Sports have long served as a mirror or reflection of society and some of its heaviest issues. For example, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in the limelight since he refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem during a preseason game in August 2016. Kaepernick, who many onlookers believe has been blackballed by the NFL, essentially sacrificed his career on the gridiron to protest perceived wrongdoings against African-Americans and minorities in the United States.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," said Kaepernick, 29, who was adopted shortly after birth by a white couple named Rick and Teresa Kaepernick.
"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
In late July, retired signal-caller Michael Vick urged Kaepernick to cut his giant Afro hairstyle to improve his job prospects.
“The first thing we got to get Colin to do is cut his hair,” said Vick, 37, an African-American who was born and raised in the crime-ridden city of Newport News, Virginia.
“Perception and image is everything. I love the guy to death, but I want him to succeed on and off the field, and this has to be a start for him.”
Vick was criticized by some people for publicly offering his unsolicited advice to Kaepernick. Most notoriously, bigoted relief pitcher John Rocker bashed New York City’s diversity and its population as a whole.
“It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing,” Rocker was quoted as saying in a December 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated.
"The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. I'm not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
With Rocker’s revolting comments as a prelude, let’s rank the 20 ugliest rants spewed by athletes and sports personalities this century.
20 SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Mocks YAO MING And The Chinese
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most dominant players in the annals of the NBA. The 7-foot, 325-pound O’Neal is also an infamous bully whose mouth frequently gets him into trouble. While still competing for the Los Angeles Lakers in January 2003, O’Neal looked into a television camera and mocked Ming's native language by saying, "Tell Yao Ming, 'Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.'” Nearly a month later, O’Neal apologized to the 7-foot-6, 310-pound Ming and the Asian population as a whole.
"To say I'm a racist against Asians is crazy," O'Neal said.
"It's probably [someone] just trying to start trouble.... I'm an idiot prankster. I said a joke. It was a 70-30 joke. Seventy percent of people thought it was funny, 30 didn't. At times I try to be a comedian. Sometimes I say good jokes, sometimes I say bad jokes. If I hurt anybody's feelings, I apologize."
19 KELLY TILGHMAN Makes Ignorant Comment About Tiger Woods' Scrutiny
Tiger Woods and Kelly Tilghman, a broadcaster for The Golf Channel, are friends. Nonetheless, albeit harmless and unintentional, Tilghman still made a racist remark aimed at Woods. Before Woods’ journey went awry due to his struggles with nymphomania, chronic back pain and substance abuse, he seemed destined to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles. While speaking with Tilghman, Nick Faldo jokingly said golfers were going to have to “gang up on Woods to compete with him. Tilghman laughed and told Faldo that he and his colleagues needed to "lynch (Woods) in a back alley."
Again, although unintended, Tilghman’s remark offended numerous people. Realizing the ugliness of her remark, Woods agent, Mark Steinberg, came to Tilghman’s defense.
"Tiger and Kelly are friends, and Tiger has a great deal of respect for Kelly,” said Steinberg. “Regardless of the choice of words used, we know unequivocally that there was no ill-intent in her comments."
18 DAVID WELLS TAKES A SHOT AT THE KARDASHIAN CLAN
Abrasive New York Yankees fan favorite David Wells has never focused on political correctness. Unsurprisingly, during a January 2016 golf outing with hockey great Jeremy Roenick and another friend, Wells used social media to mock the Kardashian and Jenner girls for primarily having adult relations with African-Americans.
“Golfing with my boy Steve and Roenick,” Wells, 54, tweeted. “Jeremy has 2 holes he lipped out we call that the Kardashian putts. Nothing white goes in the hole.”
In actuality, Kim Kardashian married Caucasian basketball player Kris Humphries in August 2011 and Kourtney Kardashian has had three children out of wedlock with an obnoxious white guy named Scott Disick. Regardless if most members of the Los Angeles-based reality television clan have enjoyed private moments with black men, Wells shouldn’t have posted such a crude remark.
17 JASON WHITLOCK's Juvenile Comment About Jeremy Lin
Former New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin exploded onto the NBA scene and became a global icon for his stunning performances in the winter of 2012. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Lin, who went undrafted in 2010 out of Harvard, led the Knicks to seven straight victories. Lin’s apex occurred when he recorded 38 points and seven assists to lead the Knicks over Kobe Bryant’s Lakers on February 10. Hereafter, with “Linsanity” peaking, sports journalist Jason Whitlock used social media to blindly taunt Lin for having a small penis.
“Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight,” tweeted Whitlock.
The Asian American Journalists Association demanded an apology from Whitlock and the scribe expressed regret for his tweet.
“I should've realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian-Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger's first victory in The Masters,” wrote Whitlock.
“I got caught up in the excitement. I tweeted about what a great story Lin is and how he could rival Tim Tebow. I then gave in to another part of my personality — my immature, sophomoric, comedic nature.”
16 MICHAEL IRVIN Isn't Convinced Tony Romo Can be White
Tony Romo is such an elite athlete that Michael Irvin is convinced that he’s partially black. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Romo signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois University. Following roughly three seasons on the bench, Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe at halftime of a game against the New York Giants in October 2006 and Irvin couldn’t believe what he saw.
“(Romo) doesn’t look like he’s that type of an athlete,” said Irvin, a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee.
“But he is. He is, man. I don’t know … some brother down in that line somewhere … I don’t know who saw what or where, his great-great-great-great-grandma ran over in the ‘hood or something went down.”
Romo, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who was the NFL passer rating leader in 2014, remained the Cowboys’ starter until he got injured in a 2016 preseason game. The 37-year-old Romo finished his career with 2,829 completions for 34,183 yards and 248 scores.
15 ADRIEN BRONER Takes His Trash Talk Too Far
Adrien Broner’s mouth is far more dangerous than his fists. The 5-foot-7, 147-pound Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) unanimously outscored Carlos Molina in a 10-round junior welterweight bout in May 2014. Nicknamed "The Problem," Broner belittled Molina during an interview with Jim Gray of Showtime.
"I feel good. It was a good fight for me to shake the cobwebs out,” said Broner, 28.
“I definitely looked good and got the victory. As you can see, I didn't have any trouble. (I’m) the can-man....I've beaten Afri-CANS and I just beat the f--- out of a Mexi-CAN."
Five days after defeating Molina, the World Boxing Council indefinitely suspended Broner for his asinine tirade. "The Problem,” who was videotaped violently shoving a woman and punching a man unconscious outside of a nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip earlier this month, is incorrigible.
14 BOB GRIESE's Taco Remark
Bob Griese was a standout quarterback and substandard football broadcaster. Griese, who guided the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl championships and was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame, began serving as a ESPN's noon college football commentator in August 2009. Approximately two months into his new gig, Griese was working a game between Minnesota and Ohio State when a graphic was shown of Colombian NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Griese’s fellow analyst, Chris Spielman, wondered aloud where Montoya was. Griese replied that Montoya was probably "out having a taco."
Griese was suspended one week for the remark and he retired altogether in February 2011. Perhaps he stepped away in fear that he would slip up again on air had he stuck around longer.
13 SERGIO GARCIA Lashes Out At TIGER WOODS
As a golfer in a predominantly white sport, Tiger Woods has endured racially insensitive remarks for decades. The 41-year-old Woods, who seemed destined to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles, won the 2013 Players Championship. However, prior to capturing his second Players Championship, Woods and Sergio García were tied for the lead nearing the tournament’s conclusion. García proceeded to choke and he finished in 8th place after hitting three balls into the water.
Following Woods’ triumph, García and the athletic philanderer feuded over an incident that occurred during the third round. Roughly two weeks after their public spat, a reporter asked García about meeting Woods at the U.S. Open.
"We will have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken,” said García, 37, a Spanish professional golfer.
García issued a statement apologizing to Woods the next day.
12 RICHIE INCOGNITO Bullies JONATHAN MARTIN
Past Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin were the centerpieces of the biggest bullying scandal in NFL history. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Incognito harassed and intimidated the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin via voicemail, text message, and in person. In one particularly disturbing voice message, Incognito threatened Martin with racial epithets and profane language.
"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you,” said Incognito, 34.
