20 Athletes We Wish Were Better Role Models

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIINovember 9, 2012

20 Athletes We Wish Were Better Role Models

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    If you're looking for a role model, you may want to consider turning your back on the world of sports. While some guys like Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin may be great role models, these guys are absolutely awful ones.

    When Tebow spoke on Father's Day in San Diego this year he told the 26,000 people there that "athletes needs to come together and be great role models."

    Looks like these guys weren't listening.

    Let's count down the 20 worst role models in the world of sports.

20. Dwight Howard

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    Let me preface this slide by saying that Dwight Howard has some very admirable qualities, including the fact that he wants to spread the word of God and that he did not drink alcohol until this year. However, he has a few big flaws

    Howard's saga with the Magic was, frankly, annoying, and his inability to make up his mind is one of his worst traits. He was treating every change of his mind as an absolute, drawing my comparison of him to Carly Rae Jepsen.

19. Brett Favre

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    Speaking of guys who can't make up their minds....

    Everyone knows about how Brett Favre sent Jenn Sterger pictures of his...equipment (and I'm not talking about shoulder pads).

    Favre was once the epitome of a role model, but after several retirements, several returns and a few pics of his junk, we wish his career had just ended then. Now his rep is as dirty as those pictures were.

18. LeBron James

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    LeBron James is another guy who has done some great things in the community, but he's still far from perfect.

    His ridiculous 2010 offseason and The Decision made him look ridiculously arrogant, and far from a hero.

17. Pete Rose

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    Pete Rose had one heck of a career, being elected to the All-Star Game 17 times, winning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors and racking up an MLB-record 4,256 hits.

    Rose was a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but he was caught betting on baseball games and was placed on the "permanently ineligible" list and now cannot be voted in.

    "Charlie Hustle" had a serious gambling problem, which isn't exactly something you want to promote.

16. Dwyane Wade

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    LeBron James was once the most hated player on the Miami Heat, but now it might be Dwyane Wade.

    Wade has made some disgusting plays in the last few years, most of which have been cheap shots. He's a chippy player, and his fouls are getting out of hand.

15. Floyd Mayweather

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    After being arrested in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather celebrated being released from jail by betting $3 million on Michigan to beat the spread against Alabama (via USA Today). However, the truth of this story was in dispute.

    Either way, he's been to jail twice, has a big mouth, and developed a habit of making ridiculously big bets on sports (via USA Today).

    Do you really want your kids to take after him?

14. Michael Vick

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    Michael Vick has been a great player throughout his career and a horrible role model for just as long.

    As early as 2004, one of his trucks was pulled over and a large amount of marijuana (although he was not driving) was discovered. Then, in 2006, he flipped off booing fans after a loss to the New Orleans Saints. Yeah, he flipped off his own fans.

    Perhaps the funniest incident in Vick's career came in 2005. Michael Vick (or should I say Ron Mexico?) infected Sonya Elliott with herpes and was sued for it. Vick had apparently gone to clinics under the alias Ron Mexico to be tested and knew he had the disease.

    Seriously? Ron Mexico? That doesn't even sound remotely realistic.

13. Zinedine Zidane

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    Do you remember when Zinedine Zidane absolutely lost it in the 2006 FIFA World Cup?

    Italian player Marco Materazzi apparently insulted Zidane's sister, resulting in the textbook headbutt in this video.

    Zidane was a great player, but he went nuts in the biggest game of his career. He was sent off with a red card, his team lost the match and he never played professional soccer again.

    Maybe next time he should try using his words instead of his head.

12. Tiger Woods

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    Arguably the best golfer in the world, potentially one of the biggest cheaters as well. No, he didn't cheat on the course, but he sure cheated on his wife.

    While he was considered one of the best role models before the scandal broke, the list of women he cheated with is so substantial that he has to be considered one of the worst at this point.

11. Mike Tyson

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    The 'baddest man on the planet' had it all going for him at one point, but he showed just how bad he could be.

    After being released from prison, he tried to return to glory by fighting Evander Holyfield, but we all know how that went.

    Other than a criminal record and unprecedented violence in a sport that encourages violence, I wouldn't want my kids getting a face tattoo either, but that's just my opinion.

10. Luis Suarez

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    Luis Suarez is one of the best soccer players in the world and obviously has a large number of fans because of it. However, in December 2011 he set a horrible example on an international level.

