The 25 Most Annoying People in Sports

Peter OwenCorrespondent IINovember 12, 2011

The 25 Most Annoying People in Sports

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    There are annoying people everywhere in life.

    Sports is filled to the bursting point with things that annoy us: losing, rivals, referees, complainers, coaches, players, pundits/experts, fans—to name but a few.

    Whether they are serial complainers, seasoned failures or are just plain exasperating, we love to hate sports stars.

1. Tiger Woods

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    Tiger Woods must have wanted to simply disappear at times in the last two years, between injuries that have robbed the former world No. 1 of his seemingly unparalleled ability and a marriage scandal that developed from allegations of a single case of infidelity to a whole catalogue of barmaids and dancers.

    What annoyed us about Tiger? The fact that he was a role model to millions and apparently negative-press free, only to let us down in spectacular fashion.

    Then to have the guts to think an apology would do...

    Eventually, we are beginning to forgive him.

    Annoyance Grade: D

2. Stan Van Gundy

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    You probably guessed that Stan Van Gundy was going to make an appearance on this list, seeing as he already appears on the front page.

    Stan never shuts up. Every call is the wrong call for Stan, every call goes against him and every referee has a vendetta against his team.

    Not to mention that face he pulls. Y'know, the one when he looks like he just saw a dog on a unicycle juggling knives.

    Yes, that one.

    Van Gundy needs to learn to shut up before more of his own fans get annoyed with him.

    Annoyance Grade: B+

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Just look at him. All six feet of him, brought to the ground like a felled tree as if he just got hit by a freight train.

    That's Cristiano Ronaldo in a nutshell. Falling, rolling, throwing himself all over the pitch, looking to the referee for some kind of support.

    Sometimes you wonder if just looking at his hair (that has at least three tubs of gel in it at any time) is enough to send him sprawling to the deck.

    The most annoying thing, as if that's not enough, is that Ronaldo has no need to do any of it. If it weren't for little Leo Messi, he would be known as the best football player on the planet.

    That's why it's infuriating to see his play-acting and near-constant whining to the match officials, always looking to get someone else into trouble.

    Playing for your team, you can put up with this side of Ronaldo because his incredible skill more than makes up for it. But playing against you, he generates new levels of hate.

    Annoyance Grade: A

4. Skip Bayless

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    Skip Bayless has been angering sports fans for years now.

    His predictions nearly always suck, his opinions appear biased and don't stand up to even minimal scrutiny and he loves to bash on people for no good reason.

    Right now, he loves Tim Tebow—thinks he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Next week, he'll say that Tebow should never have been drafted.

    He took the Orlando Magic to beat the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the 2011 NBA playoffs. Orlando didn't make it out of the first round, as it proved itself to be far too dependent on Dwight Howard.

    What got people's backs up most of all was his treatment of LeBron James.

    We all hated him, we enjoyed hating him, but Skip took it to such an extreme that even his fellow analysts began to get annoyed with him.

    Annoyance Grade: A

5. Donald Sterling

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    LA Clippers fans must be the most hard done by in the NBA.

    They have to put up with Donald Sterling as an owner. The guy just looks annoying.

    From allegedly refusing to rent his apartments to African-Americans and Hispanics to telling team executive Elgin Baylor he wanted a team full of "poor black boys from the South and a white head coach," he hasn't given long-suffering Clippers fans any reason to support him.

    Now, to make matters more unfair on this fanbase, he has his hands on Blake Griffin, probably the most exciting young player in the NBA today. Surrounded with the right players, the Clippers could be catapulted into the playoffs.

    The chances of that are small if Sterling remains in charge.

    He even heckled one of his own players. That doesn't even make sense. He told Baron Davis he shouldn't be on the court.

    Then Baron ended up in Cleveland; Sterling can't be expecting a Christmas card from him this year.

    Annoyance Grade: A+

6. Sebastian Vettel

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    Sebastian Vettel is probably the only driver who can come close to breaking Michael Schumacher's records in Formula One.

    What's annoying about this thoroughbred winner?

    The smug attitude, the seeming air of innocence he holds himself in and that infernal finger.

    When he wins, he celebrates. Fair enough. Trouble is, he wins at a canter, blowing away the opposition in a performance that makes the other drivers look distinctly average. Then he celebrates like he's just won the hardest race of his life, when the truth couldn't be more different.

    When he makes a mistake, it's never his fault. Take Turkey 2010, for example. He took out teammate Mark Webber yet expected everyone and his dog to blame the Australian, not him, for the accident.

