Richie Incognito and the 25 Most Despicable Athletes

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Richie Incognito and the 25 Most Despicable Athletes

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

In light of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito situation with the Miami Dolphins, it is easy to see how disruptive one player can be to an entire team. The Dolphins were going along great until Incognito’s despicable bullying tactics were shown to the public eye. He is definitely not the first person to ruin a team internally nor is he the first player to take part in a despicable act, as many athletes on this countdown have had their fair share.

Professional and collegiate athletes are human just like the rest of us, which means they are prone to make mistakes. Unfortunately, the same athletes don’t come forward with admittance when the mistakes are uncovered. That is the problem that is found in various circumstances on the slideshow.

Whether it is the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, Ryan Braun testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug or Tiger Woods trying to keep his mind-blowing encounters with various women under wraps, there are several situations that wouldn’t have been as bad if people came clean immediately. Then there are the despicable acts performed by athletes that occur in the heat of the moment, which make the rest of us question their mental stability. A solid example of that is Ron Artest’s smack down at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004.

Regardless of how the despicable athlete in question became to be known as someone despised by his or her peers, the fact is it is nearly impossible to overcome it. Make sure to click through the slideshow to see Incognito and the 20 most despicable athletes.

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25. Carlos Zambrano

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Carlos Zambrano isn’t currently in baseball and I think we can all be thankful for that. There’s no question he was a very good starting pitcher for a long time, but his poor attitude and short fuse made him someone who was impossible to root for, outside of the people of Chicago. Whether it is smashing coolers with a bat, beaming batters multiple times in a game or getting in a fight with teammates, Zambrano always seemed to have a ‘me against the world’ mentality.

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24. Richard Seymour

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Richard Seymour had a very successful NFL career, but unfortunately, he also was a huge jerk. In fact, Seymour is considered to be one of the dirtiest players to ever step on a gridiron. Seymour racked up fines over the years after he punched Ben Roethlisberger, smashed Tom Brady’s face into the ground, stepped on Tarik Glenn’s head, reportedly head butted an assistant coach and committed countless unnecessary roughness penalties.

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23. Matt Cooke

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Matt Cooke is considered one of the dirtiest hockey players of all time. The man has been suspended on numerous occasions for illegal hits and heinous acts. In particular, Cooke has caused several players to suffer from concussions for his hard hits. In his defense, he has tried to change his game so that he wouldn’t hurt any more players. However, that all went out the window in February 2013 when his skate cut Erik Karlsson’s Achilles tendon. Cooke stated it was unintentional but many of Karlsson’s teammates disagreed.

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22. James Harrison

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Linebacker James Harrison is one of the more intimidating players in the NFL. Along with that, he has a despicable attitude. Not too long ago, Harrison was voted as the meanest player in the league by his peers. He has been fined large amounts for his questionable hits, and has a poor attitude towards anyone not named Harrison. In fact, it was his quotes in a Men’s Journal article in 2011 that showed his true colors.

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21. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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There is no denying that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is an incredibly talented boxer. With that being said, he’s also one of the more despicable athletes in sports. His record of very questionable acts outside of the ring is a mile long. It includes domestic violence, battery of women, assault and harassment. The last one is something he does in the world of boxing as well. His comments toward Manny Pacquiao are rather disturbing.

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20. Phil Mickelson

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Many fans may not realize it, but there is no question Phil Mickelson is someone a majority of the golf world despises. He has been known to call out other golfers for having inferior equipment, and not showing up at major golf events when he has a chance to help his peers financially. He also switched to new Callaway equipment at the 2004 Ryder Cup without any time to get used to the new clubs and balls, which really hurt the U.S. team. However, he did get paid $7 million annually to do it.

My favorite story is when Mickelson lost a bet to three players while on a golf course. He was required to pay approximately $200,000 but refused to do it. Eventually, he coughed up the money after Billy Payne threatened to take away his ability to show his face at Augusta.

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19. Curt Schilling

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Curt Schilling, like Mickelson, definitely has loads of fans outside of his sport. However, the men that played baseball professionally with Schilling couldn’t stand him. Many believe that everything he does is an attempt to get the camera on him at just the right moment. Others think he is completely full of it. The most telling of this is the infamous bloody sock during Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. Nobody bought into it, especially the fans in New York.

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18. Tiger Woods

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Whether it is his numerous sex scandals, cheating on his wife or swearing on the golf course, Woods has turned from one of the most adored professional athletes to one of the most despicable. One would think he would try to turn his ugly ways, but unfortunately, the cursing in front of children may never end.

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17. Kurt Busch

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Kurt Busch has no problem calling out his owner after a loss or his team during a race. He simply has no respect for anyone, more specifically people who he thinks are beneath him. There is a story in which Busch was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. He gave the officer a real hard time and even asked if the officer should be directing traffic at that very moment instead of bothering him.

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16. Adam “Pacman” Jones

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Adam “Pacman” Jones has really tried to change his despicable ways, but it is clear that it is easier said than done. Jones has found himself in his fair share of fights, which includes a battle with his own bodyguard. Even though most of his troubles are behind him, Jones was issued a citation for disorderly conduct earlier this season after he had a disagreement with police. He also has been known to threaten opposing players.

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15. Jonathan Vilma and the Saints Defense

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Vilma and the Saints shocked the football world when news of the bounty scandal broke. It is one thing for a defensive captain to inspire his players by telling them to take on their matchups with extra aggressiveness. It is another to allegedly place cash down on a table and explain that anyone who takes out the quarterback gets the bounty.