    Suarez hurled racist comments at Patrice Evra of Manchester United. He was subsequently banned eight matches and fined ÂŁ40,000.

    In an age when we try to preach tolerance, having an international star undermine that attempt does a lot of damage to the young people who look up to him.

9. Allen Iverson

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    Allen Iverson has become a bit of a trainwreck over the last few years, but his failure to be a good role model dates back more than a decade.

    We've all heard his rant about practice, and really, what kind of example does that set for kids? That you don't have to practice if you're already good?

    The next big incident for A.I. came last year when he was pulled over in his Lamborghini. Apparently he didn't feel that the police officer or his car was worth his time, and he was willing to leave them both behind.

    Take the vehicle, I have 10 more. Police don't have anything else [expletive] to do except [expletive] with me...Do you know who I am?

    How's that for arrogant?

8. Tyrann Mathieu

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    Tyrann Mathieu was becoming a star in the college football world. His sensational sophomore campaign ended with him being selected as a Heisman finalist, and his nickname "Honey Badger" was incredibly popular.

    But, like so many other athletes, he lost it all due to drug abuse.

    After failing multiple drug tests, being suspended for one game and being eventually kicked off LSU's team (via ESPN), Mathieu decided to re-enroll in Baton Rouge to try to work his way back onto the team. However, he was arrested once again for drug possession, and now it would be shocking to see him play again.

    Mathieu could have been a superstar, and the type of player that kids would aspire to be. Unfortunately, now we'll never know what he could have done.

7. John Terry

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    John Terry is a good soccer player but a horrible human being. Some of the things he's done are appalling, but luckily most people know to stay away from him as a role model.

    Guylife.com gives a great recap of his antics, including his run-in with a nightclub bouncer that led to assault charges, accepting money from an undercover reporter for Chelsea's training ground tour, a four-month affair with a teammates' former girlfriend, his racial abuse of a teammate and more.

    Need I go on? I think not.

6. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is among the NBA's top players, but the Black Mamba is a horrible teammate.

    Apart from his antics off the court, he has also developed quite a few feuds on it, including yelling at teammates like Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. There's also his well-publicized feud with Shaq that warranted its own Wikipedia page and escalated to Shaq threatening Kobe.

    What's worse is that Kobe has brought his battles onto social media, indirectly addressing Smush Parker on Facebook.

    He's a great player, but he needs to learn how to play as a teammate, both on and off the court.

5. Ben Roethlisberger

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    Ben Roethlisberger has had an interesting time in the NFL. The two-time Super Bowl champ has had more ups and downs in the last seven years than most people have in their entire lives.

    After winning the Super Bowl in 2005 he was in a motorcycle accident in 2006 that fractured his face in multiple places.

    After winning it all again in 2008 he was suspended for the first six games of the season in 2010, with Roger Goodell issuing this statement to him in a letter.

    Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare.

    In your six years in the NFL, you have first thrilled and now disappointed a great many people. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity to get your life and career back on track.

    His various other escapades have made him one of the most intriguing stories in the NFL year-after-year.

4. John Daly

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    John Daly is a golfer, but he isn't even known for his play on the course, instead being recognized better for his actions off it and his wacky pants.

    Daly is a heavy drinker and gambler, saying "It's in my blood" (via Golf Today). That's an awful combination to have, especially when paired together at the same time. It's no wonder Daly's had four wives already.

3. Joey Barton

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    I swear, Joey Barton can't go a year without making headlines for the wrong reasons.

    In 2004 he put out a cigar in a trainee's eye. In 2005 he beat up a 15-year-old Everton fan. In 2006 he mooned Everton fans. In 2007 he was suspended for an altercation in training that sent a teammate to the hospital.

    In the years that follow there are always more incidents but to list them all might take hours. If you want a full description you can check it out via Daily Mail, but I'm already getting sick of thinking about him.

    Let's just move on.

2. Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)

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    Ron Artest, or Metta World Peace, is simply crazy.

    While the main reason he's on here is because of the brawl against the Indiana Pacers that resulted in him attacking fans, he's also mixed it up with Paul Pierce and elbowed James Harden in the head.

    Maybe he should try boxing or MMA instead of basketball. At least then his opponents will know it's coming.

1. Steroid Users

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    The list of steroids users in baseball is utterly ridiculous: Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and many more.

    These guys were record-breakers in the game, idols off the field and role models for young children. Unfortunately they all disgraced the game and themselves, and they (along with many more just like them) are now among the game's most hated figures.