Martin, who contemplated suicide on two occasions, eventually unraveled and permanently retreated from the Dolphins’ facilities in October 2013. Roughly a week later, the Dolphins indefinitely suspended Incognito for conduct detrimental to the team. While the 28-year-old Martin retired in July 2015, Incognito has been a member of the Buffalo Bills’ organization since February 2015.
11 DON IMUS AND THE RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
Shock jock Don Imus insulted the entire Rutgers University women’s basketball team in April 2007.
“That’s some rough girls from Rutgers,” said Imus.. “Man, they got tattoos ...”
The program’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, agreed: “Some hardcore ho’s,” he said.
Imus continued, “That’s some nappy-headed ho’s there, I’m going to tell you that.”
Imus received a harsh backlash for his rant and critics called for his termination. A day following the incident, Imus publicly apologized for his remarks.
“Want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill- conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team,” said Imus.
“It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.”
Regrettably for the humorist, Imus’ admission of wrongdoing did little and CBS permanently canceled his radio program on April 12.
10 FLOYD MAYWEATHER AND MANNY PACQUIAO
Floyd Mayweather is a serial domestic abuser and racist. Mayweather also notoriously avoided top competitors at the peak of their careers. Most notably, citing drug testing protocols and finances as roadblocks, Mayweather refused to meet Manny Pacquiao for nearly a decade. Mayweather’s refusal infuriated hardcore boxing fans, pundits and the sports community as a whole. Oddly, although disinterested in fighting, Mayweather unleashed a profanity-filled racist and homophobic diatribe against the Filipino icon.
"I'm on vacation for about a year, about a year," Mayweather said.
"As soon as we come off vacation, we're going to cook that little yellow chump (Pacquiao). We ain't worried about that. So they ain't gotta worry about me fighting the midget. Once I kick the midget ass, I don't want you all to jump on my d---. So you all better get on the bandwagon now. ... Once I stomp the midget, I'll make that mother f----- make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice."
Mayweather unanimously outscored a shopworn version of Pacquiao on May 2, 2015.
9 RUSH LIMBAUGH Thinks Donovan McNabb Was Overrated Because He's Black
Donovan McNabb is the most decorated passer in the Philadelphia Eagles’ history. McNabb, who led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXXIX, made six Pro Bowls in his 13 seasons as a professional. In 167 games as a member of the Eagles, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, McNabb completed 3,170 passes for 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns. Despite his vast achievements on the gridiron, political commentator Rush Limbaugh believes that McNabb was overrated because he’s black.
"I'm sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go,” said Limbaugh.
“I think what we've had here is a little social concern. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
Limbaugh has every right to criticize McNabb as a football player, but the fact that he had to turn to race in his argument lost him a lot of credibility.
8 RILEY COOPER Thinks He's A Tough Guy
Racist comments can cause lingering resentment. Erstwhile Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper attended a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field in July 2013. Bizarrely, and inexcusably, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Cooper pointed to the crowd during the show and said, “I will jump that fence and fight every n------ here.” Many of Cooper’s former Eagles teammates were furious and basically targeted the apparent racist at practice. Most notably, free agent cornerback Cary Williams took umbrage with Cooper’s vitriol and attacked him in a scrimmage.
“I’m not a n---- you (expletive) with,” screamed Williams, 32.
DeSean Jackson helped separate the combatants and discussed the volatile incident.
“You’re dealing with different personalities and a lot of different players with different backgrounds and things like that,” Jackson said.
The 30-year-old Cooper has been jobless since the Eagles released him in February 2016.
7 CONOR MCGREGOR AND FLOYD MAYWEATHER Go Shot For Shot
Floyd Mayweather stopped Irish MMA star Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their 154-pound boxing match on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 40-year-old Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) banked $100 million and the 29-year-old McGregor (0-1) pocketed $30 million for their glorified carnival act. To secure maximum profits, Mayweather and the mouthy Irishman went on an international world tour to promote their scrap. While Mayweather was as contemptible as ever, McGregor concentrated on being a racist throughout their propaganda efforts.
In a series of cringe-worthy lines, McGregor claimed he was “a big fan of the (black) culture…all I listen to is rap!” McGregor subsequently told Mayweather to “dance for me, boy.” In a final tasteless remark, “Notorious” said that he is “half-black from the belly button down” with a “present for his beautiful, black, female fans.”
