Sports stars who treated their fans like trash

Sports fans are used to their idols being out of sight, mythic — basically gods. But sometimes you, too, can have an encounter with the divine. Unfortunately, this often leads to you discovering that the person you thought was Zeus is much more like Hades. But even among the pricks, there's always some super-nasty thorns, and who would we be if we didn't point them all out for a bout of public shaming?

Jose Canseco

Depending on who you are, you know Jose Canseco best for: his rampant steroid use, his book about steroid abuse, that scene in Liar Liar where Jim Carrey screams his name over and over, or maybe from his baseball career. But you almost definitely know who he is because he's such a rampant jerk, because wow is that the thing he's best at.

At one point, Canseco did a Reddit AMA, and the entire thing was littered with people complaining about him, from the neighborhood kid who — suffering through his parents divorce — lost his dog because it annoyed Canseco, to the time he cut in line at Hooters. But, what about his actual fans? Well, he made sure to let them know exactly how much he cared … which is not at all. He charged ten-year-old fans up to $60 for an autograph, and once he blew off a young fan celebrating his birthday to flirt with underage girls, because he wanted to cross off "sexual predator" on his How to Be a Massive Douchebag list. Yeah, what about now Jim Carrey — still want to be Jose Canseco?

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds is legendary. He's a Hall of Famer in two categories — Baseball and Being a Big Mean Jerk. (He's a runner-up in the Hall of Fame for Sports Star Most Likely to Become a Superhero.)

But don't worry, Bonds tells us. It was all an act! Yeah, that's always helpful, knowing that the person who was a complete jerk to you wasn't doing it because he was selfish or uncaring, but because it was a methodically thought-out ploy to get attention. That feels better! At first, claims Bonds, it happened because when fame, fortune, and immense pressure jumped on him when he was too young, so it's hard not to become at least a little bit of a jerk. But once he had that image, he worked hard at maintaining it, which means he didn't go a single interaction — with anyone — without trying to at least bug them a bit, which especially sucked for his fans.

Don't worry, though, he was doing it for the fans. It's what they wanted! Yeah … okay.

Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)

Ron Artest was a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers before he ate a thunder stone (probably) and transmogrified into Metta World Peace. That was only partially a joke — he really did legally change his name to Metta World Peace, which is a bit redundant since Metta means "goodwill," so his name is basically Nice Stuff McAlsoNice.

Of course, the man with the nicest name ever is, well, very not nice. Not only was he arrested for domestic violence, he also got a job he didn't need at Circuit City simply so he could get a discount! Okay, maybe we should have reversed those two, but all in all, World Peace seems to be way less awesome than you'd think.

Okay, but did he do anything terrible to the fans? Well, what about the time he started a brawl by attacking not just a fan, but the wrong fan? See, what happened was, he was being heckled by a fan of his opposing team, because World Peace had just committed a foul. The upset fan threw his Coke at World Peace, who understandably jumped in the stands and confronted … someone else. Because when you're mad, who cares who you actually get mad at? Of course, getting up in someone's face after being heckled after fouling someone can lead to, well … this. For those who can't, or don't want to click that link, it's video of a huge brawl between World Peace's team, fans, and the opponent's team. You know, for someone who has "Peace" in his name, he's pretty darn violent.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is famous for two things — golf, and cheating his wife with so many women, it might literally have been a ton of them. Who would have guessed that someone with zero compassion towards the woman he was married to, who was famous for playing the world's most pretentious sport, would be kind of a jerk? According to his ex-coach, though, Tiger Woods isn't attempting to be a jerk, he just … can't help it. He doesn't "get it," according to that same coach. Awesome! We didn't know it worked that way. Can we be complete pricks to whoever we want and then claim, "We had no idea" too? It sounds so much easier than being nice.

In addition to cheating, Tiger Woods acts entitled, ignores fans and, oh yeah, he also reportedly crashed into his neighbor's yard, because why not go for the gold in the Jerklympics? He also mocked his neighbor's mom, just to make it clear he's The Worst.

He was pretty quiet for awhile, so maybe taking some time off to deal with all his controversies helped? Hmm … the title of this 2012 GQ article about his return is "New Tiger, Old Stripes," so we're guessing … yes?

We're wrong. No.

Brian Urlacher

Brian Urlacher played for the Chicago Bears, which is fitting because he does kinda look like a bear. He's another athlete that we don't think you'd want on your bad side. So here's all the reasons to hate him! No way this will turn out poorly for us!

Luckily, Brian Urlacher hasn't done anything too over-the-top horrible to his fans, nothing that might make you put him on this list. Oh, except for the facts that he absolutely hates his fans! You don't have to take our word for it — the man himself came out and said "Two of the people I don't care about: fans or media." Just in case you were under the misapprehension that he wasn't a complete curmudgeon, he's also said that he doesn't like like Cam Newton celebrating his touchdowns, because if Urlacher can't find joy in the world, no one should. He hates his fans and dancing? Why wasn't he cast as the bad guy in the Footloose remake?

