30 Athletes and Coaches Giving the Middle Finger
You have probably heard that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler recently had a less-than-friendly run in with the paparazzi. The paps spotted the always-cranky Cutler rocking his finest sweats and walking his teeny little dog. The cranky QB was clearly displeased and shot back with the bird—from several different angles.
Cutler is undoubtedly one of the least pleasant people in professional sports, so this whole event wasn't much of a surprise. Sure, it was awesome, but it's also expected. And not just from Cutler—athletes and coaches are busted giving the one-finger salute on the regular.
Sometimes it's done out of anger, but just as often it's done out of mischievous fun to elicit some cheap laughs. Either way, thanks to all the feigned outrage from the morality police, it grabs a few headlines every time it happens.
Feigned outrage be dammed, here are 30 athletes and coaches who are willing to let their middle fingers fly.
30. Larry Csonka
Even though he explained himself and apologized for the incident in 2007, Dolphin great Larry Csonka probably felt like a kid on Christmas when his middle finger slipped by the suits and ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1972.
How serious was he: Clearly, he was just having a bit of fun.
29. Blake Griffin
In March 2009, a pre-draft Blake Griffin made some headlines after this picture of him flipping off the camera in the company of three hotties hit the interwebs.
How serious was he: Just a college kid having a little fun.
28. Jose Canseco
I'm not even sure what the explanation behind this photo of Jose Canseco flipping off the camera, but it's probably one of the sanest things I've ever seen him do. So, let's just applaud him and move on.
How serious was he: He probably doesn't even know; how should I?
27. Joe Nedney
In October 2007, 49ers kicker Joe Nedney sent a kickoff out of bounds and the fans in the stands let him hear about it. Nedney didn't take well to the boos and responded by shooting them the bird.
How serious was he: He was probably pretty serious, but the behind-the-back-bird doesn't really pull much weight.
26. Kobe Bryant
I'm pretty sure this incident happened in 2009, but I have no idea if Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was doing this on purpose. My gut tells me the Black Mamba never goes off script.
How serious was he: Even if it wasn't an accident, I doubt it was a mean-spirited gesture.
25. Rex Ryan
First: Try to imagine Giants coach Tom Coughlin at an MMA event. Now: Try to imagine Giants coach Tom Coughlin shooting someone the finger who spotted him at an MMA event. You can't, can you? Oh my, it must be tough to be a Jets fan.
How serious was he: How serious is Rex Ryan, ever? He's a serious spectacle.
24. Byung-Hyun Kim
Way back in 2003, (then) Red Sox pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim was seriously booed by fans after pitching in the postseason, despite being in pain. He didn't take kindly to the home-crowd boos and shot back with the finger.
How serious was he: He was obviously peeved, but at least he shot them the bird and a smirk.
23. Pat Burrell
In March 2007, the Phillies' Pat Burrell knocked a Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch deep into the bleachers and when he got back to the dugout, he directed this gesture at former manager Terry Francona.
How serious was he: Clearly no love lost between Burrell and Francona, but again, it's delivered with a smile. A smile takes the edge off.
22. Virat Kohli
In January 2012, cricketer Virat Kohli shot the bird to the crowd on hand at the match between Australia and Indian at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Kohli pleaded guilty to the offense and was docked 50 percent of his match fee.
How serious was he: He doesn't look concerned in the slightest about his surroundings, but he was probably seriously pissed about the fine he received.
21. Andrew Ference
In April 2011, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was fined $2,500 for the on-ice gesture he shot the crowd at the Bell Centre. Ference apologized, but insisted that his finger just got caught while putting his fist in the air.
How serious was he: He's got some serious balls to concoct a story like that and expect the public to believe it. Just own it, dude.
20. Ben Cousins
In June 2009, Ben Cousins of the AFL was fined $5,000 for this "tongue-in-cheek" gesture after a game in Perth, Australia. Naturally, he apologized, but maintained it was done in jest—people just misunderstood his facial expressions.
How serious was he: Seriously! Just own it, fellas. If you're gonna shoot someone the finger, just admit it and move on.
19. Jamaal Franklin
In March 2012, San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin adamantly denied flipping the bird to the referee during a game.
The next day he apologized for the incident, explaining that he did shoot the finger to someone—but it wasn't a ref.
How serious was he: Actually, some people doubted his story, but I actually found it pretty believable.
18. Chris Gardocki
In 2002, (then) Browns punter Chris Gardocki was caught on live television giving the finger to (then) Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Actually, he was caught doing it twice, which earned him a $5,000 fine from the NFL.
How serious was he: As serious as a punter trying to play the big man against the Pittsburgh Steelers can be.
17. Sean Williams
In 2008, Nets rookie Sean Williams gave the one-finger salute on live television after the NBA's Rookie Sophomore game during All-Star weekend.
How serious was he: Who knows? Rookies are always doing dumb things.
16. Kerry Wood
In June 2008, during a game between the White Sox and Cubs, the FOX cameraman panned sporadically to the Cubs dugout and caught Kerry Wood giving the double-fisted fingers to someone on the field.
