44 Biggest Jerks in Sports History
Sports are religion to many people around the world. Its competitors and coaches are beloved and revered for their abilities and lauded for their successes. They become heroes to kids and adults, alike. Despite that, there are some athletes who are less than delightful as people.
While it's true that nobody is perfect, some have more obvious flaws than others. So, here's a list of 44 individuals who might be among the biggest jerks to ever be involved in sports. Do you have any guesses about who might be on the list? How about the person in the number one spot? Do you agree with this list? Who else was missed? We will now look at number 44 to number one, plus list a few honorable mentions who just missed appearing in the top 44.
Hope Solo is not one to keep her comments to herself. This world-class goalkeeper has been known to publicly criticize anyone she sees fit—including coaches and both former and current members of the Women's National Soccer Team.
And that's not even counting the allegations of assaulting family member—including a nephew who was underage at the time.
Baby Bubba is often seen berating his caddie or complaining about something happening on the golf course. He was even the “winner” of an ESPN poll for the most disliked player on the PGA tour.
Often talking about his mental health issues making him this way, we hope the two-time Masters Champion is okay, but for those reasons believe he belongs on the list.
Armstrong is quite possibly the sports world's most infamous cheater--he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, including during the Tour de France.
What makes this ever jerkier is how much goodwill he had cultivated with the public through his Livestrong charity. That all obviously went down the drain, though.
Does anyone actually like the former slugger from Pittsburgh and San Francisco? Not only does he have an unfriendly reputation with his teammates, he allegedly descended into using illegal performance-enhancing drugs when he apparently became jealous of others who were hitting more homers than he was.
Despite being the all-time home run king, Barry is not in the hall of fame due to his known use of performance-enhancing drugs.
A whole movie was made about the time Tonya got her ex-husband to injure her competition, Nancy Kerrigan. She was banned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association for life in the summer of 1994.
But despite her reputation, she went on to compete as a professional boxer in the early 2000s and came in third place on season 26 of Dancing With the Stars. It's not quite a "glorious" comeback, but we guess it counts.
Rodney Harrison has injured several folks and even changed history (in a good way) for the St. Louis Rams as he went low on QB Trent Green to end his season and get into the Kurt Warner era.
Still, voted by players and coaches as the league’s dirtiest player multiple times. He also was suspended in 2002 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the legendary Jerry Rice.
Detroit Pistons center and “Bad Boys” member, Laimbeer terrorized people on the court his entire career. Teams hated playing him and fans hated him for his hard fouls and trash talk.
He retired after an incident at practice that resulted in teammate and best friend Isiah Thomas, breaking his hand. What a teammate and buddy!
This all-time great QB does not seem to be the nicest of guys. He's estranged from his entire family and always looks like he doesn't care about much of anything. Rodgers had a relationship with Olivia Munn as a PR stunt and is now engaged to actress Shailene Woodley seemingly out of nowhere. He's a good QB, but his life off the field seems to be a mess. Jerk or not—he's often in the news but never for good reasons.
Recently, he's made the news about not getting vaccinated (or actually that he had lied about getting vaxed). In August, he stated that he had been "immunized" for COVID-19, but then a few months later he caught COVID. That's when he told everyone he wasn't vaccinated. As if that wasn't bad enough, he made some pretty crappy statements stating that he won't let the "woke cancel culture" stop him from expressing himself.
Widely accepted as the GOAT in Basketball, MJ has always been less than congenial. Hyper competitive, he always must win at whatever he does.
It was what made him a great player, but it also helps land him on this list. (Not to mention the hush money he paid a former girlfriend to keep quiet about their relationship while married...)
Charlie Hustle certainly belongs on any list like this. The question is really which is the worst he has ever done? Betting on and being banned from Baseball or hurting his apparent friend and catcher Ray Fosse scoring to try to win the 1970 all-star game. Fosse still hurts and says Rose is not telling the truth when he tells the story of their relationship after it happened.
There might have been a little tax evasion thrown into the mix as well, but even if you don't count that, Rose has done enough for two jerky lifetimes.
Though one of the best tennis players to ever grace the courts, Serena has been criticized recently for her antics on the court.
Calling the referee, a “liar” and a “thief” in the 2018 U.S. Open, as well as receiving a fine in 2019 at Wimbledon for damaging the court during one of her practices sessions, she has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons.
The third Baltimore Ravens-affiliated player makes our list (following Shannon Sharpe and Ray Rice). Though one of the best to ever play the game, Lewis was arrested for murder at a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in 2000 and reached a plea deal. He later paid a settlement to pre-empt a civil trial.
The Former “U” star never really got out of the shadow of suspicion on that one. It's known that the white suit he was wearing was never found and that there was the blood of one of the two victims that was found in his limousine. Interesting!
The MMA fighter has a long history of being a jerk—he's under investigation for sexual assault in Ireland, he's made publicly racist comments, and he's buddies with Vladimir Putin—and he most recently went to jail for a few hours after breaking a fan's phone. He then sold the t-shirt he was wearing at the time on his website.
He's not exactly the kind of person you want to skip arm in arm down the street with.
A list of jerks would not be complete without Ray Rice. The now-famous footage of him punching his fiancé’s lights out in an elevator is as famous as it is disturbing.
Thankfully, this NFL star was suspended indefinitely and never played in the league again. Thank you, Mr. Goodell!
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is no stranger to controversy. He's left a twenty-cent tip, and he spoiled the plot of Avengers: Endgame.
But the most serious jerk-worthy allegations came from an Instagram post accusing McCoy of beating a woman. He denied the accusations, and the post was later deleted.
Another one who is both beloved and hated, Phil does rub some people the wrong way. He's always jabbing and talking trash to players and has been known to shun autograph seekers at times.
He has also been accused of insider training and allegedly running up millions in gambling debt. Phil keeps very busy. Still, I think everyone is tired of seeing him in all the commercials for the products he endorses!
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. may be at the top of the boxing world, but outside of the ring, he’s got quite the questionable reputation. Mayweather has a history of legal troubles related to domestic violence, and sports star or not, that’s not something anyone should be cool with.
If those weren't enough, there's more. There's also video footage of Mayweather setting money on fire as a way to display just how wealthy he is.
Both beloved and hated, Woods deserves to be on this list for his series of transgressions. Though he seems to have cooled his attitude recently, he has always been cold and steely as well as a womanizer who had multiple affairs outside of marriage.
There have also been stories of him stiffing hard-working waiters and waitresses when it comes to tipping. I, myself, will always root for Tiger, but I believe a lot of folks would say he belongs on this list.
Bill “Bellicheat” is widely respected as one of the best coaches in the history of the NFL. Still, a known and punished cheater (see taping Rams practice before SB XXXVI, and deflategate, and who knows what else), Bellicheck is a jerk.
Apparently also Being named in a divorce case as the other man, his relationship with a former Giants admin even further cements him of one of sports all-time jerks.
The Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the game, Sharpe aggravated opponents and probably some of his teammates throughout a long and successful career. Now, he's getting to annoy people during his post playing broadcasting/talk show career. Yay!
And you better believe he's got the audacity to use his new platform to decree others to be jerks. What a class act!
Scottie Pippen is allegedly a bad tipper--apparently restaurant workers used to refer to him as "No Tippin' Pippen."
But that's not the worst of his restaurant troubles. In 2013, Pippen was accused of attacking a photographer in a restaurant, although the charges were later dropped.
Seemingly hated by all opponents, this long-time 49er, Bronco, and Raider had a reputation for being a jerk on the field. Receiving many fines for his on-field antics and dirty play, there's no doubt a lot of former players would love to get a shot on Romo.
Later, it was found he was using performance-enhancing drugs. Perhaps that's what gave him his delightfully dirty personality...
After being incarcerated in high school and going on to star at Georgetown, Iverson became one of the biggest stars during his time in the NBA. His famous “practice” rant talking down the importance of practice and talking up his importance is still shown many years after it happened.
Still, “The Answer” had a reputation of being a locker room cancer and jerk. He sure did play hard, though!
Though mild-mannered and relatively un-emotional on the course, the current #1 player in the world had a reputation for drugs and banging other tour members’ wives.
So, he deserves to be on a list of jerks. Now, having a child with Paulina Gretzky, we hope he isn’t as “active” socially with other players’ wives.
TO was certainly one of the most gifted and hardworking receivers to ever play the game. Still, this Hall of Famer could frequently be a jerk.
Admitting to spitting in the face of Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall as well as his over-the-top touchdown and other celebrations and outbursts are enough to land him on this list.
Though arguably the best college football coach in history, Saban has made a name belittling reporters and fans alike.
He and Bill Belichick (spoiler alert: he will make an appearance on this list also) are good friends. No one will doubt his success on the college football field, but a lot are off-put by the way he treats people, especially reporters.
The six-time super bowl champion and d-bag extraordinaire deserves to be on this list. Not only has he been associated with the Patriots' cheating schemes and his deflategate controversy; he also wears and promotes male UGGs!
If that's not an unforgivable sin, then we don't know what is. Cheat all you want, honestly, as long as you leave the Uggs out of it.
The 300-game winner and suspected performance enhancing drug user is not in the hall of fame as he should probably be. Still, he is a jerk and threw a broken bat famously back at Mike Piazza during a 2000 world series game. He was also quoted as complaining about having to carry his own luggage through airports.
