Players gonna play, and haters gonna hate; it is a simple mantra that is oh-so true. Being a sports star isn't all it is cracked up to be, especially when there are overzealous fans watching your every move.There are autographs, media interviews and fans that want to snap selfies at every turn. Not all athletes can handle their fans well, and some have become known for blowing off fans. There are athletes that want to keep their fans at an arm's length, which is understandable to some extent.
Some sports stars like, Tom Brady, have become famous for charging extortionate amounts for their autograph. Good luck running into Brady on the street and asking for his signature, because that won't happen unless you have got some cash to spare. In the case of Barry Bonds, an athlete that had a hot and cold relationship with fans, it was just an act to entertain baseball fans. For others like the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, an argument with a fan could be due to heavy drinking and a simple misunderstanding.
Regardless, there are some athletes and sports stars you should never approach in public. If you do, don't say you weren't warned. As the old saying goes, never meet your heroes, because they will always let you down.
15 Tiger Woods
It is hard being Tiger Woods. The 14-time major winner has been all over the news in the last seven years thanks to his large number of mistresses. There are numerous stories of fans with outstretched arms, pen in hand, asking for Woods' autograph, only for the golfer to ignore them. The good news is, fans can get Woods' signature at PGA events. However, they better be ready to get hit in the head by one of Woods' errant tee shots. At the 2014 World Golf Championships, Woods hit a shot that drilled a fan in the head. Blood gushing from the man's cranium, Woods looked annoyed as he wrote his name on a golf glove and gave it to the injured spectator. The fan had travelled all the way from Germany to see Woods play and left with quite the souvenir.
14 Floyd Mayweather
He may be "money", but Floyd Mayweather isn't an athlete you should approach in public. Mayweather has been known to ignore his fans. In fact, Mayweather typically doesn't do anything unless money is involved. Autographs, photos, you name it! Fans usually have to drum up some cash to get the 50-0 boxer to acknowledge them. In March 2016, Mayweather nearly got into a fight with a fan during his vacation. Surrounded by an entourage of 20 mean looking dudes, whose only job was to keep fans away from Mayweather, the fighter tried to relax on the beach. When a fan finally got near him and asked to get a picture together, Mayweather threatened to beat him up and cursed at the fan. Seems strange when most of the time Mayweather is begging for people to notice him.
13 CM Punk
CM Punk was a very good heel in the WWE who often lived the gimmick outside the ring. Whether it was punching fans in the stands at shows, using homophobic slurs directed at crowd members or blowing up on families at restaurants, Punk did it. On an episode of Colt Cabana's Art of Wrestling podcast, Punk talked about a time when a father and son approached him in a restaurant after a show. Asked for an autograph, Punk ignored the duo and kept eating. After asking him again for an autograph, Punk blew up on the two, driving them from the eatery. Of course, being a heel on and off screen is great; but even legends like Ric Flair made time for people at their height of popularity.
12 Jordan Spieth
Golfer Jordan Spieth won't give fans an autograph, if he is suspicious they will immediately sell it. He regularly denies autograph hunters in public and on the golf course. It is a semi-justifiable reason to say 'no' to fans. Spieth has also denied fans autographs at golf events for running into, shoving or smashing against children who are also attempting to get his signature. He has taken a stand against 'greedy,' adult golfs fans who are only looking for self-gratification. In addition, Spieth takes exception to golf fans and professional autograph seekers using profanity around kids. Spieth has called these types of fans 'scum' in interviews. While Spieth may not always be willing to give his signature, at least he is honest about why he doesn't. He also isn't charging kids to scribble his name across a photo.
