Granted, way too many sports stars today are embroiled in pretty disgraceful behavior, but not all are the villains they are made out to be.
The Internet generation's addiction to controversies and hatred has soared to such a level that we now sometimes fabricate villains even if they don't exist. The world of sports is the easiest place to find characters who are susceptible to doing stupid stuff and who aren't eloquent enough to clear their name from a PR disaster. This is where media vultures take advantage of them and turn them into spiteful beings so as to benefit from their plight.
Down below are 10 such sports stars who had a year to forget in 2014. In other words, the hate they got and the bad rap they earned far outweighed their crime.
OK, so breaking up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki just days before their wedding was a pretty douchey move on Rory McIlroy's part, but that's his personal life. Instead of going through with what would've definitely been a failed marriage, he cut both their losses. His haters don't see that way though.
His decision proved fruitful for the both of them. The 25-year-old captured three of the four majors and finished as the World Number One, while Wozniacki made the U.S. Open final after several years of anonymity. He should be admired by sports fans, if anything, for boosting both their careers.
What does a man have to do to prove he is the best footballer in the world? Whatever it is, Cristiano Ronaldo did it in 2014. He scored more goals and recorded more assists in fewer matches than his arch-nemesis Lionel Messi, and also won the club football's greatest price, the Champion's League. Oh, and he also did a ton of charity work, yet he is a popular figure to hate in football circles. Why?
There may be much bigger management entities than the NFL, but none can be just as difficult to head. It is no joke to be the commissioner of a league of 32 franchises, each one of which harbors dozens of characters more fit for prison than a playing field. It certainly isn't a kindhearted man's job, and this is why Roger Goodell is in charge at the NFL headquarters and not some ordinary business executive.
It's not his fault that even at 36 Kobe Bryant is the best player on an extremely bad Lakers team. He takes a lot of shots, but he has to. Otherwise, who would score the points? Guys like Carlos Boozer? The Black Mamba's overly critical behavior with his teammates is another thing that has added to the sentiments of hatred for him amongst fans. But then, if Michael Jordan was on a roster this bad, he would've brought a gun to training each day.
The cannibal within this great Uruguayan striker reared his head once again during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Yes, he gnawed on Italian, but he paid the price too, didn't he? Hefty fine, lengthy suspension – he got both. He commits the crime, but he can also do the time, so why hate? He at least provides good entertainment.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pretty Boy Floyd is more successful in boxing than Michael Jordan was in his basketball career. He is undefeated in his 47 fights and even the greatest of his critics admit that he is the best boxer of his generation. Yet, he isn't revered as someone with his record and talent should be. Already unpopular, he saw hatred for himself grow even more in 2014, thanks to his continuous dodging of the one fight the entire boxing world wants to see.
Add to it the never-ending flaunting of his riches on social networks and it becomes clear why he is hated so much. But he isn't the only one he does that, and even without that fight with Manny Pacquiao he will go down as one of the greatest ever. So why do people have feelings of ill will for him?
Notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez – who had butchered 14 innocent people in the 1980s – spent 23 years on death row before dying of cancer last year. At the time of his death, only a few remembered of his heinous crimes, as by then he had earned the reputation of a mythical villain who committed his crimes so long ago, it barely mattered.
On the other hand, when Ray Rice's infamous punch video came out, he was castigated and turned into the biggest sporting villain of the year. Yes, the video was bad, but both the victim as well as the offender had kissed and made up immediately after as a new video recently showed. To cut it short, Rice punched, Janay Rice got hit ... they don't have a problem with that, so what's there for the world to complain about?