Still, he was accused of many affairs, including one with country star Mindy McCready that allegedly started when she was as young as 15. One of the all-time greats was surely beloved but still was not without his share of controversy
You wouldn't think someone who has a sandwich named after him would be that jerky. That is not the case for “Rapelisberger”.
He was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Lake Tahoe resort in 2008, and it has come to light that he might not be the best teammate and leader. Big Ben certainly gets a nod to be added to this list.
His name alone makes you think he might be a jerk without even meeting him. Still, he bullied his Miami Dolphins teammate several years ago so badly, that he was planning suicide and wanted to quit the team.
Seemingly always involved in some weird story, Richie should be a mainstay on any such list! PS: Don’t even ask about when he was arrested for threatening to shoot up the funeral home after his father’s death!
Ron Artest (Metta World Peace)
Before he became Metta World Peace, Ron Artest was a much-disliked Indiana Pacer who was known for going into the crowd at a game to engage in a fight against fans. After which, he received the longest suspension in the history of the NBA (86 games). Does it get much jerkier than that?
You can rebrand yourself as anything you want, but your personal history is going to speak louder than throwing "World Peace" in your name.
Although he's one of the best receivers in the game right now, AB has gone off the deep end recently in his unceremonious departure from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He torched everyone on the way out of the organization who drafted him as he demanded a trade. Then there's his multiple fines for excessive celebrations and the sexual assault accusations from his former trainer that just came out...
Latrell, a talented scorer and long-time NBA player, he did gain some notoriety for choking his coach PJ Carlesimo after a disagreement. A player. Choking. His Coach. Really?
I am sure a ton of players have wanted to choke their coach at one time or another, but Sprewell seems to be the only one who carried it through. Well done, jerk.
The “Georgia Peach” was one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball and is second in hits only to another jerk on our list, Pete Rose.
Even though his bad reputation has been called into question lately, he was widely known for being a racist jerk who was disliked by opponents and teammates alike.
Hernandez was convicted for one murder and was then indicted for a double murder committed during his time as a Florida Gator. Needless to say, Hernandez is undeniably terrible. While incarcerated for one murder, he was found dead in his jail cell.
Yet another jerk with New England Patriot ties, Hernandez is the highest of the Pats on the list.
Even though their names are spelled differently, this Rae makes Ray Rice look like a church deacon. The former Carolina Panthers star hired someone to kill his pregnant girlfriend.
Though the girlfriend died, the child survived and now lives with permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy as a result of the incident. Now, years later, Rae is wanting a relationship with him. Are you kidding me?
Vontaze Burfict might do okay as a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders, but his personal life could use a little work.
Notorious for playing dangerously rough, Burfict is no upstanding athlete, either--he's been known to threaten other players on the field. It's no surprise he's constantly on the NFL's radar for disciplinary issues.
It's seems kinda crazy to think of a professional race car driver with road rage, but here we are talking about Tony Stewart. His bad attitude led to tragedy when he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a race.
When Ward got out of his car to confront Stewart about ramming him, the angry racer attempt to scare Ward by swerving close. Unfortunately, he cut it too close and Ward lost his life.
Lots of professional baseball players probably know what it's like to have an entire town mad at you, but most of the time it's because of what they do (or don't do) on the field. In the case of Dustin Pedroia, it's because of what he said.
In a magazine interview, Pedroia called his hometown of Woodland, California a "dump" among other unsavory things. While he later insisted he was joking, the interviewer insists the baseball player was being sincere.
Baseball players might hate the other team, but it's rare you see a clash between teammates. Unfortunately for Jonathan Papelbon, he found himself in the middle of just that.
The Washington Nationals suspended him in 2015 after an incident that culminated with him choking teammate Bryce Harper. Apparently almost killing someone really hurts camaraderie.
Alex Rodriguez had it all until he found himself caught up in a steroids scandal. After it came to light that he had recieved human growth hormone from an anti-aging clinic, the MLB suspended him for 162 games—effectively the entire 2014 season.
Thankfully, Rodriguez seems to have been trying to turn his life around in recent years. Here's hoping that his jerkiest days are behind him. Although he and JLo did just call off their engagement because he cheated on her. Cheating on JLo alone is enough to make it onto this list!
Hernandez might not be a full-blown jerk, but he does have the ability to put his foot in his mouth. In 2006, while broadcasting from a baseball game, Hernandez remarked that women don't belong in the dugout.
He later said he was joking, but he didn't find many people laughing.
Warren Sapp is a former NFL player, whose entire time there was marked by a reputation for rough play and unsportsmanlike conduct.
One of his worst outbursts was in 2007, when he was ejected from a game after getting irate with a referee.
We thought we should also recognize some other known-jerks as “Honorable Mentions’ here. These are folks who didn’t quite make the list, but very well could have: Brett Favre, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, Dan Marino.
Who else do you think should be on here?