The year of 2014 will long be remembered in the sports world. There was the retirement of Derek Jeter, the passing of Tony Gwynn and the return of LeBron James to his beloved Cleveland.

Then there was Ray Rice punching his fiancee and Adrian Peterson beating his child with a tree branch.

If Google searches are the indicator, those two ugly events will be the lasting memory, according to Caroline Sikes of the Sporting News.

Rice was the most searched athlete on Google in the United States, followed by Peterson, Richard Sherman, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Jeter comes in sixth, with Johnny Manziel, Russell Wilson, Gwynn and Tim Howard rounding out the top 10. It’s surprising Jeter was not higher on the list. Jeter is such a global icon and played in New York, giving you the perfect combination for massive search numbers.

Rice finished third globally among Google-searched athletes, only behind Columbian soccer player James Rodriguez and racecar driver Michael Schumacher. Michael Phelps landed ninth on the list, with Sherman finishing 10th. Peterson did not make the list.

What does Rice’s search popularity say about Americans? It likely says we are a curious people who needed to see the horror that took place in that elevator to believe it. Unfortunately, it was readily available to watch, his right hook connecting with brutal force every time. With Peterson, the video was thankfully not available but the stories were. At least people wanted to read these reports for themselves, instead of relying on their co-worker to explain everything while forgetting a few key details. It shows that 2014 will truly be remembered as a year dominated by NFL scandal and controversy.

[Sporting News]

About Matt Verderame

Matt Verderame, 26, is a New Yorker who went to school at the frozen tundra of SUNY Oswego. After graduating, Verderame has worked for Gannett and SB Nation among other ventures.