    Then the finger. It shouldn't annoy us, but it does. It rounds off all that annoys us about Sebastian Vettel. The only redeeming factor he has is that we finally have someone quicker than the king of smugness, Michael Schumacher.

    Annoyance Grade: B

7. Arsene Wenger

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    Arsene Wenger is a pioneer. Arsenal manager for approaching two decades, he has catapulted Arsenal to the top table in world football.

    He masterminded the "Invincibles" season, where his team didn't lose a single game, and he's poached world-class players in Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

    These past two seasons, however, Mr. Wenger has been getting more and more annoying. His teams have started losing lots of games, but it's never the fault of his players or his tactics. It's either the referee, the referee or the referee conspiring against Arsenal to deny them victory.

    It got to a point that many people questioned whether he had lost his ability as a manger to get the best out of his players, especially when he persisted in continuing with the "it's not us, it's them" excuses for abject performances.

    Then there's his strange addiction to signing young "prodigies" from small countries we've never heard of. He signs these players for two or three times their value, and then they flop.

    To round it off, we had the most frustrating transfer saga of the summer when Cesc Fabregas wanted to leave to Barcelona. Wenger knew he wanted out; Barcelona were offering a great deal of money. Yet he wouldn't accept. That's Arsene.

    Annoyance Grade: C

8. Mario Balotelli

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    Throwing darts at the youth team. Setting off fireworks in his bathroom. Parking his car on the motorway. The training bib.

    Mario Balotelli could have a slideshow all to himself of the idiotic and strange things he's been involved with.

    We just want to watch him play. He's got the potential to be one of the all-time greats. Yet he's too busy being a moron to focus on that.

    Take the fireworks incident. The night before his Manchester City team played the biggest game of their season, the Manchester Derby at rivals Manchester United, instead of getting an early night in preparation for the big game like any sane person would, Balotelli was setting off fireworks in his own bathroom. Cue the fire service called to deal with it and a new fireworks safety campaign fronted by none other than Super Mario himself.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    This stuff has been going on longer than a few weeks. Last season, during warm-up for a European game, Mario couldn't get his training bib on. His head through an armhole, he kept trying and failing before a coach came over and got it on for him. Once on, Balotelli decided the bib wasn't for him and took it off, demanding a different-coloured one again.

    You know where this is going. He couldn't get it on again, and again a coach had to help him.

    Later in the match he got sent off for planting his foot in an opponent's chest.

    Annoyance Grade: B+

9. Tim Tebow

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    It's not all your fault, Tim Tebow.

    But you didn't help yourself.

    For starters, why do you pray in strange places? It's so strange that it inspired an Internet meme known as "Tebowing" that captured the minds of a nation for a few days, as stars like Dwight Howard got into it, and it even made an appearance on the football field as Stephen Tulloch "tebowed" Tebow after sacking him.

    Denver Broncos fans must be getting confused in the altitude—they think Tebow is a great quarterback, routinely chanting his name when the Broncos were getting beaten at the start of this season.

    Now he's been given his chance, and Tebow has shown everyone that being a Heisman Trophy winner doesn't equal being a great NFL QB.

    Then ESPN got involved on Tebow's side. That's when it got annoying. ESPN began running wall-to-wall Tebow coverage. Every story on SportsCenter was connected to Tebow. We got enough Tebow coverage to last us the season in just a couple weeks.

    Thanks, Tim.

    Annoyance Grade: B

10. LeBron James

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    Another list, another entry for LeBron James.

    Got to hand it to LeBron. Never have I seen someone go from hero to villain in so little time. (One hour-long LeBron-fest on ESPN was all it took.)

    LeBron became the man we loved to hate. The man we loved to watch fail. And fail he did. It would have been annoying if he won or lost, because his Miami Heat super-team absolutely dominated the media during the last NBA season.

    Heck, they even made regular season NBA games must-see events. No other team got its own "Index" on ESPN.com, and no other team had to endure the sheer vitriol and hate that rained down in arenas across America.

    What annoyed us was LeBron's reaction to this. From his cheesy, self-indulgent "The Decision" back in July 2010 through to his "What should I do?" Nike commercial that was effectively flipping the bird at his haters, LeBron has done plenty to deserve a spot on this list.

    He even stooped so low as to mock an ill Dirk Nowitzki just after he lost to the German's team. Not one to do things by half, he topped that by appearing to say that he didn't care what the public thought because he was the one earning millions and they were poor, common people.

