By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on July 11, 2014
With LeBron James making his move back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it got us thinking about which other athletes have fans accepted back in their lives. Some athletes are never forgiven for leaving a fan base out in the cold, committing a crime or using performance-enhancing drugs. Then there are the athletes who make the right moves to be forgiven. Here are 10 athletes who fans are willing to welcome back with open arms.
Manny Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 after he forced the Boston Red Sox’s hand with his outrageous antics on and off the field. No one thought there could ever be reconciliation, but all was forgiven earlier this year when the Red Sox honored the 2004 World Series team. During a pre-ceremony press conference, Ramirez apologized for behaving badly. The fans roared with acceptance when he stepped onto the field.
Biting a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear off during a fight didn’t sit well with boxing fans. In fact, Mike Tyson’s overall poor demeanor was a negative on the sport. Everything seemed to change when he made an appearance in the movie “The Hangover” as well as other acting performances.
No one outside of Milwaukee has forgiven Ryan Braun for his use of PEDs and then lying about using them. There are even still people who love the Milwaukee Brewers and can’t stand him. However, overall the Brewer fan base has decided to put it all behind them. He got a standing ovation on Opening Day and the fans genuinely do support him.
Like Braun, Andy Pettitte was caught using PEDs. Unlike Braun, Pettitte came clean immediately, which is why the fans welcomed him back with open arms. Even the media allowed him a free pass. Pettitte continued to pitch for the New York Yankees, while Roger Clemens was struggling in front of a grand jury.
In 2003, Kobe Bryant was arrested and accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old hotel employee. Even though Bryant did admit to an adulterous sexual act, he denied the assault. The case was later dropped, but Bryant suffered public humiliation. It didn’t take long for the Los Angeles Laker fans to come around, along with the rest of the fans throughout the league, especially since it was revealed rape wasn’t involved.
Bill Buckner’s mishap in the 1986 World Series angered Red Sox fans to no end. Buckner couldn’t show his face anywhere in Boston without getting heckled. Some say allowing the slow roller to go through his legs cost the Red Sox the World Series. It took a few years for fans to forgive Buckner. In fact, it went both ways, as Buckner wasn’t too happy with how the fans treated him. Regardless, reconciliation did eventually occur.
Tiger Woods swearing on the golf course didn’t please many fans, but things only got worse when it was revealed that he led a double life. Woods cheating on his wife with countless women, including prostitutes, was a shock to the golf world. It has taken some time but fans have finally started to forgive him. In fact, he still remains the fan favorite every time he’s healthy enough to appear in a tournament.
Pete Rose is one of the greatest baseball players to ever live. Then, he decided to bet on baseball while he was a manager. MLB decided to make an example and not allow him in the Hall of Fame. Fans were disappointed at first, but nearly everyone has come around and forgiven Rose for what he did. At some point in the near future, don’t be surprised if he does get in the Hall of Fame, especially with all of the steroid users becoming eligible.
Brett Favre leaving the Green Bay Packers on the terms that he did caused a rift in Wisconsin. Friends and family alike were fighting over who was in the wrong and who was in the right. Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings didn’t help as it angered Packer fans greatly. The good news is both sides want reconciliation. The fans are ready to see him honored at Lambeau Field and Favre wants it to happen.
James hurt the Cavaliers fan base on national television. That led to fans publicly burning and destroying his jersey. Now, those same fans must figure out a way to repair those jerseys as James has agreed to sign with Cleveland. There’s no question the fan base is ecstatic about the move as there has certainly been forgiveness.
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