6 HULK HOGAN's Leaked Tape
Hulk Hogan is a 2005 WWE Hall of Fame inductee who amassed a total of 12 titles performing for Vince McMahon’s promotion and the now-defunct WCW. Hogan’s famous catchphrase (“Train, say your prayers, take your vitamins”) and good-guy persona made him a hero to millions of kids across the globe. Somewhat sadly, as a rampant steroid abuser and alleged racist, Hogan’s entire character was a fraud. The Hulkster was heard spewing hatred in his sex tape about his daughter, Brooke, and her African-American boyfriend.
“I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f–-- some n—--, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n—-- worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. F–-ing n—--,” said Hogan, 64.
The WWE fired Hogan for his rant in July 2015 and he hasn’t resurfaced in the squared circle since.
5 LAVAR BALL Thinks Race Decides Championships
Lavar Ball is an intolerable blowhard who is the male equivalent of Kris Jenner. Ball, who some claim is a marketing guru, is recognized for bragging about his sons, Lonzo and LaMelo. The 19-year-old Lonzo was a consensus first-team All-American as a UCLA Bruin in 2017. Largely thanks to Lonzo’s brilliance at the point guard position, UCLA secured a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bruins were ultimately eliminated in the Sweet 16 by the University of Kentucky.
“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” said Ball, a failed professional football player.
“I told Lonzo - ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.' It turned out that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”
In stark contrast to Ball’s moronic outlook, the Bruins lost because Lonzo was thoroughly outplayed by Wildcats point guard De'Aaron Fox.
4 SID ROSENBERG In General
Sid Rosenberg is one of the most offensive and vulgar American radio personalities to ever hit the airwaves. Rosenberg, a Brooklynite who has long battled substance abuse, claimed that only “fa***** play tennis” and the United States women's national soccer team were "a bunch of juiced up d**es.” Somehow, Rosenberg outdid himself in June 2001 when he learned that Venus and Serena Williams had received an offer to pose nude in Playboy magazine. Rosenberg called Venus Williams an “animal” and then asserted that the sisters were better suited to disrobe for National Geographic than Hugh Hefner’s periodical.
''I can't even watch them play anymore,” Rosenberg said as a sports contributor on the “Imus in the Morning” program.
''I find it disgusting They're just too muscular. They're boys.''
Rosenberg was fired from WFAN for failing to appear at its New York Giants pregame show in September 2005.
3 ROB PARKER Questions RGIII's Race?
Free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III reinvigorated football fans in our nation’s capital and earned the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award as a Redskin. Regrettably, Griffin tore ACL and LCL ligaments in his right knee during a January 2013 wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Bafflingly, shortly before Griffin’s debilitating injury, sports journalist Rob Parker bashed the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner’s character and standing in the black community.
"My question is, and it's just a straight, honest question: Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother,” Parker said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“He's not really. He's black, he does his thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really like the kind of guy you really want to hang out with."
Parker was terminated by the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” on January 8, 2013.
2 DONALD STERLING's Comments To Girlfriend
Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is an unabashed racist. The 83-year-old Sterling chided his 34-year-old mistress, a bloodsucker named V. Stiviano, for posting pictures on Instagram of her alongside Magic Johnson.
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” said Sterling.
“Do you have to? You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games. Don't put him [Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
Once TMZ released its audio recording, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acted swiftly and forever banned Sterling from the league.
1 EMILY AUSTEN Manages To Offend Multiple Groups
Sports broadcaster Emily Austen disparaged Jews, Mexicans and Chinese people during an appearance on Barstool Sports’ “Rundown” in June 2016. An organized bigot, Austen initially focused on the Chinese and Mexicans.
“I didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart. …That’s f***ed up,” said Austen, 28, who worked for the Tampa Bay Rays and Orlando Magic.
“I didn’t mean it like that. You see, you guys know that the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”
Hereafter, Austen complained about serving Jews when she worked as a waitress in Boca Raton, Florida.
“The way I used to talk to the Jews in Boca. I just didn’t care,” she said.
“They would complain and b***h about everything. I gave a guy, delivered his beer, and he was complaining to me that there was too much head. I knew that he was a stingy a** and he wasn’t going to give me a tip.”
Fox Sports trashed Austen a few days following her despicable tirade.