As a professional athlete or coach, the spotlight is inevitable. Athletes have had to deal with snooping reporters and tabloid-headline seekers since the dawn of modern media, the same way famous artists and movie stars are constantly hounded by paparazzi.
For the most part, athletes today have learned to accept this part of their hectic and very public private lives - some might be less inclined to talk to media, or give them anything "juicy," which for fans can get a tad bland, but is completely understandable to (rational) people.
Even the most revered and respected athletes can have their moments of weakness, in terms of letting their temper get the best of them or letting their guard down at the wrong moment.
That's when the fireworks usually start going off.
Every once in awhile (usually after a negative result on the field, court, or ice) athletes will go off, losing their minds on anyone near them. In moments like these, the people who are usually closest - in an attempt to capture the meltdown, of course - are cameramen looking for the money shot of the moment, or some good video to put on the highlight reel (and eventually YouTube).
Over the years, several of these aforementioned cameramen have been caught in the crossfire of an athlete's tirade, and some have been worse for wear because of it. Those who say sports photographers have a cushy job should read some of the harrowing experiences that cameramen have had to deal with when it comes to athletes losing their cool after a poor performance or a big loss.
Perhaps the athletes mentioned in this list were worried about what others might think of them as they show their frustration and emotion after a tough loss or bad break - something that you would think they would want fans and media to see; passion for the game, letting one's emotional guard down in defeat.
Instead, they end up showing off a nasty side that no one particularly cares for (but enjoys watching anyways, for obvious reasons).
15 Mike Tomlin
Mike Tomlin can't seem to catch a break when he gets too close to the action. Granted, he stands on a sideline coaching for a living, but he's usually never too close to the action (except for when Jacoby Jones is returning a kickoff for a touchdown). Tomlin was again too close to the action for his own good at a Kentucky basketball game a few years back, when a cameraman got in his face during the game. Tomlin was having none of it, yelling at the cameraman: "You had enough, bro? You had enough? I'm trying to watch the game."
14 Billy Cundiff
Poor Billy Cundiff. Guy can't catch a break lately.
He's out of work (again) and now we're reminding everyone of the worst moment of his otherwise decent career as an NFL placekicker. Cundiff had to split the uprights from 32-yards out to send the 2012 AFC Championship Game into overtime against the New England Patriots. Instead, he missed the chip shot, New England won, and the hounds circled in for the shot of the distraught kicker - instead, he pushed away the camera that was shoved in his face and walked off. Cundiff gets props for facing the media after the game, though.
13 Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick just so happens to be the inspiration for this article (so we thank you, Squidward, for your actions this weekend). To say the 49ers season has gone off the rails is an understatement, and it was amplified by the Niners loss to the Raiders this weekend. A cameraman tried to get a shot of a distraught Kaepernick running off the field at halftime, but all he got was a lens-full of Kaep's hand. Kaepernick, as usual, was a bit off with his touch, and the cameraman still managed to get the shot.
12 Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is known on the ice as one of the best snipers in the hockey world, with a penchant for reckless play and big hits. No one knew, though, that Ovechkin's rough side came out off the ice, too - after going home from the Vancouver Olympics without a medal, Ovechkin was so distraught that he got in the face of a fan who was videotaping him walk by, grabbing the camera and seemingly trying to shove it back into the fan's hands or perhaps crush it, if he could. Ovy not happy, to say the least.
11 Cristiano Ronaldo
For all the remarkable things Cristiano Ronaldo can do on a soccer field - and I guess if you're a woman, all the remarkable ways he looks off the field - Ronaldo sure can show off an ugly side every once in awhile. That side came out during the 2010 FIFA World Cup after Portugal was knocked out of the tournament earlier than they certainly would have hoped. Ronaldo was caught on video spitting at or near a cameraman trying to capture the post-game moment. While the argument will rage on as to whether it was on purpose or not, it certainly caused quite the firestorm with regards to his ability to lead his country's national squad.
10 Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo has always come off as a bit of a quirky, brooding individual, but no one can dispute his immense talent on the basketball court. Seems like no one can question his "care-level" either, especially after his run in with a cameraman a few years back following a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Rondo was clearly rattled by the loss and was about to talk the media before noticing that he was being filmed. Rondo went off on the cameraman, essentially saying that this wasn't part of his media availability.
Charles Barkley had a different take on why he thought Rondo blew a fuse: "I thought he was mad about that jacket he was wearing.” (Rondo was wearing a zebra-striped jacket).