    Even in losing, giving us what we all craved, he was everywhere. ESPN laid into him with unwavering brutality, mostly led by none other than Skip Bayless (surprise!).

    Annoyance Grade: A+

11. Neil Lennon

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    Now a lot of you may not know who Neil Lennon is. That's understandable.

    He's the manager of Scottish football (soccer!) club Celtic FC.

    Why is he annoying? Much like Arsene Wenger, it's never his team's fault they lost. Lennon has routinely blamed officials and opposing players for his team's failures.

    Perhaps his most annoying trait is that along with other club officials, there is a belief that Celtic are losing because of some sort of conspiracy against the club that is supposedly stopping them from winning trophies.

    Please, grow up.

    What makes it rather controversial to include Lennon in this is that he has had bullets sent to him in the mail and recently had a "viable explosive advice" intercepted on its way to his home. That is unacceptable, and despite being a devoted fan of Celtic's rival team, Glasgow Rangers, I will never wish any of this on any man, let alone someone just doing their job.

    For that reason, it's tough to get really harsh on him.

    Annoyance Grade: C-

12. ESPN

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    Yes, this is not a person. However, ESPN is incredibly annoying.

    They give blanket coverage to sports. That's good. But every game is hyped and every big game is hyped up to a level that it can only ever disappoint. They see a player getting praise and turn it into a bandwagon that never stops.

    They effectively won Derrick Rose an MVP award this past NBA season despite there being a more deserving candidate (based on performance) in the league. Basically, they chose Rose as MVP and did not stop talking about him until he won the award.

    Then Rose had a nightmare against LeBron James' Miami Heat, and ESPN turned full circle and ripped him apart.

    They turned Tim Tebow into a phenomenon, and their coverage of the Penn State scandal, however major it is, has been just a tad on the overwhelming side. We don't need a reporter and his team camped outside Joe Paterno's house on the first post-JoePa game day. We don't need to hear from just about every single player to ever play on one of his teams through the ages. The scandal is bad, but ESPN's coverage is effectively wall-to-wall.

    Their "expert" analysts are not always that good. We're looking at you, Skip Bayless and Mark Jackson.

    Annoyance Grade: A+

13. Dan Gilbert

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    It's safe to say Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert went off his head when LeBron James left.

    He must regret it now. We all do.

    His rant about James' decision to leave the Cavaliers will live long in memory. The (open) letter, written in Comic Sans (just to make it even funnier), lambasted LeBron's "Decision" TV program and labelled him a coward, a traitor and a betrayer of his fans.

    Harsh, but perhaps fair.

    Then he kind of lost it, saying that the Cavs would go on to win an NBA championship before LeBron did with his Miami Heat super-team.

    That was dumb.

    But it was expected, and we forgave him for being emotional in a letter obviously written in the heat of the moment.

    However, he's currently in the process of angering NBA fans thanks to his involvement in the ongoing NBA lockout that has already caused November to be NBA-free and could well result in the season being lost.

    What's he done? He is (or was, until news came out saying he softened his stance) part of a hardline group of owners wanting to effectively put an end to superstars joining forces like they tend to do in places like Miami, Chicago, LA and Boston. Fair enough.

    Annoyance Grade: B-

14. Colin Cowherd

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    Colin Cowherd gets on my nerves.

    He's one of those people who are never, ever wrong. Even when they are wrong and someone proves it, he's still right.

    The day after a loss, he will lay into the losing team's fans like they had something to do with it. When someone calls in with an opinion that opposes his, he'll hang up on them mid-sentence.

    Once, a caller claimed that the Kansas City Royals don't get attention on ESPN. They don't. They aren't called the Yankees or Red Sox. The caller made a valid argument that one of the Royals' pitchers set a national record.

    Cowherd's reaction?

    "Shoot yourself. Do it right now, grab an icepack and jam it in your retina."

    That's what ESPN wants on its airwaves?

    Annoyance Grade: A-

15. Richie McCaw

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    Richie McCaw is the face of New Zealand rugby—the inspirational figure that led his nation to its first Rugby World Cup victory since 1987, and on home turf too.

    Yet he's on the list.

    That's mostly because McCaw has a reputation for bending the rules. He is known for being a defensive specialist, specifically at the breakdown in play, where he is one of the best at controlling the ball. However, many have questioned how legal McCaw's play is in these situations, as he has long been accused of foul play in the breakdown and of conning the ref into thinking his actions are legitimate. 

    Not only does he "cheat," but he calls others who don't do the same "idiots." Thanks Richie.