How serious was he: A double-fisted bird flipping is about as serious as it gets.
15. A.J. Hawk
In October 2011, Packers linebacker AJ Hawk was busted flipping off his own sideline during a game against the Rams.
The incident was obviously caught on camera, but Hawk apologized and insisted it was just an inside running joke with a couple of his teammates.
How serious was he: Hawk refused to identify the teammates or shed further light on the joke. So it's possible that it was just a cover story for some dissension in the ranks?
14. Didier Drogba
In November 2008, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba found himself in some seriously hot water after chucking a coin at fans in the stands and then following it up with a dramatic display of his middle finger.
How serious was he: Any kind of hostile altercation with fans carries an automatic three-game ban, so he had to be pretty serious if he was willing to face that serious a consequence.
13. Jake Plummer
Retired quarterback Jake Plummer's time in a Broncos uniform wasn't exactly peaceful and harmonious.
In 2004, Plummer reacted to the ever-present home-crowd booing him by shooting them the casual, behind-the-back-bird. Something tells me that it wasn't as casual as it looked.
How serious was he: Very. Three years later, Plummer chose to retire rather than let the Broncos trade him—many in the media called it his "final finger" to the franchise.
12. Jay Bruce
In April 2010, Reds player Jay Bruce pulled the double-fisted finger out of his bag of tricks. Bruce was flipping off his own dugout after breaking his painful 0-for-17 slump.
How serious was he: He was just messing around with teammates who had obviously been ribbing him mercilessly.
11. Charles Barkley
In May 2011, the legendary Charles Barkley once again proved that he is not a role model by responding to Heat fans' "Barkley sucks" chants with his middle finger. Barkley has always had a way with words.
How serious was he: He was seriously awesome, that much I know for sure.
10. Chuck Cecil
In October 2010, Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was displeased with an encroachment penalty called on his defense. He expressed his displeasure by flipping the bird to the "offending" official and the incident was, of course, caught on live television.
How serious was he: He looks pretty serious. He was probably seriously regretting the decision when he got a $40,000 bill from NFL commish Roger Goodell.
9. Brittney Palmer
The adorable Brittney Palmer is one of UFC's finest ring girls. Palmer is also an accomplished artist and, apparently, has a bit of an edge to her—judging by this awesome photo I stumbled across on her website recently.
How serious was she: No idea. In my book, the finger isn't all that edgy, but the angry face is convincing.
8. Jeff Allen
In early 2009, Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen was suspended for two games after flipping off Maryland fans during a game. Allen was suspended the season before for intentionally bumping a game official.
How serious was he: A dude who will hit a referee is probably always serious about this kind of stuff.
7. Jack McDowell
In 1995, pitcher Jack McDowell played his only season with the Yankees. McDowell was relatively successful with the Yanks, but his flipping the bird to the hometown fans is what he's best remembered for in New York.
How serious was he: McDowell was no stranger to controversy during his time in the major leagues; this kinda stuff was his MO.
6. Andre Ethier
In May 2011, the Dodgers' Andre Ethier was caught flashing a matching pair of middle fingers during batting practice. When questioned about the incident, Ethier attempted to skirt the issue before ultimately apologizing for the "dumb incident."
How serious was he: Seems like he was just offing around and people kind of freaked out about it. It's just a finger, folks.
5. Glen Davis
In March 2012, Magic forward Glen Davis was fined a cool $35,000 for what the NBA deemed an "obscene gesture." Davis insisted he wasn't flipping off anyone, he was simply trying to get blood off his finger.
How serious was he: The $35,000 by the NBA was a joke and so was Davis' ridiculous explanation.
4. Michael Vick
After a very one-sided loss to the Saints in 2006, Falcons quarterback Michael Vick definitely let his frustration with the booing home crowd get the better of him.
As he headed to the locker room, Vick shot the fans a middle finger on his left hand and then followed it up with the middle finger on his right hand. The whole incident was caught on camera.
How serious was he: Pretty serious. Mike isn't the only Vick with anger issues, but this incident cost him $20,000.
3. Jay Cutler
In May 2012, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was spotted by the paparazzi with his fiancee Kristin Cavallari and he clearly wasn't ready for his close up.
Cutler got (what looks to be) downright belligerent with the paps and created a much bigger story than would have existed otherwise.
How serious was he: Very. Cutler has never displayed even the slightest semblance of a sense of humor.
2. Milton Bradley
In August 2010, the Mariners resident psychopath Milton Bradley surprised absolutely nobody when he was caught on camera flicking off Rangers fans during an away game. Bradley had played a season for the Rangers—one of eight teams he played for in his 10-year career.
How serious was he: Serious as a heart attack. Fans were just lucky he didn't have some kind of weapon on hand, it could have been a much uglier scene.
1. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar's career in MMA was brief, but memorable. Unfortunately for Brock, it was memorable for mostly the wrong reasons and marred by long absences from the cage as he battled an intestinal disorder.
The fact that the highlight of his career is flipping off the crowd after winning a fight in 2009, pretty much says it all.
How serious was he: He looks pretty damn serious—I certainly wouldn't boo him to his face.