gonna cook that mother f----- with some cats and dogs. ... Rice with [a] little bit of cat, rice with a little bit of barbecued dog.”
Then there’s the recent report (I say recent because it happened in 2008 as well) of Mayweather parking his Mercedes-Benz at an angle through two handicapped spots. Mayweather exchanged some heated words with a bystander before taking his sequined satchel filed with $200,000 in cash to the bank to deposit.
Do you think he kept enough cash on hand to play telephone with 50 Cent with giant stacks of cash?
And then there’s all of this:
2002: Convicted of two counts of domestic violence and one count of misdemeanor battery.
2004: Convicted of misdemeanor battery of two women in a night club.
2005: Acquitted of assaulting his girlfriend after she changed her story on the stand. He also pled no contest to misdemeanor assault.
2009: Mayweather’s home was searched after his car and one of his associates was identified fleeing the scene of a Las Vegas shooting.
2010: Arrested and charged with three misdemeanor harassment charges, felony grand larceny, two felony coercion and one felony robbery charge. And he probably would have been arrested for a confrontation with rapper Rick Ross had Diddy not intervened.
2011: Arrested for misdemeanor assault, stemming from an incident in October 2011; Mayweather threatened to have security guards shot for ticketing his cars. Witnesses alleged Floyd said:
"My homies have guns. If you want me to call them, they'd come over here and take care of you. These are my f**king cars. Don't touch my f**king cars."
I will say this much... I certainly wouldn't touch his cars.