On Tuesday, Forbes released a list of the ten most disliked athletes in America based on the most recent Nielsen surveys.
To the surprise of no one, Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o are tied for first place.
While Armstrong may have cleared his conscious by admitting to Oprah that he did, in fact, find hope with dope, he did himself no favors. All his previous self-righteous statements and ads dedicated to his holiness and clean system make him all the more hypocritical now. No one likes a liar, but people especially dislike liars who throw everyone else under the bus to conceal their own lies. On top of all of this, he is not paying back any of the bonus money he cheated to earn. What a stellar guy.
Te’o has tried to elicit sympathy from the masses by claiming he fell victim to an online girlfriend hoax. There’s debate as to whether he played along for so long because he was embarrassed or because he wanted to use it for his own personal gain. Based on him being tied for #1 on this list, it is more than likely the majority of our perception falls under the latter. At worst, Te'o perpetuated the hoax after finding out he had been Catfished. He even asked Katie Couric, "I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12. Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”
I mean, how about verifying your girlfriend was real and not telling lies about meeting her in the first place? Te'o's "faaaaaar from it" comments on gay rumors didn't do any favors either. Too many things don't add up in this situation, and any PR campaign to get Te'o back in our good graces has so far failed. Here's the full Top 10:
T1) Lance Armstrong 15% appeal
T1) Manti Te'o 15% appeal
3) Tiger Woods 19% appeal
T4) Jay Cutler 21% appeal
T4) Metta World Peace 21% appeal
6) Alex Rodriguez 22% appeal
7) Michael Vick 23% appeal
T8) Kurt Busch 27% appeal
T8) Kobe Bryant 27% appeal
T8) Tony Romo 27% appeal
Tiger Woods has been relatively quiet since his cheating scandal ruined his marriage, reputation and possibly golf career. He lost sponsors, lost tournaments and lost our respect. There were recent rumors that Woods was trying to get back with his ex-wife, Elin, and was willing to offer her a $350 million anti-cheating clause. While this probably won't happen, it brings us right back to the situation that got him here to begin with. There appears to be a large disconnect here, though. The sports world has completely forgotten about and forgiven Tiger's trysts and is back to celebrating his every move but according to this survey it seems the greater public has not.
And then there’s poor Jay Cutler (yes, I’m biased). Forbes writes: "Seen as standoffish with teammates and the public. Fair or not, the sight of Cutler riding a stationary bike on the Bears’ sideline after pulling himself from a 2011 playoff game still lingers as a symbol of softness."
How many times do I have to tell you people, HE IS NOT SOFT? Have you not noticed how often he gets sacked? Far more than any other quarterback in the league. Yet when Lovie Smith and team doctors tried to preserve his knee, he gets lambasted? No, I do not accept this. I understand that he gives off the attitude of not caring, but as he has pointed out himself, "If I yell on the sideline, I get killed. If I don't say anything I get killed. If I walk away, I get killed. It's a no-win situation."
He has a point, people. Additionally, Cutler hasn't lied, he hasn't beaten anyone up or gone to jail, and he hasn't had any fake dead girlfriends pop up out of the woodwork. Yes, the #BlameJayCutler narrative is that strong.
Rounding out the top five is Metta World Peace. His name is ironic considering he just got suspended without pay for punching Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons in the face.
Alex Rodriguez did not get his nickname A-Roid by accident. And the latest PED rumors have driven the Yankees to refuse to disclose his whearabouts as he recovers from hip surgery. Rodriguez has been known to be an arrogant jerk, and he uses performance enhancing drugs and makes like $10 million an inning. So, yeah, I can see why he might not be seen in the most favorable of lights.
It's really hard to forget someone's past when they make money on fighting and torturing dogs – which is why Michael Vick remains on this list. While he served his time and is trying to raise awareness of animal abuse, it will take him a VERY long time to be off this list entirely. But, on the bright side, he is hated less than six other people, so he has that going for him.
Kurt Busch, Kobe Bryant, and Tony Romo finish the Top 10. The problem with Romo being on this list is that he like Jay Cutler doesn't DO anything that should warrant his inclusion. He doesn't get multiple DUIs, he doesn't beat people up, he seems like your average nice guy, so why the heck is he on this list? It might be because the Cowboys have a massive fan base looking to blame their lack of winning on the most likely culprit. While it's probably not Romo, the quarterback is always the easiest to blame. (See: Cutler, Jay)
While some atheletes are probably unfairly judged more than others, it seems like the majority ruled with this most recent list. Who's here that shouldn't be and who's missing from this list of America's least liked athletes?