    It takes a certain kind of person to make your own teammates want to play dirty against you. McCaw has reached this stage with colleagues such as Ali Williams and Jerry Collins, who played dirty against McCaw when playing for the Crusaders.

    Annoyance Grade: B+

16. Kwame Brown

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    Sorry Kwame, but you are bad—so bad it's annoying. How on earth you got taken as the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft will remain a mystery.

    Kwame Brown is really bad at basketball. Taken as the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NBA draft, Brown averaged 4.5 points per game in his rookie season in Washington.

    Brown picked up slightly the next season, going for 7.4 points per game in 80 games. That would be as good as it got for the consensus biggest draft bust of all time. Kwame started gathering injuries and feuding with teammates and coaches, and he wound up part of an eyebrow-raising trade that landed him on the L.A. Lakers.

    By some twist of fate, Brown took over the starting center role when Chris Mihm got injured. A rare upturn in performance saw him average 12.3 points per game for the latter part of the season and the playoffs. Were we starting to see some of the real Kwame Brown?

    Annoyingly, we weren't. Kwame regressed into the next season, performing poorly and looking disinterested and lacking focus. This came to a head in one fateful game in which he contrived to miss an open dunk and record more turnovers (seven) than rebounds (six). Good job.

    Annoyance Grade: B

17. Brett Favre

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    You know Brett Favre. We all know him. We know him too well.

    Favre was one of the best, if not the best, NFL quarterbacks to ever grace the football field. He was a consummate winner and professional.

    Then he finally started to annoy us. Let me explain.

    In 2006, it was rumored he was to retire. It even got to a stage that Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, gave him a standing ovation as he left the field. Even though he played for the arch-rival Packers team, he was given a standing O because he was "about to retire."

    Then he said he was coming back. He led the Packers back to the playoffs and announced his retirement when the Packers were beaten in the NFC championship game. Less than four months later he was writing letters to the Packers asking to let him return and play for another team.

    So he returned for the 2008-2009 season playing for the New York Jets. He retired in January 2009, telling the Jets to "go in a different direction" with the quarterback position.

    Six months later he was back again, this time in Minnesota with the Vikings. After the 2009 season ended, the retirement rumors returned, but this time he stayed with his team.

    After an injury-disrupted 2010 season, Favre finally filed his retirement papers with the NFL, retiring for the third and final time.

    Once retired, Brett Favre didn't just disappear. He was alleged to have sent explicit texts and pictures to Jets gameday host Jenn Sterger. We didn't need those pics.

    So for clogging up the rumour mill for the last half-decade, Brett Favre earns his spot.

    Annoyance Grade: A+

18. Carlos Tevez

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    Manchester United fans know Carlos Tevez. What they think of him can't be written here.

    Once a star at Old Trafford, Tevez was held in the highest light by United fans. Then he committed the ultimate betrayal—he joined local rivals Manchester City.

    If that was enough to make him hated by one set of fans, what he went on to do made him hated first by his new team's fans and eventually by the rest of the football world.

    Having spent a season with City, he started talking about wanting to return home to Argentina. He went on and on about wanting to leave to be at home with his family. He started bad-mouthing Manchester, saying he would never raise his kids there. People from Manchester got angry with him.

    Then came the moment that made Carlos Tevez a villain in everyone's eyes. Sitting with a £250,000 per week wage, he refused to come on as a substitute for Man City in their match against Bayern Munich. Tevez is an employee of the club, and his boss, the manager, told him to do something.

    He didn't. He says it was because he didn't get to play enough anymore. So why refuse the chance to actually play? Strange way of seeing things.

    Critics were queued 'round the corner. His manager was shaking with rage in his post-match interview when asked about the situation. TV analysts labelled him "the problem with modern football," a player in search of money, and only at a time when many can't even find a job that pays minimum wage.

    Annoyance Grade: A-

19. Mark Jackson

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    "Hand down, man down!"

    What does that even mean, Mark Jackson? You're supposed to be an expert with insider knowledge of the NBA, but you're too busy making up "cool" catchphrases.

    "Mamma, there goes that man."

    That's what we all said with a smile and a wave when the Golden State Warriors took him out of our NBA broadcasts.

    He was probably the biggest Kobe Bryant lover in commentary and always loved him, never once criticizing him. 

    Perhaps the Warriors' owner agrees with me and that's why he gave him the job, just to shut up this loudmouth "expert."

20. The England Football Team

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    An entire team makes it on here for a change!