9 Tyrone Wheatley
Not only did Tyrone Wheatley nearly assault a photographer and threaten several media members, he did it on the steps of a courthouse of all places. The former Raiders running back was summoned to testify before a grand jury back in 2003 regarding the BALCO scandal that overtook sports during the early 2000's. Wheatley slapped a photographer on the wrist after a photo was taken of him, but he was also heard threatening and cursing media members who were waiting outside the courthouse.
8 Andre the Giant
Let's be clear about one thing with regards to this one: why you would do anything to piss off a behemoth of a man, aptly named Andre the Giant, is beyond me, but some brave soul wanted to get the perfect shot. Andre the Giant was actually arrested for his run-in with a cameraman back in 1989, as the 7'4, 540 pound monster of a human being headlocked the assuredly much smaller man and damaged his equipment. Perhaps the best quote of the Chicago Tribune piece on the story came from one of the officers who spoke to the media about the incident:
"Thank God he was cooperative in the arrest," said Assistant Police Chief Jim Barnes. "A guy that big, he could cause some damage."
7 Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno's legacy as a coach and as a man was tarnished forever several years ago thanks to the Jerry Sandusky scandal that engulfed "Joe Pa" and the Penn State football program, but no one can ever say he didn't take all aspects of football seriously, including the pre-game stretches the team goes through each week. Joe Pa once lost it on a cameraman who was getting closeup shots of players before the game. The longtime coach ran the man off the field and gave him a stern talking to once he was out of the way.
6 Randy Johnson
"The Big Unit" wasn't just known by that moniker because he had a big arm, he was also a big man. Randy Johnson was the last guy you wanted to see standing 60 feet away from you as a batter, but he's also not someone you want to trifle with on the street. Johnson got aggravated by a cameraman back in 2005 after he was traded to the New York Yankees, and took matters into his own hands by shoving the cameraman away and yelling at the man to essentially get out of his face. One can assume that this was not a common occurrence in Arizona, where Johnson was coming from.
5 John Daly
John Daly is another guy that you watch and probably think to yourself "I would not want to piss this man off." It would appear that not everyone thinks that way, or at least one unfortunate fan didn't. Daly was enraged after a fan (identified as Brad Clegg) took a photo of him while he was about to take a shot at the Australian Open. Daly grabbed the camera and flung it at a tree, ruining the camera and ensuring that Clegg would not be taking any more shots of the event that day. Daly ended that round with a 78, so you can understand where his frustration stemmed from.
4 Carl Pelini
It would appear that the Pelini brothers have some anger issues that they might want to work on (maybe separate from each other would be best). Carl Pelini finds his way onto this list after his run in with a cameraman following the Nebraska Cornhuskers loss to Texas A&M in 2010. Pelini saw a cameraman (who happened to be from TexAgs.com) filming him and went right after the other man, who captures Pelini's face turn to anger and charge him.
3 Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers was another athlete who went full-out ballistic on a cameraman, and his anger led to a physical confrontation that was caught on tape for all to see. Rogers went on a cameraman hunt, to say the least, as first he pushed Fox Sports Net Southwest photographer David Mammeli, then he went after Larry Rodriguez of Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW, from whom Rogers took his camera and threw it to the ground. Rogers was about to go after two other cameraman who were taping the scene, but was finally subdued, taken off the the field, and ultimately sent home because of his outburst.
2 Tim Belcher
Tim Belcher's tirade against the cameraman who got in his face was more about his verbal abuse more than it was about him physically assaulting anyone. Belcher dropped more f-bombs in that tirade than he probably should have - granted, he was angry about giving up a game-winning home run in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS. Belcher was not subtle in his disdain for the media waiting for him outside the locker room after the loss and it certainly made for great video.
1 Dennis Rodman
It was too easy to slide Rodman into the number one slot on this list. Dropping him down was contemplated, but Rodman is the unofficial king of the "Brotherhood of Athletes Who've Assaulted Media Members." We all remember the vivid image of Rodman kicking a photographer sitting behind the baseline after Rodman fell into the crowd chasing a loose ball. Something set Rodman off, because he viciously kicked the man and yelled at him afterwards. Rodman got 11 games and a massive fine for the outburst, but still managed to justify his actions by saying in an interview that he "could have done a lot worse to him."
Then again, would you expect anything else from Dennis Rodman?