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Top 20 Sports Villains of 2012

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Every year someone in the world of sports does something or a string of things that really aren't popular in the eyes of others. Players leave for other teams at highly ill-advised times, commissioners make absolutely moronic decisions that affect their respective sports in a negative way, athletes lie about using performance-enhancing drugs, coaches lie about their careers (and in some case extramarital affairs) and so much more.

A lot of these things are normal daily events in the world of professional sports where, contrary to popular belief, money does influence literally everything. However, some of these events are drastic and/or publicized in an awful fashion (see James, LeBron: 2010) and lead to the demise of a franchise/fan base. The culprits behind such events are labeled as villains. Yep, just like ones in comic books and Saturday morning cartoons.

So which ones were the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) in the last calendar year? RantSports.com has compiled a list that includes 20 of the best/worst of 2012. These are the members of the sports world that you now love to hate, even if you genuinely loved them before. Funny how sports can change that just like other part of life, isn't it? Well, maybe it's not so funny for some fan bases, especially ones like the Cleveland Cavaliers' after James' exit. They'll probably never recover from that. Poor Cleveland.

So let's get to it! Here are the top 20 sports villains of 2012.

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Carl Nicks

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's one thing to leave a team for a truckload of money, but it's another to leave a team for its biggest rival.

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Gary Bettman

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NHL fans are livid with this man and that won't change if and when the lockout ends and hockey is restored.

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Albert Pujols

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

How can you leave the only team for which you've ever played right after winning the World Series? Dude wouldn't got plenty of cash in St. Louis. The bright lights of LA snagged another one.

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CJ Wilson

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, CJ Wilson is from Southern California, but leaving a team on which you're the ace for its biggest division rival after back-to-back World Series trips is Bush League.

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Ray Allen

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are about as fierce as it gets when it comes to out-of-division, intra-conference rivals. For Ray Allen to leave one for the other is sacrilegious.

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Urban Meyer

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The worst part about Urban Meyer's situation is everyone had sympathy for him when he left Florida for "personal reasons" but that was only to wait for another superb college football coaching job to come open it seems.

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Mike Tannenbaum

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The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

How can you take Tim Tebow from the humble fans in Denver to the immoral circus that is the New York Jets? Shame on you, Mike Tannenbaum.

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Theo Epstein

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Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

He left the Boston Red Sox in a state of absolute turmoil. Theo Epstein literally could not have left his old team in worse shape. Well, he paid for it because the Chicago Cubs are even worse.

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Bobby Petrino

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Putting a program in utter disarray and then lying about it to cover up an affair definitely puts you on the villain list.

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Roger Goodell

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a year after nearly ruining the NFL season due to a lockout, Roger Goodell did ruin the first part of the 2012 campaign by forcing the replacement refs upon us. If the Seattle Seahawks make the playoffs by one game and the Green Bay Packers end up having to play them, Goodell won't be welcome in Wisconsin anymore.

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Lance Armstrong

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Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

He's still an inspiration to those who suffer from cancer, but Lance Armstrong lost a lot of respect when he gave up the fight to clear his name from accusation of doping. In short, he quit, which is something he always told others never to do.

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Gregg Williams

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints Bountygate scandal was primarily because of their then-defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. After hearing the audio of him telling his players to knock Frank Gore's head sideways, he's definitely a villain.

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Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

If all of his other absolutely ridiculous instances weren't enough, Ron Artest (I refuse to call him by that moronic name) threw an elbow into James Harden's head that knocked him to the floor. If you say it was unintentional, you shouldn't be allowed to watch or talk about basketball ever again, just like he shouldn't be allowed to play it.

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Dwight Howard

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Another Los Angeles Lakers bawl bag makes the list as Dwight Howard strung the Orlando Magic out like a moody middle school girl before eventually making his way to Hollywood. In less than a full season, Howard went from one of the league's most likable players to the top of the villain list.

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Steve Nash

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

And the LA trifecta! No one would have faulted Steve Nash for leaving Phoenix if he had signed with literally any team except the Lakers.

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Ndamukong Suh

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Two years in a row this hothead stomped on an opposing player on Thanksgiving Day on national television. Ndamukong Suh is definitely getting coal in his stocking again this year.

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David Stern

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

David Stern clearly needs to bump up his retirement date. He fined the San Antonio Spurs half a million dollars for resting some of their starters, which is something they do literally every week. Dude is whack.

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Derek Jeter

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The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven't heard already, Derek Jeter is quite the lady's "man." He gets intimate with a different date pretty much daily, so of course he didn't remember one "lucky" girl who slept with him twice and received the same gift basket full of signed memorabilia again the next morning. Villain probably isn't a strong enough word, actually...

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Jerry Sandusky

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Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 accounts of child sexual abuse. Enough said.

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Josh Hamilton

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The latest polarizing star to leave a success-starved, loyal fan base for a division rival is Josh Hamilton. The Texas Rangers offered him less than the Los Angeles Angels, so he bolted. This self-proclaimed religious guy has apparently never read 1 Timothy 6:10.


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