Jay Cutler (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
No Vikings were offended in the compiling of the Forbes’ top-10 most disliked athletes, but a couple of quarterbacks seem to be irritating fans without doing anything illegal or immoral.
There are certain lists that athletes want to be on. There are others they don’t. Forbes, which is best known to sports fans as the publication that ranks the value of franchises, came out with a poll listing the 10 most disliked athletes in the country.
Fortunately for the Vikings, there were none of their players included on the list, but three of the 10 least likeable athletes are football players, including two quarterbacks that have done nothing wrong other than irritate fans – whether they’re the home fans or fans in general.
The list is a rogue’s gallery of bad behavior with a couple of exceptions. The list is as follows: Lance Armstrong, Manti T’eo, Tiger Woods, Jay Cutler, Metta World Peace, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Vick, Kurt Busch, Kobe Bryant and Tony Romo.
Most of the players on the list make sense. Armstrong’s lying makes him a logical candidate for the No. 1 spot. Not only is he unlikeable, it could be argued that he’s hated, since his likability factor was at a scant 10 percent – sinking into bin Laden country. T’eo (No. 2) wasn’t far behind, since few people believe his hoax girlfriend story because, to believe it, one has to assume that T’eo is such a moron that he could be taken in by a guy impersonating a woman and would have a long-term relationship with a woman without even meeting her.
Most of the others on the top-10 list are there for specific reasons. Woods (No. 3) was a womanizer whose indiscretions cost him millions in endorsement dollars. World Peace (No. 5) is best known for going after fans in the stands and trying to beat up the wrong guy. A-Rod (No. 6) was hated before the confirmation of his steroid use became public and even the Yankees wish he would just go away so they wouldn’t have to pay him the $110 million he’s due over the next five years. Vick (No. 7) will never be forgiven by dog lovers from the dog-fighting scandal that has followed him for the last few years – even though his hate-ranking has dropped. Busch (No. 8) gets angry behind the wheel of NASCAR vehicles and intentionally wrecks other cars at high speed when throwing a tantrum. Bryant (No. 9) is still despised by fans over the rape allegations leveled against him several years ago. Plus, it’s always fashionable to hate the Lakers, so his inclusion on the list isn’t surprising – even if he is the second-most disliked member of his team.
But the other two players on the list have done nothing specifically to draw the ire of the sports fans. Cutler (No. 4) is disliked primarily because of the way he carries himself. Always giving off the appearance of being a pouting brat, Cutler is less liked than guys like A-Rod and Vick only because of his attitude. Years earlier, fellow Bears QB Jim McMahon was immortalized in The Super Bowl Shuffle as “the punky QB.” Cutler is just “the punk QB” and fans don’t care for it. Yet, he’s done nothing illegal to garner inclusion other than shoving teammates and walking away from his offensive coordinator on a national TV.
But, perhaps the most telling player on the list is Romo at No. 10. Compared to the other guys on the list, Romo is like a choirboy. He is the face of the Cowboys franchise. Not only has he done nothing shocking or salacious, he’s actually a pretty decent guy. He does charitable work. He’s the smile face of Jerry Jones’ $2 billion franchise and has always been accommodating to the media. He tries to make people like him, but clearly it hasn’t worked.
Fortunately for the Vikings and their fans, no Minnesota players were on the list that nobody wants to get on. While Christian Ponder has a long way to go to win over Vikings fans, he can proudly say, “They don’t dislike me. They really don’t dislike me.” Most of the 10 athletes that top the list have reason to be there, but Cutler and Romo have to be shaking their heads and wondering what they’ve done to mobilize fans so strongly against them because it seems clear that the fans have spoken and neither of them is loved and beloved by the fans of the sport.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.