John McEnroe

Here's a brief introduction to John McEnroe: the LA Times once said of him, "he doesn't play tennis, he provokes it." Welcome, John McEnroe, to our list of awful athletes.

McEnroe's hate and fury were the reason fans hated and loved him, because literally nothing is more fun and engaging than temper tantrums from overgrown children getting mad over playtime. But sometimes, he went a bit too far. For instance, one time he was arguing with an umpire and a fan heckled him for taking so long. McEnroe ran up to the fan and said, "You got an appointment to get to?" and … we can't exactly tell you what he said next, so let's replace the curse words with Pokemon! "What the Bulbasaur do you care, Polliwag?" What a complete and total Snorlax that guy is.

He got yelled at for saying it, but at that point he was too far gone. McEnroe turned into a slightly madder version of a rampaging gorilla, screaming at everyone, and almost beating people up. Which, we gotta say, is how we'd love to handle people we don't like, until we remember we are civilized and evolved beings and that's much a better way to be.

Albert Belle

If you don't know who Albert Belle is, he been called — by the guy promoting his book on ECW Press — "the most loathed pro baseball player since Ty Cobb," which is pretty damned impressive. He once hit a trick-or-treater with a car and then moaned that a police report was filed only because he was an athlete and not because, you know, he ran over a kid. He really believes it! That's the type of jerk this former Chicago White Sox player is — the type who gets actual mad at children he's almost killed.

But don't worry, that's not all he's done! He's so bad that, even after suffering through a career-ending injury, people weren't sympathetic. Admittedly, it's a bit hard to be sympathetic to a man who screamed at reporters, broke teammates' stuff, and just generally acted like the Hulk, on steroids. He once hit a fan in the head with a baseball, because, well, it was on hand. God knows what would happen if he were a hockey player. Probably, he would've had a better career.

Hey, we mention Cobb earlier. Speaking of him …

Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb retired back in 1928 which means, statistically, one of your grandparents thought about him at least once when they were in bed. Like most famous baseball players, he had a reputation and, like everyone else we're discussing today, his was pretty terrible. He wans't just a miserable codger — he was also so racist. He beat a black groundskeeper simply because he thought the field wasn't perfect, and then choked the man's wife out when she tried to help him.

Don't worry — there's plenty of stories about how horrible he was that don't involve racism, including the time he choked out an umpire, or the time that he beat his son with a whip. Oh, then there was the time he beat up a handicapped heckler, because his life story was presumably written by the guy behind Game of Thrones. All in all, Cobb's reputation was being basically the worst person to ever set foot on the field, which is really quite the achievement. A terrible, terrible achievement.

Floyd Mayweather

Look, there are some athletes it's okay to hate on without fear. For instance, Tiger Woods. What's he going to do, beat us to death with a golf club? He'd have to ask his caddy which one would be best to fracture our skull first, so good luck with that, kitten.

But then there are boxers. In case you missed it, a boxer's entire profession is to punch another person whose profession is to punch people, until one of them falls down from getting punched in the face so much. Why would you dare hate a person whose job it is to hurt people that much? Well, because they're just so overwhelmingly terrible. Like, for instance, Floyd Mayweather. He's racist towards Asians, hates (and allegedly beats) women, and he's just an all-around awful human being. He's also petty too, once arguing with a barber who dared to not know who he was.

Not even his fans — those who somehow can manage to overlook all of that stuff — are safe. One time when he was on vacation, a bunch of fans allegedly wanted to talk to him and get autographs. He ignored them, which isn't really terrible, although it is fairly weird, since he seems to eat and breathe recognition. It only got real bad when a fan asked for a photograph, and Mayweather reportedly threatened to beat him up.

So, know who he is? He'll hate you. Don't know who he is? He'll hate you. Write an article about how terrible a person he is? He'll … oh no.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is, without a doubt, the most famous and awesome athlete ever. We are judging that primarily on the fact that he starred in Space Jam, but he has other good qualities too. However, despite being all-around pretty awesome, Michael Jordan can still be a major jerk to his fans. He seems to be a pretty awful person actually, with a reputation of being both homophobic and fatphobic, which are two of the worst phobias around!

There are dozens of stories of him arrogantly blowing people off, like responding to requests to put out his cigar with the oh-so-popular, "Do you know who I am?" (Yes, we do: you're a jerk.) Okay, but maybe the best part? He doesn't save his scorn for the little people. Chamillionare, a famous rapper type who idolized him, asked him for a photograph and Jordan blew him off, apparently demanding $15,000 to take one stinking pic.

But maybe the very best horrible thing Michael Jordan ever did? He reportedly cheated on a no-stakes game of cards … against an old lady. Makes sense he played for the Bulls — he's a whole lot of that.