11 Cam Newton
Cam Newton is the biggest media star the Carolina Panthers have ever had, so it makes some sense to why he doesn't sign autographs every time he is asked. During NFL preseason, he is regularly bombarded by fans, especially grown men who think it's their right to get his signature. In July 2012, Newton was highly criticized for charging fans a minimum of $125 to sign a picture at an autograph session. The price went up depending on the item that received his John Hancock (football, jersey, etc). After the fallout from the incident, Newton got some great PR in 2014 when he gave a wheelchair bound fan a pair of his autographed cleats following practice. Perhaps Newton just needs to be caught on the right day, or perhaps it is the promoters from autograph and sports memorabilia shows that give him a bad name to most fans.
10 Ric Flair
Ric Flair's career, and life, have been in free fall for some time. Thirty years ago, Flair was the life of the party. In the last few years, there have been stories about Flair verbally abusing fans at bars around the United States. In one famous incident recounted by Tom Robinson on the 6:05 Superpodcast, the two were drinking at a bar after an episode of Raw in December 2015. Both men were having a good time until Robinson mentioned WWE women's star Alicia Fox. A drunken Flair was upset that Robinson called her 'hot' and then went crazy on Robinson. Author and podcast host Jeff Bowdren booked Flair for an event in which fans got to eat dinner with the former world champion and ask him about his career. In Bowdren's words, Flair sat down for dinner, looked at his watch, and said, "you've got two hours." As they say, never meet your heroes.
9 Joey Barton
Some people may not know the name Joey Barton, which is a good thing. The English soccer player has played for some big teams, including Manchester City, Newcastle United and Marseille. But trouble has never been far behind him. In one incident during his Manchester City time, he beat up teammate Ousmane Dabo during training. If that wasn't bad enough, Barton put out his lit cigar in the eye of teammate James Tandy during Manchester City's Christmas party. While playing for Newcastle, he was banned from entering the United State during a preseason tour due to his past crimes. There are countless other incidents he has started, and he regularly goes after fans that question his ridiculous, faux-educated social media posts. Few have had anything good to say about the player from public meetings. Barton is currently banned from playing soccer in England after being found guilty of betting on soccer matches.
8 Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest, may be friends with the fan he once attacked in Detroit, but that doesn't mean you should approach him on the street. World Peace's incident with Ben Wallace that led to a fan being attacked cost the player around $5 million in salary. It also got him suspended for a total of 86 games. In 2007, a woman accused World Peace of assaulting her inside his Sacramento home. He also prevented her from leaving or calling 9-1-1. In 2016, World Peace appeared in a documentary outlining his mental health issues. He has also worked with PETA on campaigns to report animal abuse. However, based on World Peace's past indiscretions, it is best fans keep their distance.
7 Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco was a top MLB home run hitter during his career, but that only made him a target for fan abuse during road trips. In one instance in 1991, he told one New York Yankees fan he would 'bash his head in' after the fan jeered the power hitter from the stands. Canseco also made enemies amongst the media, segregating reporters into those he knew and didn't know after Oakland games. The ones he didn't know were quickly booted from the locker room. In 2011, after leaving a Hollywood nightclub, Canseco was followed by fans and paparazzi. The player stopped to sign an autograph, which was nice. Although he told the autograph seeker he wouldn't take a photo with him, saying, 'I'm going to sign these, and then we are done!" Seconds later, Canseco went off on a fan who heckled him from behind. It was classic Canseco.
6 Tie Domi
Tie Domi was hated by everyone from fans to teammates during his NHL career. An enforcer that was ready to fight at a moment's notice, Domi's most famous incident came in 2001. Of course, it came against the insane fans of the Philadelphia Flyers. Sitting in the penalty box, fans pelted Domi with objects until the Maple Leafs player squirted water at those seated behind the glass. An enraged, possibly alcohol fuelled fan ran toward the penalty box and fell inside it. There, his head met several punches from Domi until the two were separated. In 2012, he stole a video camera from Team Sweden's video coach at an under-18 tournament. The coach, Adam Andersson, was doing a completely legal practice of filming Canada's training session. Domi took it when Andersson wasn't around, and objected to his son being recorded ahead of their game. He did return it later.
