While they may not always have the same widespread name recognition as A-List Hollywood celebrities, athletes are continually in the public eye. They are often judged as much on their off-time antics as their style of play on the field or court, and the prevalence of paparazzi only amplifies any misdemeanors they may commit in their free time. With countless players on every roster, there must simply be too many athletes to keep track of, right? Wrong. Paparazzi pay more attention to the big name athletes, certainly, but any member of a team can be brought into the public eye if the media finds an embarrassing photo of them.
The same adage is true with athletes’ photos as with the photos of celebrities that grace the cover of every tabloid: good behaviour, quite simply, doesn’t always sell. An athlete who is a family man may get a few heart warming shots of time in the park with his children, but even for the most recognizable athletes, that type of photo wouldn’t be a prize. The big earners, the sometimes elusive but always highly sought photographs, are pictures of athletes that are in some way embarrassing – whether it be because they were caught in a compromising position, or just doing something plain silly.
Paparazzi are utterly determined to get these kind of shots, and when they manage to snag one, the picture in question circulates like wildfire. With the big celebrity leaked photo scandal of August 2014 fresh in the public’s mind, athletes are certainly taking notice and taking caution.
The top priority for all athletes is their game and athletic skill, but reputation does play a big role – no one wants to have a player on their team who is a constant source of negative media attention. Here is a list of fifteen embarrassing photos that athletes likely wish hadn’t caught the media’s eye.
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15 Kate Upton and Justin Verlander, Full Moon
Justin Verlander is the lucky Detroit Tigers pitcher who managed to snag blonde bombshell Kate Upton. Unluckily, the media managed to snag a picture, via the infamous reddit hackers, which showed the couple taking a scantily clad selfie. Fortunately for the duo, the picture shows them only from behind. Unfortunately, for the public, it was likely a little more of Justin Verlander than anyone wanted to see. Out of respect for the parties affected, we will not be attaching the photo.
14 Alex Rodriguez and… Alex Rodriguez
Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez is not exactly known for being the most humble man, but the pictures he took for Details magazine take narcissism to a whole new level. The photoshoot in question took place right before his steroid use was revealed to the world, thus drawing even more attention to the embarrassing photo. Whether he was following the directions of the photographer or acting of his own accord, Alex’s making out with his reflection is most certainly an embarrassing image to have captured on film.
13 Tom Brady, Waterslide Enthusiast
The New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is phenomenal at what he does on the field. Off the field, it seems that he has the same enthusiasm for water sports as six year olds with neon water wings on their arms. Photos were snapped of the quarterback on vacation in Mexico with supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen. Unfortunately for Brady, his ride down the waterslide wasn’t the coolest of moments. Ridiculous hair half-up, knees together, arms raised, look of glee on his face – he may as well be squealing over a Real Housewives marathon.
12 Brady Quinn, Wedding Guest Extraordinaire
Brady Quinn is a free agent quarterback who also works as a college football and NFL game analyst for Fox Sports. He’s also, presumably, one of the most entertaining wedding guests you could invite, based on the infamous photo. Quinn let loose at the wedding of A.J. Hawk and Laura Quinn and danced it out in an open vest, Michael Jackson gloves, a small plaid scarf, shiny black hat, and hair that was ridiculous at best. If the outfit sounds strange, that’s because it is. Perhaps there should have been a more strongly enforced dress code, but at least the wedding looked like a lot of fun.
11 Desmond Bryant, Mug Shot Maven
After a night of partying hard in a South Beach club, an extremely drunk Desmond Bryant tried to get into a North Miami Beach home. Problem was - it wasn’t his own house. Oops. Bryant, in his heavily intoxicated state, thought he was arriving at his Aventura condo. After being arrested by the police, Bryant took an infamous mug shot. Now, there are a lot of notorious mug shots, as they generally capture celebrities and athletes at a time when they aren’t looking their best. However, Bryant’s slack-jawed, open mouthed shot is definitely one of the most embarrassing. Even comedian Jimmy Kimmel commented on the picture, saying it was so bad that Bryant should try to get arrested again just to have the opportunity to take a better mug shot.
10 Brett Favre, Touch of Grey
Favre’s embarrassing photo moment didn’t occur at the peak of his career – it happened at the end, in 2010. He sent extremely R-rated photos to television personality Jenn Sterger, and was even fined $50,000 for not cooperating with the NFL’s investigation of the event. The incident definitely damaged his reputation – while most football fans would concur that Favre was an incredible quarterback, after 2010, the name ‘Brett Favre’ also became synonymous with someone who takes pictures that no one wants to see.
