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20 Athletes Who Need To Keep Their Mouths Shut

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20 Athletes Who Need To Keep Their Mouth Shut

Lebron James
Getty Images

Throughout the world of professional sports, there are numerous athletes who are just bursting with personality. In most cases, these are the people surrounded by media after every event or public appearance. Yet, while having exceptional physical ability can bring a seemingly endless social following, not every athlete is cut out for life in front of a camera. In fact, here are 20 athletes who should flat-out keep their mouths shut.

20. NCAAF QB Jameis Winston

jameis winston
Sam Sharpe - USA Today Sports

20. NCAAF QB Jameis Winston

jameis winston
Sam Sharpe - USA Today Sports

QB Jameis Winston conquered the nation in 2013 with his immense playmaking ability that was on display all year long for the eventual National Champion Florida State Seminoles. Unfortunately, Winston has been unable to stay out of trouble ever since, being involved in a sexual assault investigation as well as a recent shoplifting incident. Now, it's probably best Winston rebuilds his reputation with actions instead of words.

19. NBA G Kobe Bryant

kobe bryant
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

19. NBA G Kobe Bryant

kobe bryant
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

Bryant will go down in NBA history as one of the best pure scorer's of all time. Truth be told, however, he will probably be best remembered for his Colorado rape-investigation, where Bryant allegedly forced himself on a hotel employee. He was subsequently forced to publicly admit his infidelity, and while he was accepted back to the league with open arms, the court of public opinion hasn't changed, leaving Bryant best served keeping quiet.

18. MLB OF/DH Barry Bonds

barry bonds
Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

18. MLB OF/DH Barry Bonds

barry bonds
Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

A career .298 hitter with more HRs (762) than any other player in MLB history, Bonds was also a 14-time All-Star, seven-time NL MVP and holds single season record for HRs with 73. Unfortunately, there isn't a person on the planet who believes he did it without steroids. As far as Bonds is concerned, the more he talks about it, the guiltier he becomes in the eyes of the public.

17. NFL RB Rashard Mendenhall

rashard mendenhall
Bradley Leeb - USA Today Sports

17. NFL RB Rashard Mendenhall

rashard mendenhall
Bradley Leeb - USA Today Sports

A 1st-round draft pick in 2008, Mendenhall's career was more or less pedestrian until the 2011 season. While America was celebrating the assassination of international terrorist Osama bin Laden, Mendenhall took to Twitter, criticizing the nation for celebrating the Al Qaeda leader's death while stoking the flames of 9-11 conspiracy theorists worldwide. Needless to say, his popularity took a massive hit. Perhaps he should have kept it to himself.

16. UFC Fighter Daniel Cormier

daniel cormier
Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today Sports

16. UFC Fighter Daniel Cormier

daniel cormier
Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today Sports

Cormier has taken the UFC by storm with his aggressiveness and flat-out nasty approach to his fights. However, he is now looking his toughest fight squarely in the eye as he prepares to fight UFC Champion Jon "Bones" Jones. Apparently, Cormier isn't impressed as the two have traded verbal barbs for weeks now. While Cormier is certainly a premier fighter, Jones is simply on a different level. In the end, most people just don't poke the bear.

15. NFL WR Terrell Owens

terrell owens
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

15. NFL WR Terrell Owens

terrell owens
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

Terrell Owens' antics have been well documented throughout NFL history. Though he was a prolific receiver during his All-Pro career, T.O. will forever stand for Team Obliterater. His poisonous locker room personality corrupted teammates and quarterbacks alike for over a decade before NFL coaches finally said no more. Now, Owens has even been cut by the Indoor Football League, leaving no one who cares to hear from the future Hall of Famer.

14. PGA Golfer Tiger Woods

tiger woods
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

14. PGA Golfer Tiger Woods

tiger woods
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports

Let's see, best golfer in the world? Check. Super hot bombshell of a wife? Check. Rich beyond your wildest dreams? Check. So, yeah, it's totally understandable why a person would want to screw that up. Tiger Woods, on behalf of men everywhere, shut up. Your excuses are just plain awful, and you're making us all look bad. So from now on, when people talk to you, just stare at your shoes or something.

13. MLB P Roger Clemens

roger clemens
Bob DeChiara - USA Today Sports

13. MLB P Roger Clemens

roger clemens
Bob DeChiara - USA Today Sports

Having 11 All-Star appearances, 7 Cy Young Awards, 2 World Series Rings and an AL MVP title couldn't save "Rocket" Roger Clemens from the Mitchell Report. With one league-wide investigation, Clemens went from being one of the greatest pitchers of all time to nothing more than a talented cheater. Even best friend and teammate Andy Pettitte admitted Clemens' steroid use. At this point, there is nothing that can be said to change public perception.

12. NFL OL Richie Incognito

richie incognito
Robert Mayer - USA Today Sports

12. NFL OL Richie Incognito

richie incognito
Robert Mayer - USA Today Sports

NFL offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended four games without pay and two games with pay for verbally bullying a man who was bigger than him. Ray Rice was suspended two games for beating his fiance unconscious in a public elevator on camera. Rice is now preparing for the 2014 season while Incognito is STILL unemployed. Clearly, the moral of Richie's story is shut your mouth and just assault the guy; it'll be better for your career.

