Athletes are role models. Whether they like it or not, these are the people to whom kids look up to. They are heroes to children and many adults. Who does not want to be like Tom Brady or LeBron James? Sure, these individuals are not perfect in every aspect of life. But the majority of great athletes are good people and great role models. At the same time, there are a lot of guys who contrast these great players.
Sometimes talent does not choose wisely where it will manifest itself. Sometimes, the most talented of players can be some of the worst human beings on this planet. And yes, we can name a ton of athletes who are rude and terrible role models for many reasons. There are athletes who, despite having all the money in the world, became criminals. There are athletes who committed crimes worthy of life sentences. There are athletes who breached one of the most sacred bonds in sports, which is the bond of trust between teammates. And we are not even talking about sleeping with a teammate’s spouse. We will tell you about a guy who allegedly slept with one of his teammates’ moms. Seriously, if there is a hell, this should be one surefire way of getting yourself a ticket downstairs.
The bottom line is that there are a ton of athletes who are not worthy of praise when it comes to their conduct away from the fields, pitches, and courts. Much on the contrary, some of these guys should probably be in jail instead of playing.
15 Rude: Ben Roethlisberger
He is one of the most controversial figures in football. But it is hard to deny that Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. This is, after all, a guy who won two Super Bowls and was selected to six Pro Bowls. Despite suffering several injuries, Roethlisberger managed to solidify himself as the franchise quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers for more than a decade. Nevertheless, this guy has done some very shady stuff off the field.
If you follow football, you know that we are talking about the two sexual assault allegations that befell Roethlisberger in 2009 and 2010. The first one ended in a settlement that was not made public. But in the second one, there was some shady stuff going on with the cops, and the alleged victim ultimately pulled out of the lawsuit. At least Roethlisberger was suspended by the NFL, though.
14 Rude: Michael Vick
Let’s stick with quarterbacks for a bit. We don’t really know how bad Michael Vick is at treating other people. But given the fact that this guy was arrested and spent time in jail because of his involvement with dogfighting, our immediate guess would be that he is also terrible with people. Seriously, animal cruelty is one of those things that goes hand-in-hand with being a terrible person.
But that is not the only incident that happened throughout Vick’s career for us to consider him worthy of a place on this list. For example, there was the time in 2006 when he flipped off a bunch of fans who were booing him after his team lost a game. Oh yeah, there was also the alleged incident when he infected Sonya Elliott with herpes.
13 Nice: Chris Paul
When he is not showing his Houston teammates secret entrances in the Staples Center so they can beat up Austin Rivers, Chris Paul is actually a nice guy. No, he is an amazing guy when it comes being a respectable role model and human being. Sure, Chris had a slip recently, but that does not erase all that this guy has done for basketball and the community.
Let’s go all the way back to the beginning of his career. How do you think most rookies celebrate being selected in the NBA Draft? Partying, right? Not in the case of Chris Paul. The first thing this guy did with his money was to refurbish a basketball court in his hometown. More than that, Paul is always looking for a way to help charities and is always giving back to the community.
12 Rude: Tiger Woods
Yeah, we all like Tiger for the breakthrough athlete he was throughout most of his career. This man was the prime example for African-Americans who wanted to make it in a sport that was more whitewashed than Hollywood movies. That was one of the reasons why Tiger became one of the richest and most famous athletes of all time. The only problem was that the guy didn’t know really well how to deal with fame. If you have any doubt about that, just ask his ex-wife.
No, we are sorry. It might still be a little too early to make jokes about that, but who cares. When you cheat on your wife with as many women as Tiger seems to have done, it is impossible for you not to be considered a terrible person.
11 Rude: Mike Tyson
For everyone who watched the movies in The Hangover series, Mike Tyson seems to be an amazing guy to hang out with. There is no denying that Tyson is as funny as former boxers come. The problem with him is that this guy was a terrible person when he was younger. The biggest example of that happened in 1991 when Tyson was arrested for the alleged sexual assault of 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington.
As many of the court cases involving famous athletes, this one became as much of a circus as the others. However, the result was unlike a lot of other sexual assault claims against celebrities. Tyson was ultimately charged and sentenced to spend six years in prison. Sure, he served less than three of those, but that is still a lot when you compare it to other cases.
10 Nice: John Cena
Many people love him, and many people hate him, but it is hard to deny that John Cena is a fantastic role model. This guy can be an antagonist to a lot of wrestling fans who despise him for his squeaky-clean in-ring persona. Nevertheless, even those wrestling fans must admit that Cena is one of the guys in the WWE who does the most when it comes to community engagement and charity.
The best example of how amazing Cena is when it comes to charity is the fact that this guy has been a part of more than 500 Make-A-Wish Foundation events. He is like a real-life Santa Claus, who actually grants wishes to some of the kids who are in the direst need of a break from whatever disease they are fighting against.
9 Rude: Michael Jordan
No, Michael Jordan is not a criminal, nor had he done anything worthy of being locked up. However, he can be incredibly rude and over-competitive in every endeavor he partakes. While that's part of what made him so great on the court, it doesn't make him the nicest person off of it. Jordan was arrogant among his teammates and his arrogance was on full display when he thanked himself in his HOF speech. There's also the story of Jordan demanding $15,000 from Chamillionaire in order to give him an autograph. How about the story of Jordan tipping a waitress with a $5 chip for a night of service, only for Wayne Gretzky to scold him, making him give $100?
