The world of sport throws up some interesting characters. Most sportspeople start out the same. They’re consumed with single-mindedness, have dogged determination and make every effort in order to try and succeed. When they get to that stage, some people change. It’s not just sportspeople either. The same can be said for celebrities in general. Fame and fortune changes people. For sportsmen and women, having your name chanted by thousands, sometimes millions of adoring fans, being revered by the masses, only serves to give the ego a massive boost. Some lap it up, remain grounded and don’t let everything affect them. Other can’t help but be suckered into the high life. On occasions, it’s not the sport that breeds such individuals.
Sometimes, it’s just the way that person is – they’re jerky by nature and always have been. Becoming a sports star only serves to exacerbate their personalities. They don’t exactly enamor themselves to fans, and so people can’t wait to knock them off their pedestal, take great delight when they do so themselves and self-destruct. At the other end of the scale, there are those sports stars who are sweethearts. They may not be the best in their chosen sport, but they have their integrity and are known for being good people. These are 8 mediocre athletes who are jerks in real life and 7 who are sweethearts.
15 JERK: Johnny Manziel
Is mediocre too nice a term for Johnny Manziel? Well given that he had an amazing college career and such a disappointing NFL career, perhaps labelling him mediocre is a way of balancing the two out. Manziel couldn't make it as a starter in the NFL, primarily because his lack of work ethic was exposed in the pros. He also couldn't get past his issues with alcohol abuse and reports surfaced that he'd even show up to Cleveland Browns practices hungover.
What really lands him here though is his domestic violence case, where his ex-girlfriend accused Manziel of threatening her, slamming her head against a car window and throwing her out of the vehicle. Manziel was able to reach a plea deal and avoid jail time, but it doesn't excuse his behavior.
14 SWEETHEART: John Scott
John Scott's NHL career mostly consisted of him sitting on the bench for a majority of the game, then coming out onto the ice for a fight every game. Scott managed to keep landing jobs on different teams who just wanted a big goon to intimidate the other team. However, something amazing happened during the 2015-16 season, as Scott was voted into the league's All-Star game by fans who were determined to vote in the lovable enforcer.
Scott took everything in stride and even managed to score two goals at the All-Star game, earning MVP Honors. Scott has shown that while his job was to fight on the ice, he's a real softie off of it. He has always been very accommodating to fans and he's carried himself with nothing but class since retiring from the NHL last year.
13 Jerk: Nick Young
Nick Young seems to think he's a lot better than he actually is, as he acts like a huge superstar when he's on the court, even though he's never led a team to success as the focal point of the team. However what lands Swaggy P on this list is the way he cheated on his ex Iggy Azzalea and then bragged to teammates in the locker room about it. Unfortunately for him, teammate D'Angelo Russell was recording his comments and leaked it out on social media.
Iggy left Young, who wound up getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant with the two's second child.
Young was also recorded by two women harrassing them from another car, along with his ex-Lakers teammate Jordan Clarkson. Young and Clarkson pulled up next to the car of a woman and began harrassing her and her 68-year-old mother by making "sexually explicit motions".
12 SWEETHEART: JUAN MATA
Juan Mata’s different from your stereotypical soccer player. And it’s why he’s regarded to be the nicest person in the game. Even his Man United boss, José Mourinho, has said that Juan Mata is undroppable, that he wishes he possessed his brain. People can’t stop singing his praises.
One reason why he’s a sweetheart, is because of his charity work . He recently announced he was donating 1% of his salary to charity, and is urging fellow players to do the same. He’s started a movement, but he himself has been giving for a hell of a long time. He doesn’t just give in terms of handing over money. He spends time visiting various charitable organizations and spending time with the people. He also interacts with people on the internet, and has real conversations with fans.
All of that aside, he’s just a genuinely nice guy. He’s very intelligent, softly spoken, just gets along with everybody. Juan’s soccer’s resident sweetheart, one of the most loved people in the game.
11 JERK: Sean Avery
Sean Avery had a couple of decent seasons in the NHL, but he was mostly known for causing trouble on the ice and wearing out his welcome fairly quickly. Since retiring from the NHL, Avery has managed to do some good, as he's advocated for equal rights for the LGBT community which is commendable, but Avery has still had instances that make it appear as if he's as big a jerk off the ice as he is on it.
Last year, Avery was called out by a homeless man on Twitter, who said Avery was going around harassing homeless people on the street, waking them up and asking them for the time, all to create stories on Snapchat with their reactions. Like Avery really didn't know the time while he had his phone on him? That sure is jerk-like behavior.
10 SWEETHEART: MAYA MOORE
Maya Moore is a woman that divides opinion. Sure, there’s no doubting her ability on the court with a basketball in her hand. But a lot of people have called her selfish, and other such names. In the recent past, she’s morphed into the ultimate team player, and is starting to get plenty of plaudits because of it. She may seem tough, like nothing ever gets her down, but on the inside, she’s a real softy, is a real sweetheart.
There’ve been a few instances that show that Maya is a sweetheart by nature, but one in particular stands out. There was a 14-year-old girl with lupus who always dreamed of playing in the WNBA. Due to her condition, she was told she had to quit practicing. Maya Moore heard about her plight and invited her to a team practice session where the girl ended up being the star of the show. She had a great time and actually made every shot. Maya and her teammates were left pretty speechless.
9 JERK: JOEY BARTON
Joey Barton’s a mediocre soccer player who thinks he’s something he’s not. The guy thinks he’s god’s gift to the game, when in actual fact, he’s just a nuisance, doesn’t possess any great skill or quality with the ball at his feet. He possesses even less when there are other people around, be it on the pitch or off it. He’s fought with teammates, put fellow players in hospital, put out a cigarette in a youth player’s eye, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most recently, as his career’s been winding to a close – thank god! – he’s been found guilty of headbutting three players in the same game, and has punched a player in their private parts. Those are his actions, but add to that his verbal indiscretions, such as his homophobic remarks, and you’ve got a real nasty character. It’s amazing that he’s still allowed on the soccer field.