11. Cyclist Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong
Getty Images

11. Cyclist Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong
Getty Images

At one point, Lance Armstrong was a national hero. He was the face of cancer survivors, and he won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times. It actually appeared the U.S. had the closest thing to Superman they could possibly get in real life. Of course, then we found out he was a fraud. Armstrong admitted to doping in 2013 after years of allegations. Now, he's more of a cautionary tale than a role model, and the sympathy has run dry.

10. UFC Fighter Ronda Rousey

ronda rousey
Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today Sports

10. UFC Fighter Ronda Rousey

ronda rousey
Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA Today Sports

The UFC broke new ground when owner Dana White signed Olympic Judo Silver Medalist Ronda Rousey to become the first ever woman's champion. Between her dominant physical abilities and her drop-dead gorgeous looks, she quickly became America's newest sweetheart. Then, she became a coach on The Ultimate Fighter TV show and the world got a look at her fiery competitive-drive that bordered on obnoxious bullying. Her image took a hit.

9. NFL OL Jonathan Martin

jonathan martin
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

9. NFL OL Jonathan Martin

jonathan martin
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

Martin is best known as the man who tattled on Richie Incognito for being a bully. Despite his massive size and professional-level athleticism, apparently Martin can't handle a little verbal ribbing. While Incognito may have gone overboard with certain racial slurs that have since become public knowledge, there is absolutely no reason for this 300-plus pound Stanford graduate to not stand his ground against a teammate bully.

8. Anyone Who Refers To Themselves As, "A Sports Entertainer"

john cena WWE
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

8. Anyone Who Refers To Themselves As, "A Sports Entertainer"

john cena WWE
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

Since the days of Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, people have been bonkers for professional wrestling. Unfortunately, organizations now feel the need for in-depth storylines to pair with their ridiculous antics. Therefore, if you look like an athlete but are forced to refer to yourself as a "sports entertainer," just SHUT UP! We stopped listening long ago.

7. MLB 3B/SS Alex Rodriguez

alex rodriguez
Joy R. Adsalon - USA Today Sports

7. MLB 3B/SS Alex Rodriguez

alexrodriguez
Joy R. Adsalon - USA Today Sports

Rodriguez was the first ever $ 250 million man in MLB when he signed his historic contract with the Rangers in 2000. While his numbers are comparable to most Hall of Famers, his legacy is forever tainted due to his association with the Biogenesis investigation and his involvement with HGH. Now A-Rod is looking at federal charges, and while people are fully aware that he's guilty, he needs to shut up just to have a chance to stay out of jail.

6. NBA F LeBron James

lebron james
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

6. NBA F LeBron James

lebron james
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports

At this point, even the great King James understands how stupid "The Decision" was. However, it did net the future Hall of Famer two championship rings to go with his mountain of hate-mail. Yet this offseason, LeBron made another decision, this time choosing to return to his hometown Cavaliers. While diehard Cleveland fans are rejoicing, James should just keep his mouth shut this time around. There's no reason to torment another fanbase.

5. Boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather

floyd mayweather
Noah K. Murray - USA Today Sports

5. Boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather

floyd mayweather
Noah K. Murray - USA Today Sports

The professional boxer known as "Money" will go down in history as one of the winningest and most eccentric fighters in history. After all, the man is rumored to carry as much as $ 100,000 in cash around with him at all times. Yet, even with a proven track record of success against top-notch opponents, Mayweather has spent the last several years dancing around a fight with contender Manny Pacquiao. Fear is a helpful motivator in keeping quiet.

4. NFL QB Tim Tebow

tim tebow
Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports

4. NFL QB Tim Tebow

tim tebow
Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today Sports

Former Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow will likely go down in history as one of the greatest collegiate players ever. Unfortunately, the same will not be said of his NFL career. Despite having a winning record as a starter in the NFL, Tebow's career fizzled quickly due to the fact that no team wants to hear his religious preaching or deal with the media circus that comes with signing him. Without those outspoken beliefs, he may still have a job.

3. NBA G/F Lance Stephenson

lance stephenson
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

3. NBA G/F Lance Stephenson

lance stephenson
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports

Nobody caught more grief during the NBA playoffs than Pacers G Lance Stephenson. Unfortunately for Stephenson, he was asked to defend four-time NBA MVP LeBron James at various times throughout their series with the Miami Heat. To make matters worse, Stephenson publicly taunted James, setting the King off and eventually leading to a Pacers collapse. Maybe he should have just kept his mouth shut. That way, the Pacers might've had a chance.

2. NFL TE Aaron Hernandez

aaron hernandez
Pool Photo - USA Today Sports

2. NFL TE Aaron Hernandez

aaron hernandez
Pool Photo - USA Today Sports

Former New England Patriots Pro Bowl TE Aaron Hernandez has been in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons over the past two years. He was arrested and charged with the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, and then he was subsequently connected to several other murders in both the Boston-area and Florida. At this point, Hernandez shouldn't be saying anything without the presence of the lawyers he can't afford.

1. NFL WR Riley Cooper

riley cooper
John Geliebter - USA Today Sports

1. NFL WR Riley Cooper

riley cooper
John Geliebter - USA Today Sports

There are few moments in recent history where a professional athlete has put their foot in their mouth as far as Eagles WR Riley Cooper. The former Florida Gator was recorded at a country music concert last offseason yelling racial slurs and profanities at a group of African-Americans. Maybe nobody told Riley that the NFL is predominantly African-American and that screaming the N-word in public could be taken as somewhat offensive to teammates.