Being placed on a pedestal can seem to magnify every little act you do and exploit your behavior for either the good or the bad. For all we know, these athletes could be the exact opposite of what we saw on our phones and on television, but unfortunately for them, this is all we see.
Nevertheless, these athletes haven't been doing themselves any favors when trying to appeal to the mass media. Some of them are just plain mean. And others, not only have a bad attitude, but love to get themselves into trouble. Whether it’s with their mouths or their social media pages, these athletes are some of the biggest jerks in the sports world.
They come into contact with so many people during their day-to-day lives, so it’s hard to say how they are in actual, real life. But, when we watch them interacting with the referees or the coaches, it is pretty plain for us to see their attitudes, at least, while they’re suited up. It’s only fair to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they're not like that most of them. But unfortunately, in some cases, we’re sad to admit that it’s true — and there are countless testimonies to attribute to the fact that these athletes sometimes just have too big of a head planted on their shoulders.
Unfortunately, there was a lot to choose from, but here were our top picks for the kings and queens of bad attitude in the sports world. A top-ranking list that they for sure are probably not the happiest to be on — big surprise.
15 Hope Solo
No stranger to the spotlight, the American goalkeeper, despite her striking good looks and beauty, is known for her far-from-beautiful personality. One of the biggest jerks in the sports world, Solo can be heard dishing out harsh trash talk, comments, and statements.
Unfortunately, Solo was graced with talent, but the work ethic doesn't seem to have followed. Although she has made it to the world stage, her coaches have often complained about lack of effort, and her teammates have been the victims of her backlash when she criticizes on and off the pitch. Slap a few highly publicized misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree that her beauty or fame couldn't get her out of — although she most definitely had tried, and we've got ourselves a class A jerk.
14 Jon Jones
This fighter was charged with a DUI, had gone on to be a tested cocaine user, and among the worst of it all, has been known for spreading his thoughts with homophobic slur messages and tweets all over social media.
During his fights, he trash talks to the point of cringe-worthy opponents, has tested positive for banned substances, been arrested for driving under the influence, and actually has the reputation for eye-poking his opponents, which is really just a jerk move. His transgressions haven't earned him a favored spotlight. Going for the bad boy look isn't working for him because although Jones is extremely talented in his fighting career, he has a knack for being seen as a jerk, and that might just be because he is one.
13 Maria Sharapova
This well-branded and well-known tennis player is famous not only for her skills on the court but also her looks. Unfortunately, she has had her instances with a positive doping test situation, but that doesn't make her the jerk that has landed her on the list.
During a photo shoot, she was a bit cranky, rude to the crew, and refused to eat the overpriced catered food that was ordered especially for her and demanded In-N-Out. She was also seen risking damage to the brand she created for herself by bad-mouthing Serena Williams. She was seen giving low blows about Serena’s love life and also about her body type, giving another attack on the way Serena was built and not attributing her win to her skill.
12 Alex Rodriguez
Unfortunately, we share the same name — nickname, that is. But this cocky and spoiled player isn't someone who you would really want to share much of anything with. This washed up baseball player has recently suffered a major blow to his reputation, when he admitted to using steroids to up his game. He also has been known for mocking, unsportsmanlike conduct, bragging to his own teammates.
He not only has a narcissistic attitude, but he has attributing traits to make him one egotistical athlete. Not sure if it’s his sense of entitlement or almost demanding-like desire to want excessive admiration that throws us off — way off — of this A-Rod’s bandwagon, but that’s definitely a ride that we want to steer way clear of.
11 Lolo Jones
Although she is an Olympian and a star in both sports she competed in, her backstory will win your heart, but her bad mouth will make you second guess your affection, cringe and possibly run away quickly from her fan base. Her fame and story have been splashed all over the front pages, but so has her comments of bad-mouthing and accusation of mocking.
Social media pages often get highly-publicized people in the spotlight into trouble, and Lolo Jones is no stranger to that either. She actually criticized the paychecks that the bobsledders received, opposed to the one she was earning as a hurdler, and posted many mocking posts on Twitter against fans, the Trayvon Martin case and the movie theater shooting in Colorado. Not so smooth.
10 Kobe Bryant
This big name in basketball is also no stranger to negative press and media about his actions. His title of being a really big jerk comes from his actions. His ego is hard-to-be-matched, naming himself after the Black Mamba, because of his own perception of his game.
Unfortunately, his actions and behavior on the court weren't the only things he had going for him that made him famous for his aggressiveness, and attack. He was charged with adultery with his own fan. He has an ultra-competitive nature, which can be a good thing, but what he does off the court really taints what he does on it. But on the court, he’s been called a ball hog and un-coachable — which aren't great attributes to brag about in any sport, really.
9 Ronda Rousey
This could be seen as a stereotypical comment because she's a fighter, saying that just because she trash talks and has to act aggressively because of her sport automatically makes her a jerk. But there are countless testimonies backing up this accusation of being one of the biggest jerks in the sports world.