5 Tom Brady
Tom Brady has won five Super Bowls and has been called the greatest quarterback of all-time. He has broken countless records and made enormous sums of money. But Brady has done several autograph shows for his large number of fans. However, you better be a dedicated Brady supporter or have some extra cash laying around to get his signature. During one 2015 event, Brady charged fans $650 to sign his name to a photo or football card. Want it personalized? That was $300 extra, and your name couldn't exceed 20 letters. Some fans have tried to send items directly to Brady through the Patriots. Those fans have received packages back from the team without Brady's signature. What they get back, however, is a stock letter on Patriots letterhead stating why your item is unsigned. One fan, who posted his video on YouTube, got a promotional flyer to hire the team's mascot, Pat, for a party.
4 Michael Jordan
At one time, Michael Jordan was the biggest athlete on Earth, at least from a North American sports perspective. He could do no wrong, including walking away from his beloved sport to play baseball for two years. He even had a gambling problem and allegedly fathered children out of wedlock and ignored those mothers' requests for financial support. But the public still loved him. However, Jordan doesn't have the best reputation from fans who have encountered him firsthand. Stories abound of Jordan lighting up cigars and refusing to put them out. Often, his response to people's requests for him to put out his cigars is "Do you know who I am?" Jordan has been known to blow off fans for picture and autograph requests as well. This isn't just limited to average Joes. Jordan was approached by fan and hip-hop artist Chamillionare for a picture. Jordan refused unless the rapper paid him $15,000. What a guy!
3 Albert Belle
Albert Belle was a big, bruising left fielder for the Cleveland Indians during the club's successful period of the '90s. However, Belle wasn't the easiest player for fans or media access. Much of that has been put down to his drive on the field. Belle made headlines in 1994 when he used a corked bat in a baseball game and was caught. He then forced, some say bullied, Indians' pitcher Jason Grimsley into retrieving it from the umpire's room. The pitcher had to climb through the ceiling of Comiskey Park to do it, ala Mission Impossible. Nicknamed "Mr Freeze", a name he received for smashing the clubhouse's thermostat after a player turned it above 60 degrees, Belle had quite the chilly personality. In 1991, Belle threw a baseball at a fan sitting in the outfield stands at Cleveland Stadium. The ball hit the fan in the chest. The fan had been on Belle the entire game and was harassing Belle about his recent alcohol rehab stint. Belle never apologized for hitting the fan, and remained nuts for the remainder of his career, according to teammates and the media.
2 Mauro Icardi
Few, if any, professional athletes threaten to kill their own fans. However, Argentinian soccer player Mauro Icardi is an exception. The striker plays for Italian team Inter Milan and is a bona fide star for the club. Icardi was made team captain at 22-years old, and was looked at by fans as one of them. That soon came to an end when Icardi got into an argument with Inter's ultras – the hardcore fan group of the team. Icardi's response to the incident was to publicly state he would fly criminals he grew up with in Argentina to Italy who "would kill the ultras on the spot". The hate between the player and the ultras continued, and many have steered clear of Icardi since. While the fans don't have a great relationship with Icardi, teammates don't either. Icardi stole former teammate Maxi Lopez's wife, Wanda, away from him. The Inter star is now the step-father to Lopez's three children.
1 Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds had a long running reputation as a real jerk to fans. However, in a 2016 article in the Miami Herald, Bonds claimed is jerk persona was just an act during his baseball career. What better way to show dedicated fans you love them than to be a pretend jerk, right? According to Bonds, it was the fans who wanted him to act the way he did. From walking past kids wanting autographs to having unpleasant exchanges with fans, Bonds created a character for the entertainment of fans. In 2005, former White Sox player Ron Kittle revealed an incident he had with Bonds before a San Francisco Giants game in 1993. Kittle approached Bonds about signing some jersey to be auctioned off for a cancer charity. According to Kittle's book, Bonds responded by saying, "I don't sign for white people."
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