    They play in the "world's best league," collect wage packets reaching into the tens of thousands per week and play alongside some of the game's best performers.

    Yet the English national team consistently fails to impress. They failed to qualify for Euro 2008 in a group that was more than winnable. They were held to 1-1 and 0-0 draws with the United States and Algeria, respectively, at the 2010 World Cup and were then demolished 4-1 by a rampant German team.

    They are much better than that, yet they don't seem to care whatsoever.

    What's annoying about them, however, isn't completely their fault.

    Whenever they destroy one of the tiny nations in a qualifying match, the analysts on British TV proclaim them the best ever, dub them favorites to win the next major tournament and so on.

    They get built up and built up by the media, who constantly sing their praises, only to fail spectacularly. Then the media—who built them up—savagely destroy them until the next round of qualifying begins, and with it the cycle restarts, while the rest of us non-English get more and more annoyed.

    Annoyance Grade: A-

21. Jim Rome

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    Jim Rome is burning. If only that were the truth.

    The reason for him being on this list is simple: He bashes people for a living.

    If you like sports, or even like a sportsperson, chances are Rome will have "burned" them in the past. He will literally burn anyone for doing anything and doesn't pull any punches in the process.

    It actually makes me sad to put him on here, but he deserves it. Sometimes his attacks are funny, but most of the time they come across as petty and make him look like a blowhard.

    Annoyance Grade: B+

22. Sepp Blatter

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    What does it take to remove someone from power?

    That's the question on the lips of many when they see Sepp Blatter still at the helm of FIFA. Despite an investigation uncovering many of his closest partners being corrupt as hell, he survived.

    His leadership was challenged, only for the challenger to funnily enough be found guilty of something and disqualified from the election process. Convenient.

    Most annoying of all is his sheer narrow-mindedness. He refuses to usher in changes that football desperately needs—financially and actively. The sport has gotten out of control thanks to the crazy amounts of money, yet FIFA seem happy to sit by and watch.

    Video technology should have been introduced to football long ago. Here we are today still relying on one man 30 yards away to determine whether a ball has crossed the goal line.

    Blatter is so stubborn that it took years of campaigning for him to even sanction the first tests of various technologies.

    Thanks, Sepp.

    Annoyance Grade: B+

23. Dick Vitale

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    Dick Vitale is just the epitome of annoying.

    He's loud, he's arrogant and he always says things that make you cringe.

    Dick has been an NCAA basketball commentator for over 30 years, and while that is a great achievement, he's annoyed most of America in the process.

    From his nonsensical and cringe-worthy catchphrases ("He's a diaper dandy" is one of the worst) to his constant praise of the Miami Heat and everything LeBron James does, he's probably one of the most annoying people in sports anywhere, ever.

    The guy took to Twitter recently during the 2010 NBA Finals and showed off how much of a LeBron James fan boy he has become, refusing to hear any criticism of his beloved "King James."

    Annoyance Grade: A++

24. Rex Ryan

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    Rex Ryan never shuts up. He needs to.

    His predictions are terrible, from his "soon to be champs" signature on the ESPN bus to his "we're out of the playoffs" prediction two weeks before his New York Jets team made the playoffs.

    Jets fans and many others love him, but he gets a little too loud and too in your face at times.

    His very public spat with Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder started off as fun and became annoying, though he did deliver this gem on the tattooed Dolphin: "I've walked over tougher guys going to a fight."

    Things took a turn for the weird when a series of "foot fetish" videos starring his wife and an anonymous cameraman (couldn't possibly be Rex, could it?) surfaced.

    That stuff was just strange.

    Annoyance Grade: D

25. Terrell Owens

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    WHAT?! Terrell Owens?! He's one of the top receivers to play in the NFL, but he's done more than his fair share of dumb stuff in his career.

    He was spotted in a throwback Cowboys jersey, a throwback from the days when the Dallas-Philly rivalry was at its most intense. More stupid.

    He called the Eagles "classless" for not celebrating his 100th career touchdown. What is this guy trying to do?

    After all of this, as if that wasn't enough, he said that the Eagles would be undefeated with Brett Favre at quarterback. He went on to "apologize" for his comments but then undid all his redeeming work by revealing in his autobiography that most of the apology was forced upon him and wasn't sincere.

    A few years down the line, he admitted to spitting in the face of an opposing player. That's downright disgusting.

    Annoyance Grade: A+

     

    If this hasn't made you realize how annoying sports is, you're next on the list.

    If you care about Twitter: @Peeeter_Owen