Top 15 Worst Athlete Role Models in Sports

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15 Worst Athlete Role Models

athlete role models
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It's unfortunate these days in sports that there are such bad role models out there. I'm not talking about coaches and executives -- although they aren't always the best role models -- I'm talking about the athletes. It's sad that some athletes are given all the attention and respect in the world and they turn around and betray the trust that some fans give to them.

Failing to live up to your fans' trust is one of the worst things that an athlete could possibly do. I have compiled a list of the 15 worst current athlete role models. In past years, guys like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson have been the kind of guys that parents wish their kids would veer away from supporting.

As an athlete, being a role model is something that's expected of them -- whether they like it or not. Some athletes have been tremendous role models over the years. Some guys love to play the game and are great with the general public, taking to the community to help out and even donate to charities.

What does it mean to be a terrible role model? Well, it can involve any number of things. Cheating in sports is a way you can be considered a bad role model -- such as steroids and other performance enhancers. Cheating on spouses, although it's not actually part of the playing field, is a poor representation of yourself and the sport you play. Off-field issues can make you a bad role model -- like run-ins with the law and flat-out disregard for rules and regulations in and outside of the sport. Don't forget just being ignorant, arrogant athletes who only cares about themselves and money -- that's grounds for being a terrible role model.

Take a look at the list of 15 of the worst athlete role models in today's sporting world. Let me know who I've missed.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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15. Luis Suarez


Suarez is one of the least respected soccer players out there because of his poor antics and decisions on the field in the past few years. Suarez was suspended for shouting racial slurs at an opponent in 2011 and made obscene gestures toward fans shortly after. Oh yeah, and he bit an opponent -- all of which cost him big money.

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14. J.R. Smith

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Smith blew past a stop sign and collided with another car in 2007 that led to his passenger's eventual death -- that was his second car accident of the year. He has been accused of being a member of the Bloods gang and was recently fined for threatening fellow NBA player Brandon Jennings.

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13. LeBron James

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LeBron isn't a terrible person off the court -- or on the court, for that matter -- but his quitting on the Cleveland Cavaliers to pursue something easier is not a lesson you want to teach your children. Imagine if parents told their kids, "If the going gets tough, just quit and do something easier". Yeah, that'd be messed up.

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12. Johnny Manziel

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Involved in an illegal benefits investigation for signing a ridiculous amounts of autographs that were likely sold for his benefit isn't something to be proud of. Not to mention his underage drinking, freshman year arrest for getting in a fight at a bar and presenting the officer with a fake I.D. and his mass amounts of partying.

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11. Metta World Peace

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Do you remember the "Malice at the Palace"? One of the worst brawls in NBA history happened when Metta World Peace, then named Ron Artest, went into the stands and started beating on some fans. Moral of the story: never beat up fans. He has been known as the NBA's bad boy ever since.

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10. Richie Incognito

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Richie Incognito has been labeled a bully and that will likely never change. No parent wants their son or daughter to be a bully.

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9. Dwight Howard

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Dwight is the epitome of a whining child. He is a child in a grown man's body and it's almost a shame that he makes as much money as he does. People have told him since he was young how great he is and you can see that in the way he acts, demanding trades and getting his head coaches fired. Nobody likes a crybaby.

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8. Ben Roethlisberger

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Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of sexual assault twice -- by two different victims. He's just not making a positive name for himself with accusations like that popping up. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even sent him a letter telling him that he needs to step up and be more of a role model.

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7. Adam "Pacman" Jones

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Jones has not been the smartest of NFL players. The guy has had run-ins with the law like it's his job and he was involved in a controversy in 2007 when he "made it rain" at a strip club then allegedly assaulted a stripper when she tried picking the money up. He was accused of assaulting another stripper a little less than a year later and has been in trouble because of his gun toting. This guy is a terrible influence on young children.

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6. Michael Vick

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Vick spent time in jail for hosting dog-fighting events on his property in Virginia. The electrifying quarterback then spent some time in prison and has been a hated person ever since.

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5. Titus Young

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Run-ins with the law, trouble on the field with penalties and not showing up to court. This guy has more problems than he has friends in the NFL.

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4. Alex Rodriguez

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Rodriguez is a liar, cheater and overall terrible person. What kind of role model does a steroid-using baseball player who lies about taking them make? A terrible one.

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3. Tiger Woods

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Well, Tiger is a great golfer, but cheating on his wife wasn't so great. He turned out to be one of those guys who kept his personal life so secret that it was unhealthy. He was then exposed to great lengths through text messages to mistresses and his marriage abruptly ended.

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2. Ryan Braun

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Braun, like Rodriguez, is a liar and a cheater. However, he is higher on this list because he was proven guilty already -- when A-Rod is proven guilty, he will jump Braun. The former MVP lied to close friends and family about using performance enhancers and looked dumb when he was caught. He was then forced to apologize and fess up -- embarrassment to baseball.

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1. Aaron Hernandez

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Honestly, no caption is needed. This guy is the worst kind of person and someone you would hope your children never aspire to be like.