8 SWEETHEART: Tim Tebow
Is Tim Tebow a mediocre athlete? Well, athletically, Tebow is clearly very gifted, as he's a tall, strong and showed how gifted he was when he won a Heisman Trophy back in college with the Florida Gators. However Tebow was unable to hack it as an NFL QB and didn't want to keep playing pro football if it meant playing another position. So Tebow elected to start a career in baseball and so far, has tried to work his way up the ladder in the Mets' farm system. While Tebow has yet to reach the pros, there's no doubting Tebow's character, as he's head of the Tim Tebow Foundation for Orphan Care and Adoption Aid. He's also always been seen taking the time to talk to his fans and sign autographs.
7 JERK: DERECK CHISORA
Boxers have this mean streak about them. You kind of need to if you’re going toe to toe with someone in the ring, you can’t be all smiley and jovial. It’s serious stuff, especially in the heavyweight division where one punch can cause serious damage. But they need to find ways to turn that aspect of their personality off. Walking around all mean and scowling the whole time isn’t a great thing, is going to cause trouble. Dereck Chisora is a British heavyweight fighter. He’s fought some massive names and has had world title fights.
It’s just as well he’s been unsuccessful to date, because he wouldn’t have made for a great champion. His professional conduct is non-existent. He’s slapped opponents at weigh ins, has spat in the world champion’s face, gets involved in brawls and has attended anger management because of such antics. Boxing aside, he’s also beaten and abused girlfriends and has been arrested numerous times. It’s safe to say that he’s not a very nice fellow.
6 SWEETHEART: ELLEN HOOG
Ellen Hoog is regarded to be one of the hottest athletes on the planet. Field hockey’s pinup girl has enjoyed a mightily successful career and a great time of things on and off the field. She’s not only hot, isn’t just great with a hockey stick in her hands, she’s also a sweetheart, possesses a real sweet personality. Ellen is very down to earth, is a very relaxed individual. Nothing stresses her out and she takes everything with a pinch of salt. In addition to being hot, that’s an attitude that’s endeared her to a lot of fans. She’s very charitable, always has time for fans, but it’s just her general personality, the way she goes about her life with a smile and positive attitude, that makes her a sweetheart.
5 JERK: HOPE SOLO
The U.S. soccer team’s international keeper has landed in hot water plenty of times throughout the course of her career. She’s one of the most controversial goalkeepers around. The fact that she’s outspoken is part of the problem. She doesn’t know when to cut her losses. But she’s also been arrested and charged with assault against her half-sister and nephew. There have been plenty of things that have contributed to her being labelled as a jerk over the years, but having said that, people don’t really care. They overlook the fact that Hope’s a jerk, because she’s seriously hot, and is rated as being one of the hottest soccer players around.
4 Sweetheart: Connor Barwin
Connor Barwin wasn't always a mediocre player. In fact, just a few years ago, Barwin was one of the better pass rushers in the NFL, accumulating 14.5 sacks in his 2014 season with the Eagles. Now though, Barwin's career appears to be winding down, as he's sporadically used by the Los Angeles Rams.
However, as a human being, Barwin has never let fame get to his head. He's just a down-to-earth guy that even when he was a star in Philly, he'd ride the subway to games and mingle with fans on the way down to the stadium. Teammates and fans alike have all praised Barwin as being a great leader and a great person, even if the production wasn't always there.
3 JERK: TYSON FURY
From one end of the scale to the other end of the scale; Anthony Joshua is probably the nicest heavyweight champion the sport’s ever had, is a real sweetheart, whereas Tyson Fury has got to be one of the worst, even close to matching his namesake, the other famous Tyson, with some of his antics during his younger days. His comments and some of his antics are cringeworthy, he’s a drug user, and has gotten into trouble with the law. But worst of all, he just doesn’t really care about boxing. It’s not only his conduct that’s disgraceful. The shape in which he enters the ring is also disgraceful.
Quite often he resembles a fat man, doesn’t take being a heavyweight champion seriously at all. The vast majority of boxing fans were so glad when he was forced to take time off and relinquish his titles.
2 SWEETHEART: Matthew Dellavedova
It's hard to figure out why exactly Matthew Dellavedova is so revered by his teammates an fans, but when so many people are singing your praises, obviously you're doing something right. Dellavedova managed to earn himself a championship ring while in Cleveland and playing with LeBron James inflated his numbers, allowing him to find a home in Milwaukee. In his goodbye to Cleveland, Dellavedova gave a heartfelt farewell to the city, saying:
"It is time to move on now but I really can’t thank everyone in Cleveland enough for everything. Cleveland will always be a special place for me and a special place chapter in my journey."
When returning to Cleveland, he always receives a warm ovation and his former teammates consistently show him love, saying he's one of the best teammates anyone can ask for.
1 JERK: JOHN TERRY
If there could be a title given for the king of jerks, there’d be plenty in the running, but soccer player John Terry would win hands down. Luckily the guy’s no longer playing for England, and is no longer playing in the big leagues. It means we don’t get to see too much of him, and if he does screw up, as he’s done time and time again throughout his career, it won’t get too much coverage. In that sense, perhaps moving to English Championship club Aston Villa, was a good move.
Let’s go through his misdemeanors; he’s been found guilty of being racist, has mocked the 9/11 attacks, and has done numerous other things. But by far and away the thing that most makes him a jerk is the fact that he had an affair with his teammate’s wife. Not only did he have an affair, when he impregnated the woman, he forced her to get an abortion. What a vile human being.
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