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14. A.J. Pierzynski

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Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is not very well liked by his peers and it is easy to understand why once some of the stories are heard. He has no respect for the game as he constantly argues balls and strikes with umpires, talks smack to opponents and even steps on the foot of first baseman when he runs across the base.

Still not convinced? In 2004, Pierzynski took a foul tip to the groin in a game during Spring Training. When the team’s trainer, Stan Conte, ran out to make sure he was okay and ask how he felt, Pierzynski supposedly kneed Conte in the groin so that the trainer would get a first-person perspective.

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13. Roger Clemens

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Roger Clemens lied to a Congressional committee about taking performance-enhancing drugs. Not only that, but he has allegedly convinced several others in baseball to take steroids, and then denied doing so once those players got busted. Even though Clemens was found not guilty on all six accounts of lying to Congress, to believe that is like believing Barry Bonds never took steroids.

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12. Sean Avery

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Sean Avery constantly found himself in trouble during his hockey playing days. Everyone seemed to hate him, which includes fans and his own teammates. For starters, the NHL was forced to change a rule in 2008 after Avery intentionally put his hands and stick in front of goalie Martin Brodeur in an attempt to block his view. At the time, there was no rule that stated a player couldn’t do that, but it was obviously unsportsmanlike conduct.

Whether it is his “sloppy seconds” comments, feud with coaches, and just downright disrespectful acts on the ice, there is no doubt Avery is one of the most despicable men to ever play hockey.

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11. Chael Sonnen

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Chael Sonnen talked plenty of smack prior to his fight against Anderson Silva. It is not uncommon for fighters to do this leading up to a match but the amount Sonnen was doing got a little out of hand. Silva forced Sonnen to tap out as the hyped battled ended with a thud. It was later revealed that Sonnen tested for high testosterone/epitestosterone at the time of the fight. In fact, his T/E ratio was 17 times higher than it should have been.

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10. Ryan Braun

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Slugger Ryan Braun has been under much scrutiny after he didn’t tell the truth about consuming a performance-enhancing drug. Not only did he lie to his teammates, family members and friends, he embarrassed a Wisconsin hero while he was at it. Aaron Rodgers, who was one of Braun’s closest friends, publicly defended the baseball player on several occasions. Rodgers, like many others who came to Braun’s defense, was left to eat his own words.

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9. Metta World Peace

World Peace
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Metta World Peace is nowhere near the wild player that he used to be, although he still shows signs of over aggressiveness every now and then. The reason he is on this list is for his conduct during a game in 2004. He fought players, fans, and was partially responsible for a nasty brawl that gave basketball a black eye. His 86-game suspension was the longest in NBA history.

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8. Michael Vick

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Michael Vick went to prison and the rules of society state he be given another chance. Obviously, he has done more than that as he took over as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, assuming Nick Foles hasn’t already taken the job from him. Vick’s part in a gruesome dog fighting ring is the reason he is absolutely one of the most despicable athletes in sports.

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7. Alex Rodriguez

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Alex Rodriguez has so many haters it isn’t even funny. The fans hate him, his teammates don’t respect him and he just has the look of someone who is untrustworthy. His enormous ego and wild antics are just some of the reasons why Rodriguez is despised by almost everyone in baseball. The fact that he has stunk it up in the playoffs in recent years and his flirting with two girls during Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS just add to it.

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6. Mike Tyson

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Mike Tyson has made a comeback in the eyes of the people after his stint in The Hangover, his one-man show in Las Vegas and the launch of the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation. Not to mention, he is still regarded as one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. However, no one will ever forget about the time he bit a part of Evander Holyfield’s ear off. For that, he is still considered one of the most despicable athletes alive.

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5. Ndamukong Suh

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Ndamukong Suh is widely regarded as one of the dirtiest players in the league. Whether it is stomping on a player, kicking someone in the groin or unnecessary roughness, Suh always seems to find himself in trouble. One would think that a $100,000 fine would make him stop, but apparently, the guy is oblivious to his own actions.

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4. Albert Haynesworth

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Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth went from being a relatively unknown name to a household name for all of the wrong reasons. His stomp of Andrew Gurode during a contest in 2006 required the center to get 30 stitches in his head. If that wasn’t enough, Haynesworth signed a $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins and played in just 20 games after he was deemed physically unfit to play. He also punched a guy in the face during a traffic altercation last year.

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3. Barry Bonds

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Bonds might just be the most hated baseball player alive. He lied to a grand jury about his use of steroids. More importantly, he disrespected the game when he broke the holy grail of records, Hank Aaron’s all-time home run achievement, while under the influence of steroids. Even though Bond’s sentence was upheld on appeal in September, there is no question the man is guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs.

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2. Tonya Harding

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For people who are unaware of Tonya Harding and her incredibly despicable act, you’re in for a treat. The figure skater famously used accomplices to take out Nancy Kerrigan prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics. The reason for the heinous act was because Harding knew she couldn’t beat Kerrigan on a level playing field in the national championship leading up to the Olympics.

Instead of a broken leg, Kerrigan suffered a bruised knee that forced her to withdrawal from the national championship, the same event Harding went on to win. However, the good news is Kerrigan’s knee healed in time for the Olympics, which allowed her to win the Silver Medal while Harding came in eighth place.

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1. Richie Incognito

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Incognito is the reason why this slideshow of the most despicable athletes in sports was created. His bully mentality with Martin is uncalled for, regardless if he was told to do so by the coaches to toughen up the second-year player. Incognito and the rest of the Miami personnel responsible for allowing the bullying to take place deserve to lose their jobs. In fact, Incognito’s actions may mean the end of his football career.