The stereotype that the average athlete isn't the brightest bulb in the box is widely perpetuated throughout the sports world. In many cases, this stereotype persists because of stupid comments made by certain athletes. Luckily for them, many sports fans often turn a blind eye to the idiotic antics off the field as long as their team gets the "W". However, there are many professional athletes who have said such incredibly idiotic statements that even their outstanding accomplishments are left tarnished and their respect from the fans lost.
Let's be honest, to many sports fans, these athletes are larger than life and can do no wrong, so it's often a shock when these athletes say something stupid. It's not uncommon for sports fans to put athletes on a pedestal and hold them to an unrealistic standard on the field and off. It stands to reason that some of these athletes are vastly different people than what fans have conceived in their mind. However, failing to meet the unfair expectations of the fans is one thing, uttering completely foolish statements that leaves even the most average person wondering "What were they thinking?" is another thing altogether.
There are outside factors that are bigger than the sport itself. As a high paid athlete, a role model to a younger generation and representative of the team they play for, athletes need to be aware of these factors and watch what they say. The consequences for their comments can be dire, from losses of their sponsors, their job or their respect. Athletes don't want their accomplishments clouded behind controversial comments, but for some athletes that has already happened. Here is a list of 15 stupid statements said by athletes that made fans lose all respect for them.
15 Kyrie Irving: "The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat."
It’s a shame when fans think of Kyrie Irving they can’t just think of his body of work as a great basketball player for the Boston Celtics. It would nice if they could just think of his Gold medals in the Olympics and FIBA Basketball World Cup. Unfortunately, for the Rookie of the Year, a cloud of stupidity hangs over him, blanketing his work.
During a podcast, Irving perpetuated the (false) position that the Earth is not round. “This is not even a conspiracy theory...The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat.” This is coming from someone who supposedly went took classes at Duke.
Now, Irving seems like a nice enough guy, and he’s a great athlete. He’s a four time all-star, won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers and he represented the United States during the Olympics. Still, someone who doesn’t believe in basic science loses a lot of respect.
14 Allen Iverson: "We talkin' about practice."
Former basketball player Allen Iverson has a nice NBA career under his belt. He is seventh on the list of highest regular season scoring average and has the second highest average in playoff for his career, second only to Michael Jordan. Most notable, however, is Iverson's alleged conflicts with his coaches in the past.
Despite Iverson’s long list of NBA accomplishments, Iverson became a sound byte sensation after the favored "Sixers," a season after making it to the finals the year before, lost in the first round of the Playoffs. Iverson’s coach, Larry Brown, criticized him for missing practices leading Iverson to say, “We're sitting here, I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice.” The word "practice" was actually said fourteen times during his tirade. While his rant was comical, it was also very odd, and Iverson never addressed the issue which was his coach's initial criticism. Sorry, Allen, if you'd show up to practice we wouldn't have to talk about it.
13 Roger Clemens. "I think he 'misremembers.'"
Roger Clemens had a career for the ages. He dominated with the Yankees and then after a brief retirement returned to form and dominated with the Astros. Clemens had a trip to Cooperstown in the bag and was to go down as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.
The trip to Cooperstown hit a roadblock when Clemens became accused of using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Clemens' teammate and friend, Andy Pettitte, testified that their trainer, Bryan McNamee, injected Pettitte with human growth hormone, or HGH, and that Clemens had told Pettitte that he had been injected with HGH as well. Clemens denied the claim saying Pettitte “misremembered.”
No, Roger, I don’t think he “misremembers.” In fact, McNamee's testimony matched up with Pettitte's perfectly.Unlike Clemens’ story there are no inconsistencies in Pettitte’s recollection of events. It's unlikely both Pettitte and McNamee "misremembered" the same event.
12 Adrian Peterson: "It's like modern-day slavery, you know?"
Adrian Peterson is a hall of fame worthy NFL running back, receiving the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2012 and Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, setting the record for most yards in a season by a rookie. With all of Peterson’s success in the NFL and the lofty salary owners have bestowed on him, one would think he’d have nothing but positive things to say about the league.
During the NFL’s labor disputes, rumors of a lockout were looking more realistic as the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners were in a deadlock Peterson chimed in saying the NFL is like “modern-day slavery.” Yikes! I get it. The NFL owners can be greedy, but let's be honest, so can the players. The NFL is a business and clearly both sides are looking out for themselves. Still, comparing the negotiations to slavery is the most absurd comparison ever uttered. Did slaves ever receive $96 million contracts like Adrian Peterson has? When it’s all said and done, Peterson is going to have a hall of fame career, millions of dollars and the NFL to thank for it. Doesn't sound like "slavery" in any sense of the word.