He's still the G.O.A.T, but His Airness isn't the best athlete to meet in real life.
8 Rude: Ronda Rousey
Sometimes being a very private person tends to make someone famous come across as rude, but Ronda Rousey, WWE's newest signee, has made it hard for her to be universally liked. Following her UFC losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes Rousey basically became recluse and didn't seem to want to face the music following defeat. While she'll usually be very accommodating and pose for pictures/sign autographs for an event, she's not the most approachable person in day-to-day life. Now that she'll be traveling quite a bit with the WWE over the next few years she'll be facing more and more fan requests than ever before. How will she adapt to the new lifestyle? Maybe she'll ask to play a heel eventually so she has that excuse.
7 Nice: Tim Tebow
When it comes to being so nice that it becomes nauseating, Tim Tebow is our go-to guy. For someone to become a self-proclaimed role model is tough, but Tebow is one of the guys who managed to put that upon himself and filled the bill. When it comes to sports, people might hate him as much as they want, but at the end of the day, this guy is a two-time college national champion. And he has done something a lot of so-called “elite” quarterbacks have not done in their NFL careers. He won a playoff game, and it was in spectacular fashion.
But back to the point of being a role model, this guy might have done more charity than all of the others on this list combined. He has done everything from missionary visits to Africa to helping orphanages in the Philippines, where he was born to American missionary parents.
6 Rude: Greg Hardy
Domestic abuse and the NFL seem to go hand-in-hand. It is a sad thing to say, but Roger Goodell and the league do not make it any easier for us to deny this fact. What can you say about a league that barely suspends a guy for nearly killing his ex-girlfriend? Seriously, imagine getting hit by a football player. Sounds pretty bad, right? Now just watch how you feel after we tell you a little bit of what Hardy’s ex-girlfriend said the player did to her.
In a statement she gave to the police, she said that the defensive end picked her up and threw her into the tile tub area of his bathroom, pretty much injuring her entire body. But that was not enough. The guy allegedly pulled her out by her hair, yelling that he was going to kill her, choked her, and then threw her on a couch that was covered in assault rifles and/or shotguns. Certainly not the most pleasant of experiences.
5 Rude: O.J. Simpson
What can we say about O.J. that you don’t know already? This guy has become the paramount example of what athletes should not become. O.J. was undoubtedly one of the best football players of all time, or at least he could have been if only he hadn’t tainted his legacy by committing some of the worst crimes anyone could. Of course, we are not talking about the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. After all, he was acquitted of those crimes. In other words, O.J. was innocent. And that could have been the end of the story. But no, it seems like O.J. had a desire to go to jail.
Almost a decade after he got away with that freebie, Simpson managed to get charged and convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping.
4 Nice: Roger Federer
The only way you have not heard of this guy is if you have never heard of tennis as a whole. Roger Federer has won nothing less than $115 million in prize money alone throughout his career. Yes, that is not including endorsements and anything of the kind. While many great tennis players go through their entire careers without winning a single grand slam, Federer has 20 of those to his name. This guy has to be one of the most arrogant people on the planet, right?
The answer is not at all. Federer is as humble as athletes come. This guy is the personification of a role model. It doesn’t matter how much he wins, Federer is always thankful and keeps working hard. He is also one of the most charitable athletes out there. Among his many accolades in charity, he was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF in 2006.
3 Rude: Metta World Peace
Ron Artest was already one of the weirdest and craziest guys in the NBA. And that was all before he changed his name to Metta World Peace. There are a bunch of reasons why we could put Artest/World Peace on this list. After all, he is arguably one of the dirtiest players to ever step onto an NBA court. This is a point that you will have a hard time finding people to argue against. It has just become one of those things that are a given. LeBron James is going to take his team to the finals, and the ironically-renamed Metta World Peace is going to do something that will make you not want to let your kids watch his team play.
Off the top of our heads, we can remember the incidents of him elbowing James Harden on the side of the head, and the infamous Malice at the Palace brawl.
2 Rude: Luis Suarez
We have had murderers, people who slept with their teammates’ moms, and even a guy who put out a cigar in a trainee’s eye. But when it comes to being rude and having bad habits, it is tough to find someone who can match the uniqueness of Barcelona forward, Luis Suarez.
Suarez is widely known as one of the best strikers in soccer today. The guy can score from pretty much anywhere, and he has been lethal for Barcelona over the past few seasons. But even his many accolades on the pitch are not enough to erase the controversies this guy has caused, and that turned him into one of the worst role models in soccer. Seriously, can you imagine a worse habit than biting other players? And that is not all, Suarez was also involved in racist incidents.
1 Nice: Peyton Manning
Another guy who had everything to become arrogant and rude enough to earn a place on the other side of this list is Peyton Manning. But just like Roger Federer, Manning took the high road and decided to become something beyond just an athlete. This is a two-time Super Bowl champion, a 14-time Pro-Bowler, and a five-time NFL MVP. He's a man who is very well in the conversation for best quarterback ever. But he is also a man who decided there was more to life than just football.
Holding the NFL’s single-season touchdown record was not enough, and Peyton decided he would devote a good deal of his life to charity and philanthropy. The biggest example was how much he helped the St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He aided them so much that they renamed the hospital to "Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent."