Most Hated and Controversial Sports Figures

You can't stand them. Every time they speak, you roll your eyes. They get too much media coverage. Or they are just overall bad people. We take a look at the sports figures you love to hate.

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    George Steinbrenner

    "The Boss" was one of the most hot-headed, controversial owners ever to grace sports. He would fire people on a whim. (Just ask Billy Martin who was fired and hired as the Yankees manager five different times.) Then Commissioner Fay Vincent gave Steinbrenner a lifetime ban from baseball after it was learned he paid a gambler to dig up dirt on one of his best players, Dave Winfield. Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993. Whether you love him or hate him, the man knew how to win. The Yankees won seven championships under Steinbrenner.
    AP
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    Bobby Knight

    Bobby Knight was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all-time, but he also was one of the most hated and feared. Despite winning three national championships at Indiana, he is better known for his tantrums and the fiery press conferences where he would lash out at reporters. In 2000, CNN/Sports Illustrated aired a video where he was shown choking one of his players during practice. In September of that year, a student alleges Knight grabbed him by the arm and lectured him for not showing the coach the proper respect. The former coach admitted he did grab the student by the arm, but claims he did not do it in a rough manner.
    AP
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    OJ Simpson

    O.J. Simpson was the first 2,000-yard rusher in the NFL. He did countless commercials and even had memorable roles in the "Naked Gun" movies. But June 17, 1994, the day of the infamous Bronco chase, changed his life forever, and it also changed the way the country follows celebrity trials. Despite him beating the murder charges, many people believed he killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. He is currently in a Las Vegas jail serving time for kidnapping and armed robbery.
    AP
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    Ben Roethlisberger

    He should be a God in Pittsburgh. The man has won two Super Bowls, but has also been accused of sexual assault by two different women -- one in Las Vegas, one in Georgia. Teammates have said he needs to get his head back in the game, and even Steelers' legend Terry Bradshaw said he was "learning not to like him." Many Pittsburgh fans are beginning to feel the same way, saying they believe it's time for "Big Ben" to pack his bags.
    Reuters
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    Tonya Harding

    She could've been a star, but instead she became the most notorious figure skater of all-time. Harding, her ex-husband and former bodyguard collaborated to take out Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The infamous attack on Kerrigan garnered international headlines, especially after it was learned Harding and her cohorts were in on the attack. Kerrigan ended up winning the silver during the 1994 Winter Olympics, while Harding finished 8th. Since then, the once budding figure skater has had several run-ins with the law and has competed in celebrity boxing matches.
    AP
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    Isiah Thomas

    His brashness led the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" to two NBA championships, but his on-court success never translated off the court. He was such a hated man that Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and others conspired to leave him off the 1992 Dream Team. After his playing days, Thomas purchased the Continental Basketball Association in 1998. It went belly up in 2001 with CBA managers faulting Thomas for the league's failure. It didn't get much better after that, since he almost single handedly ruined the Knicks franchise, putting the team in salary cap hell with his mismanaged contracts and trade blunders. On top of that, he was sued by a former Knicks employee for sexual harassment, in which Madison Square Garden was ordered to pay Anucha Brown Sanders nearly $12 million. And finally the kicker, Thomas tried to "cover up" an incident involving an overdose of sleeping pills in 2008 by saying it was his daughter that had to be taken to the hospital, not him.
    AP
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    Pete Rose

    He lied to us for years saying he didn't bet on baseball. Instead of coming clean to baseball and open himself up to the Hall of Fame, he decided to make a buck from his lies and finally admitted to betting on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds in his 2004 book, "My Prison Without Bars." Players who staunchly defended Rose after he was banned from baseball were outraged he would go on a publicity tour. His timing of the book also came into question -- the book came out two days after Baseball's Hall of Fame announced its induction class.
    AP
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    LeBron James

    He was the most beloved 25-year-old basketball player of his time. Then he became the biggest villain since Hulk Hogan joined the NWO when he went on national television and stabbed the entire city and fan base of Cleveland in the back. His offense? Announcing he was going to the Miami Heat. Since then, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted a letter saying LeBron quit on his team during the playoffs, Cleveland fans have burned his jerseys and the city took down his mural. Basketball greats Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird have questioned his motive for joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. However, in the end, LeBron turned his back on the city, the fans and, possibly, his legacy. 
    AP
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    Bill Belichick