11 John McEnroe: "If (Serena Williams) played the men's circuit she'd be like 700 in the world."
John McEnroe is arguably one of, if not the, best Tennis players of all time. His titles speak for themselves, winning four US Open Titles and Three Wimbledons. McEnroe finished his career with 77 singles and 78 doubles titles. It’s hard to argue that McEnroe is one of the greatest, but unfortunately he doesn’t think too highly of anyone else, especially if they are a woman.
McEnroe stated he would rank Serena Williams 700th in the world if ranked with men. Really? 700th? The argument could be made that Men’s Tennis and Women’s Tennis are totally different sports. So, maybe McEnroe could make the argument that there are one or two men better than Serena, but to say that there are 700 men better at Tennis than Serena Williams is absolutely ridiculous. McEnroe should be highly knowledgeable about the sport, but his short selling of Serena means he's either sexist or knows nothing about Tennis.
10 Alex Rodriguez: "I knew we weren't taking tic-tacs."
Few baseball players have ever had the start or career that Alex Rodriguez has had. The highly sought after A-Rod was the first draft pick of the Seattle Mariners and finished second in the AL MVP Award during his first full season with the Mariners. Rodriguez won the MVP award three times during his career and became the highest paid baseball player ever with the Texas Rangers and then broke the bank again with the Yankees.
Unfortunately, Alex Rodriguez’s career is one of many in baseball ridden with steroid scandals. After initially flat out denying that he took steroids on 60 Minutes, Rodriguez later had to admit he used steroids from 2001-2003 on ESPN, citing huge pressure on him to perform. He was supposedly taking the substance in the Dominican Republic with his cousin saying he didn't think they were taking steroids but knew "we weren't taking tic-tacs." You think? It bad enough you cheat the game but then to pretend like you didn’t know what you were putting in your body is asinine. Later, Rodriguez was named in the Biogenesis baseball scandal and was suspended for the entire 2014 season. Apparently, the Biogenesis of America health clinic wasn't selling breath mints either. Shocker.
9 Mark McGwire: "I'm not here to talk about the past."
Mark McGwire rejuvenated sports fans’ excitement in baseball once again during the home run race against Sammy Sosa. Fans returned to baseball to see when or if Roger Marris’ single season home run record would be broken. McGwire would do just that and then some, finishing 1998 with 70 home runs. Big Mac finished his career with 583 home runs, fifth all-time.
Unfortunately, all the home runs were all for naught. McGwire became a central figure during the steroid scandal following the release of Jose Canseco’s book, Juiced, in which Canseco claimed McGwire used steroids and was injected by Canseco himself. When McGwire testified in front of a congressional hearing, McGwire said "I'm not here to talk about the past.” McGwire denied steroid use in the past but in front of a congressional committee he found himself in a position where he couldn't lie or tell the truth. So, he essentially refused to answer. That would have been fine except Big Mac had to finally admit to cheating in 2010 when he became the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Considering how much everyone loved the Home Run Chase, if McGwire would have "talked about the past" right then and there more fans may have forgiven him. Now, all anyone can remember is his stupid comment.
8 Ryan Lochte: "I over-exaggerated that story."
Ryan Lochte is a great Olympic swimmer, winning six gold, three silver and three bronze medals for Team USA making him the second most decorated American swimmer behind Michael Phelps. With Lochte gaining popularity and success fans begin to realize two things about Lochte: that he was a great swimmer and that he was kind of dumb. As interviews have shown, Lochte is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed, but so what? So what if Ryan Lochte defines himself as “Ryan Lochte,” as long as he’s a good person and represents the United States honorably. Well, as it turns out, he can’t even do that.
During the 2016 Olympics, Lochte falsely claimed that he and three others were pulled over and robbed at gunpoint by men wearing police badges. However, what really happened was Lochte and the athletes vandalized a gas station restroom and fled the scene after being confronted by security. Lochte says he was drunk and may have “over-exaggerated” the story. Firstly, how does one “over-exaggerate” as opposed to simply "exaggerate"? In any event, Lochte’s use of the word prevents him from having to call his story what it is. A lie. Clearly, talking is not Lochte’s strong suit. To hear Lochte attempt to talk his way out of his fabricated story was like taking a power drill to the temple. Although, that may be "over-exaggerating."
7 Terrell Owens: "That's my quarterback."
Terrell Owens gets respect for being a great NFL receiver, but his cockiness and off the field antics are were annoying. To his credit, T.O. could back his arrogance up. When Owens signed with the Cowboys, he seemed like a perfect fit for Tony Romo.
However, during a press conference, after a heart-breaking 21-17 loss to the Giants, criticism of the Cowboy’s quarterback once again circulated. While there’s no crying in baseball, that rule apparently doesn’t apply in the NFL. T.O. defended Romo with a tearful, press conference sobbing “That's my teammate! That's my quarterback!” Props to T.O. for defending "his quarterback" but was the sobbing really necessary? This isn’t necessarily a case of Owens saying something stupid. It's more of a case of how he said it that loses respect points. There have been far worse, more crushing defeats by better teams and no one cried at their press conference. This teary-eyed response is either just more prima donna antics from T.O., or he really needs to just man-up.