She has a large, unshakable ability to take everything personally and has been accused of acting unprofessional, but also of being childish. Those who are in the sport can get easily carried away with trash talking, she is borderline childish and aggressive even away from the spotlight of her sport. The way she conducts herself prior to a fight is laced with arrogance and her refusal to touch gloves before the fight begins is a sign of major “jerk”-ism.
8 Barry Bonds
There are actually instances after his career that Bonds admits to his personality as being a jerk, and we’re glad to see that he has remorse for his attitude, but that doesn't take away how he had behaved and portrayed himself during his career. Fortunately, this Hall of Famer was cleared of the charges in relation to the prosecution based on steroids, but it doesn't erase our memories.
He admits to being immature during his playing days, and upset of the accusation of cheating. But he attributes his bad attitude and not being “the nicest guy to be around” to his focus in his preparation for his job. He said that he had to be more “standoffish” with his behavior to be able to really succeed in his position.
7 Danica Patrick
Although highly successful in her sport and on the world stage, Patrick has let fame and popularity get the best of her personality. Not only has she been seen acting with unsportsmanlike nature when she was booed at an event after she lost because she blamed it on the car and didn't take responsibility for her loss, she is more than just a sore loser with her attitude towards her fans.
There have been many accounts of Patrick when a fan has asked for autographs, she has been seen responding “Am I obligated to”, and also has been known to have a spot of arrogance even before her fame, which you can imagine magnified when she received some recognition for her talent behind the wheel.
6 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Being arrested and going to jail for your attitude is really taking “being a jerk” to a whole new level, but Mayweather was sure that he wanted to excel in that, as well. The majority of his charges have to do with getting into brawls and fights in a bar and actually being charged with domestic violence, on multiple occasions, which is a sad way to see a fighter using his skills.
He is famous for his trash talk, which is normal in his career, but Mayweather goes above and beyond his call of duty — taking things really way too far, using terms of racism and other demeaning words in relation to stature and much more. He is more interested with money rather than legacy, even though he had been seen burning a $100 bill once.
5 Abby Wambach
This retired soccer player had been caught behind the wheel with a DUI, but not only was she famous for receiving one of those, she was also pretty well-known for her headers. But neither of these aspects made her a jerk — it was her bad mouth comments and attitude that did.
Since she was placed on such a high pedestal because of her high goalscoring records, the comments Wambach made criticizing the men’s coach for bringing in those foreign players to the team rather than keeping them homegrown really took the cake. She should have kept her place as just a player, rather than criticize her own countrymen and superior (he’s a coach) on his choices. Sometimes, it’s better to just play the game and do nothing else.
4 Brett Favre
We don't know if it’s Brett Favre's on and off retirement that really irks us, or his outlandish egoism that made him keep trying to come back. Keeping the Green Bay Packers hanging on each year, his ego maybe set the franchise back a little bit.
Regardless of his on-field actions, his off-field antics are what really place him in the "jerk" category. Jenn Sterger, a New York Jets reporter, claimed that Favre, a married man, sent her inappropriate pictures of his body. This scandal was truly a black eye in the illustrious career that Favre had made for himself.
3 Tonya Harding
Known for the recent film made of her, portrayed by Margot Robbie, has spread her story of being a big jerk on the big screen everywhere. Harding has been described as defensive and unapologetic. If you are unfamiliar with the controversial story of her tactics to win by any means, we invite you to leave the rock you've been living under and go to the nearest movie theater, stat — maybe even read something, anything, every once in a while.
She actually hired someone to end a competitor’s career through physical assault, breaking Nancy Kerrigan’s leg with a billy club on January 6th, 1994. The opponent, Kerrigan, was set to face her off in the Ladies’ Figure Skating Olympic Short Skate, and was obviously a desperate attack of sabotage and full-fledged “jerkiness".
2 Luis Suarez
Having been named the World Cup’s biggest jerk, a title to be envious of, Uruguayan Luis Suarez has actually bitten opponents on the field in an act rarely seen in the sport of soccer. Although the sport is more physical than most think it is, that is not a legal foul — just fit enough to give Zidane’s head-butt in a World Cup final and his last game before retiring a run for his money.
He has literally punched the ball off the line to prevent Ghana from scoring a game-winning goal in a World Cup quarter-final, he has racially abused Patrice Evra, been known for diving during the game and then getting up and laughing about it, and did we mention, he bites people?
1 Dawn Fraser
Who can forget Dawn Fraser, a five gold medalist swimmer, who stole an Olympic flag from outside an Emperor’s palace in Tokyo? She was actually banned from swimming for a decade after the incident, which really put a damper on her career. However, that incident wasn't the reason she made the list, although it seemed pretty “jerk-ish” of her to steal from an Emperor’s palace.
The reason she’s made the list is that she had dished out some controversial comments on her world stage poured with racism direct to Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic. She actually told them to “go back to where their parents came from. We don’t need them here”, which made her swimming record popularity sort of, plummet downward in a speed-gaining spiral.
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