    The man is one of the greatest football coaches of all time, leading the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl championships. He's also been labeled a cheater. "Spygate" was launched in 2007 after NFL security caught a Pats video assistant taping the New York Jets' signals on the sideline during a game. Then Jets head coach Eric Mangini, also former assistant coach for the Patriots, tipped off the NFL that his team was being videotaped illegally. The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 for the incident. 
    Reuters
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    Jerry Jones

    He's the owner of "America's Team" and he always seems to have a bull's-eye on him. He bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 and quickly built a Super Bowl winner with Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. Despite the three championships under his ownership, he was named the least favorite sports personality in a Sports Illustrated online poll in 2003. Many people have taken issue with him for the way he fired Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson. Some Dallas fans have even formed grass-roots organizations aimed at booting Jones out.
    AP
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    Floyd Landis

    He is currently the face of doping in cycling. He was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He even blamed the positive test on beer he drank before he finally came clean. Now Landis is trying to bring the hammer down on Lance Armstrong, accusing the seven-time Tour de France winner of paying off the International Cycling Union to keep a positive steroid test secret and of blood doping in 2002 and 2003.
    Reuters
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    Mike Tyson

    Once the most feared man in the ring, he was a force to reckon with outside the squared circle. He was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992 and ended up serving three years in an Indiana prison. He bit a part of Evander Holyfield's ear off during a fight. He commented after another fight he would eat the children of then-Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis. He has fathered seven children with several woman and has gone through bankruptcy. Tyson has tried to come back in the spotlight, having a bit part in "The Hangover" playing himself.
    AP
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    Barry Bonds

    He should be remembered as the greatest ballplayer to ever step on the field, but many will remember the home run king for the steroid cloud that always surrounded him. He has been a key figure in the BALCO scandal since 2003. During grand jury testimony that year, he said he unknowingly used performance enhancing drugs called "the clear" and "the cream" that was given to him by his trainer. In 2007, he was indicted on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Despite his head growing multiple sizes throughout his playing career, Bonds has always maintained a strict workout regimen, not steroids, is what got him in shape to break the all-time home run record.
    Reuters
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    Jose Canseco

    The once-feared slugger became the pariah of baseball after his book "Juiced" chronicled the sport's steroid era. In the book, he pointed the finger at Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro for taking steroids. (Both of which were true.) Canseco is ready at a moment's notice to go in front of a microphone and report any player who may have taken performance-enhancing drugs during his career. To keep in the spotlight nowadays, he appears on reality television and celebrity boxing matches.
    AP
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    John Rocker

    The former Atlanta Braves pitcher endeared himself to every New Yorker and non-American. In a January 2000 issue of Sports Illustrated, he offended every race, religion and creed while describing New York City with comments that would haunt the rest of his career: “It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through next to some kid with hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
    AP
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    Terrell Owens

    T.O. has been able to alienate three of the most die-hard football fan bases out there in the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys. Not to mention throw those franchise quarterbacks and teams under the bus during and after he left. One of the biggest divas to ever play the game is now wondering why he hasn’t latched onto a team yet. Hmmmmmm…..
    AP
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    Roger Clemens

    Every time he opens his mouth and says he didn’t do steroids, it seems he doth protest too much. His former trainer, Brian McNamee, and former teammate Andy Pettitte have told federal courts and investigators that Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens was so hard-pressed to clear his name, he said McNamee injected HGH into his wife so she can get ready for a photo shoot. He also didn’t leave a good taste in the mouth of fan bases in Boston and Toronto after he left for the Yankees.
    AP
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    Tiger Woods

    The way we viewed Tiger changed last Thanksgiving after he crashed his car into a tree. He threw away his legacy after cheating on his wife with 14 -- at last count -- different women. His  shenanigans may have robbed us, and himself, of seeing him become one of the greatest and most influential athletes of all times.
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    Brett Favre

    The man just won't go away. Reporters cover his every move like it will be his last. The man retired twice -- only to come back. He decided to turn his back against every Green Bay Packers fan and join the Minnesota Vikings. This came after he held the franchise hostage for years, always waiting till the last minute to announce he will come back. He is now doing the same with the Vikings.
    AP
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    Michael Vick

    He killed dogs and went to jail for it. What more do you want?
    AP
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