6 Hulk Hogan: (The racist rant)
Hulk Hogan is one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time and a hero to millions. His character inspired fans to train, say their prayers and take their vitamins. Unfortunately, his on-screen character is a far cry from the real life Terry Bollea. Racist comments made by Hogan in 2008 regarding his daughter dating African-American men leaked to the public. Blatant usage of the n-word was heard throughout the leaked audio. The racial comments eroded most, if not all, of Hogan’s reputation and his interview on Good Morning America didn't help.
Hogan claims the n-word was used very loosely among his friends and neighbors and was just "part of the culture and the environment" at the time. Firstly, this claim was denied by his neighbors, and secondly, the use of the N-word isn't even the whole issue. The problem is what he was saying about African Americans as well. The racist rant is a painful memory for fans who want to remember Hulk as a "real American" not a hate spewing racist.
5 Lance Armstrong: "Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary evidence."
Lance Armstrong should have been an inspiration to everyone. He’s won the Tour de France a record seven times and even survived cancer. However, throughout his career, Armstrong was plagued with performance enhancing drug accusations. Armstrong vehemently denied these allegations suing and counter-suing anyone that suggested otherwise. He’s made comments like, “Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues..." and "I will simply restate what I have said many times: 'I have never taken performance enhancing drugs'” and “Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary evidence.”
Well, such direct rebuffs from Armstrong, fans started to wonder if maybe he was telling the truth. Spoiler alert! He wasn’t. He spent almost his whole career battling accusations which he later had to admit were true. He cheated throughout his career and blatantly lied to defend it. Turns out the accusations weren’t “extraordinary” after all.
4 Ryan Braun “This is B.S. I’m completely innocent.”
Ryan Braun was a prime example of a five-tool player. He could hit, throw and play excellent defense. He even won an MVP award during the 2011 season. Coincidentally, after his best season, Ryan Braun was accused of testing positive for testosterone. During his appeal, Braun told Tom Haudricourt in a text message saying, “This is all B.S. I’m completely innocent.”
Like all cheaters, Braun was adamant about his innocence and even won his appeal on a technicality. Then in 2013, Braun’s name came up in the Biogenesis scandal. Amazingly, Braun lied again saying “I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with (Anthony) Bosch.” Unfortunately, for Braun, his name appeared in the clinic's documents indicating otherwise. Maybe Braun just doesn’t know the meaning of the word “innocent” but it’s hard to respect a guy who cheats and then blatantly lies about it.
3 Shaquille O'Neal: “Period. P-U-R-E-U-D. Period."
This may come as a shock, but Shaq isn’t the smartest man on the planet. Now, there are plenty of athletes that aren’t geniuses either, but Shaq takes the stupid to a new level. During a press conference, Shaq tried to make a point to reporters about his amazing abilities. Apparently, spelling isn't one of them. Shaq told reporters, "The people that know me, they know what time it is, and they know what The Diesel is coming to do. Period. P-U-R-E-U-D. Period.” Hmm... spell check... No, that's not right.
Honestly, there’s a number of memorable dumb Shaq quotes but this one takes the cake. Shaq deserves all the credit for his legendary NBA career, but his great career may actually be dwarfed in comparison to his infamous quotes.
2 Lavar Ball: "I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one."
LaVar Ball has one of the biggest mouths in the world of basketball. The funny thing is no one even knew who LaVar Ball was until he started making incredibly stupid comments about himself and Lonzo Ball, his son who plays for the L.A. Lakers. LaVar has said that his son, whose career is just starting, is better than Stephen Curry. Even more insane was his comment during an interview on USA Today stating, "Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one."
Huh? Unfortunately for Ball, his college career doesn't back that up. It's a fact the LaVar Ball played in college, but he averaged only 2.2 points per game. Jordan, on the other hand, averaged 13.5, 19.6 and 20 points per game during his college years. Judging from the stats, LaVar Ball would literally need to kill Michael Jordan to even have a shot at beating him one-on-one, and he'd still probably lose.
1 Ndamukong Suh: (cold feet)
If one were to look up the dirtiest NFL player you’d see a pic of Ndamukong Suh. If one were to look up dumbest players in the NFL you’d also see a picture of Ndamukong Suh. In a game against the Packers, Aaron Rogers went down, and it appeared Suh stepped on Roger’s leg and the stood on it trying to cause an injury. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Suh denies this saying his feet were so cold he couldn’t tell the difference between the ground and Rodgers' leg. That would make sense if the ground wasn’t flat and Rodgers' leg was round. Sorry, Suh, you could be a great respectable player but your dirty plays and laughable excuses only make you a shoe-in for the Hall of Shame.