Peyton Manning was named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year,” and it’s easy to see why. The man helped thousands of college students stave off starvation by forcing Papa John to give away all those free pizzas.
But who resides at the opposite end of this year’s sporting spectrum? The way we see it, there are plenty of scumbags in the sporting world who deserve just as much attention for their contributions as Peyton does for his. Here is our scoundrel’s Class of 2013 — the anti-sportsmen of the year.
Aaron Hernandez: It’s a pretty bad sign when you’re connected with a murder. It’s even worse when the cops aren’t sure just how many murders they need to connect you with.
The Patriots tight end is currently behind bars charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was an acquaintance of Hernandez’s who was allegedly ready to implicate Hernandez for his role in a 2012 Boston double-homicide.
Amazingly, those aren’t the only times Hernandez has displayed an itchy trigger finger. He is also facing a lawsuit from a friend, Alexander Bradley, who claims Hernandez shot him in the face following a dispute between the two after they left a Miami strip club.
Oscar Pistorius: The first athlete to compete in both the Paralympic and Olympic Games was an inspiration to millions around the world — until he killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
That much is indisputable. Pistorious’ defense is that he thought there was an intruder in his bathroom — after all, who doesn’t break into houses through the toilet? — and that he thought his girlfriend was in his bed. The prosecution maintains it was premeditated, which is what anyone with half a brain would also believe. We’ll find out which side is right in March.
Liars, Frauds and Cheats
Lance Armstrong: In a January interview with Oprah, Lance finally came clean to admit he is one of the great douches of this century.
The disgraced former Tour de France champion doped his way to every one of his seven victories, lied about it, and then bullied anyone who ever tried to unveil the truth behind his chicanery. His attempt to garner sympathy with Oprah instead gave off the impression he was the world’s fastest sociopath on two wheels.
Ryan Braun: Baseball fans seem to be pretty forgiving about steroid users, provided they actually fess up to their transgressions. But when they pull a Ryan Braun, all bets are off.
When Braun was first dinged for steroid use in 2012, he successfully appealed the charges on a technicality while attacking the character of the ordinary guy who collected his urine sample, Dino Laurenzi. Basically, Braun doubled down. But when Braun was proven as a user once again in this year’s Biogenesis scandal, we learned that he is both a liar and a douchebag. Not a good look, bro.
Alex Rodriguez: Implicated in the same scandal as Braun, A-Rod faces a record 211-game suspension for his steroid use. Instead of being defensive, he’s gone on the offensive, accusing commissioner Bud Selig of having a personal vendetta against him. Maybe is holding that grudge because you’re a tool, Alex.
Riley Cooper: Denied backstage access to a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field this summer, Cooper threatened a security guard with the proclamation “I will fight every N—-r here, bro!”
Many of us would have loved to see how things might have turned out had he made the same threat at a Kanye West show. Cooper merely found himself in a bit of hot water and has gone on to have the best season of his career with the Eagles.
Richie Incognito: The Dolphins offensive lineman has been suspended by the team for the rest of the year as they investigate his role in alleged bullying that caused fellow lineman Jonathan Martin to leave the team.
Among the things Incognito did was leave Martin a light-hearted voicemail in which he threatened to sh*t in the mouth of the “half-n—- piece of sh*t.”
Incognito said he isn’t racist, and that’s just how he and Martin communicated. Maybe he isn’t a racist. But he is definitely a douche.
Dirtbag Cheap-shot Artists
Raffi Torres: The only hockey player to make Ogie Oglethrope look like a saint was suspended for the second straight postseason, this time for a game-ending hit he put on Kings forward Jarret Stoll.
In the 2012 playoffs, Torres was suspended for 25 games for an elbow-to-head hit against Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.
Karma has struck back this season as Torres has been sidelined due to a torn ACL.
Brandon Meriweather: The NFL’s pre-eminent deliverer of cheap shots is in rare form this season.
He knocked Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy out of a game and was fined $42,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit. He was then suspended for a game after targeting the head of Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
“To be honest, you’ve just got to go low” said the Redskins safety. “You gotta end people’s careers. You gotta tear their ACLs. Mess up people’s knees. You can’t go high anymore.”
Mike Rice: The Rutgers basketball coach was fired after video surfaced of him firing basketballs at the back of his players’ heads during practice.
Need we say more?
Dan Snyder: The Washington owner’s steadfast belief that his team’s name is in no way racist is best explained by a professor.
Then there’s the whole matter of him being such a horrible person to work for that coach Mike Shanahan was prepared to quit last season even though the team made the playoffs. At least Shanahan will get his wish this year.
Dennis Rodman: The Worm fancies himself a potential Nobel Peace Prize candidate while being used as a propaganda tool by North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un. Apparently Jack Haley should still be babysitting this guy.
Tim Tebow: Remember the guy Peyton Manning replaced in Denver? Apparently he has played his last down of football.
Despite there being a passage or two in the Bible about having too much pride, Tebow has chosen to ignore the overtures of NFL teams to switch positions (to be fair, as a virgin he might not know much about changing positions) and CFL teams to be a quarterback.
Rather than adapt (to be fair, he probably doesn’t believe in evolution), Tebow has taken his ball and gone home, ultimately depriving those who enjoyed seeing him on a football field of what they want.