9 Von Miller, No Shirt No Problem
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is a man who likes to party. A series of photos that were taken of one of his nights out shows the Jekyll and Hyde progression from suave, buttoned up athlete to overjoyed party animal. Miller, not content to let his dance moves be impeded by something like a shirt, unbuttoned his white button down and threw his hands in the air (like he just didn't care).
8 Brett Lawrie, 40 Hands
Brett Lawrie’s hands come in handy when he’s at bat for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he’s also been pictured using them for something a lot sillier – the timeless game favoured by college students all over the world, Edward 40 Hands. Though Lawrie only went halfway, duct taping a bottle to his left hand, he made up for it by using his other hand to make a ridiculous facial expression. He also cocked his baseball cap and lost his shirt somewhere along the road. Cool? No. Embarrassing? Definitely.
7 Patrick Kane, Hurri-kane Patrick
Kane is a skilled hockey player who spends his time with the formidable Chicago Blackhawks, but he’s also notoriously skilled at something else – partying. When Patrick Kane goes out, he goes all out. While the residents of Chicago are often privy to his drunken celebrations and partying, the population of the University of Wisconsin got a first hand look at exactly what Kane does best. Kane’s weekend bender at UWisconsin involved getting kicked out of bars multiple times because of his extreme drunkenness. The embarrassing photo in question shows Kane passed out on the bar, clad in his neon yellow t-shirt with ‘Kaner’ scrawled across the back. Nothing like a little self-promotion to go with your embarrassment.
6 Tiger Woods, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
Notorious ladies’ man Tiger Woods attended the 2013 Met Gala with his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn. Apparently the event hosts weren’t stingy with alcohol, as a photographer managed to snap a shot of Tiger looking absolutely hammered. His companion doesn’t look to be having quite as much fun, and was perhaps stuck babysitting a boozy Tiger throughout the event.
5 Kobe Bryant, Fashion Superstar
L.A. Times magazine did a photo spread of Lakers star Kobe Bryant with a very specific theme. The stylist chose to dress Kobe in all white clothing and photograph him on a stark all-white background. For certain outfits, Kobe almost managed to pull it off, the thin white shirts stretching across his basketball-toned upper body. One of the outfits in the spread, however, got a fair bit of negative attention. The stylist claims they were trying to capture an iconic image that would stay in one’s mind: the basketball superstar swaddled in a ridiculous braided, tasseled, hooded scarf contraption and deep V-neck definitely stays in your mind, but it may not be for the right reasons.
4 Rex Grossman, Man on the Bottom
Football is a contact sport that often results in player pile-ups and limbs sticking out at all angles as teams grapple for the ball and those crucial yards. However, it’s lucky that game tape is taken in video form rather than as a series of photographs, because isolating moments can lead to some strange pictures. In a game against the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Rex Grossman ended up pictured in a curled up fetal position with an opponent hanging on him like a shell on a turtle. While Grossman admirably kept his grasp on the ball, it’s not exactly a moment he’ll be framing.
3 Grady Sizemore, Hot and Steamy
Center fielder Grady Sizemore sent some steamy pictures to then-girlfriend and Playboy playmate Brittany Binger. Unfortunately, Binger’s computer was hacked and the private photos were released to the public, to Sizemore’s chagrin. Luckily most of the photos weren’t too compromising, but one in particular had Sizemore taking ‘hot and steamy’ a bit too literally as he posed with a coffee cup covering a certain explicit body part.
2 Andrew Zollner, Pro with the Pole
Let’s face it, pole vaulters aren’t generally the most famous of athletes. They get their moment in the sun during the Olympics, but sports fans aren’t exactly sitting on the edge of their seats to watch their antics in the off season. Zollner was an exception and earned a fair bit of fame, but it unfortunately wasn’t for his pole vaulting skills – it was for a different sort of pole altogether. A nude photo of the athlete leaked in 2013 and anyone researching his athletic career is first bombarded by his explicit exploit. Perhaps a gold medal might put some attention back on his athletic career rather than his body parts.
1 Evan Longoria, Jenna Marbles Smackdown Recipient
It’s one thing for athletes to send explicit photos to an individual they’re dating, but baseball player Evan Longoria unwisely decided to send unwanted photos in an attempt to gain female attention. Whose eye was he trying to catch? A young Barstool Sports writer by the name of Jenna, who is now a household name due to her hilarious YouTube channel, Jenna Marbles. Jenna showed her opinion of the pictures by writing a post calling the athlete out and telling him to stop sending her embarrassing pictures. Well played, Miss Marbles.
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