Back in February, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson appeared on The View to surprise one of his biggest fans, Nadin Khoury, a 13-year-old Pennsylvanian who was the victim of teen bullying. Jackson literally gave Khory the jersey off his back, in a truly touching moment that showed the Pro Bowl receiver’s compassionate side.
Well, so much for all of that.
This season, Jackson’s public persona has gotten slammed due to an ongoing contract dispute that may or may not be affecting his play on the field. The story reached a boiling point November 12 when Jackson missed a mandatory team meeting and, as a result, was benched the following day in a must-win game against the Arizona Cardinals. A game the Eagles lost.
While the team initially reported that Jackson “overslept,” the star receiver refused to give an explanation for his absence, and questions loom over whether he was making a statement. Nonetheless, the ongoing issue is making Jackson unpopular among some teammates, who have grown frustrated with Jackson’s contract-fueled… frustration.
Still, Jackson’s got a ways to go before entering the upper pantheon of “Me-First” athletes in team sports. Here is the definitive list; the Mount Rushmore of selfish star players (if Mount Rushmore had 10 heads).
|Sean smiles for the cameras.|
He’s the lone hockey representative on this list, and who better than the “Most Hated Player in the NHL?” Avery has been a headache for four different NHL franchises, and is currently in his second stint with the New York Rangers.
Known as one of the league’s dirtiest players, with one of the biggest mouths (he infamously called out Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf for getting his “sloppy seconds” with actress Elisha Cuthbert), Avery even had a league rule named after himsimply for being a dick. Following an incident with Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils in the 2008 NHL Playoffs, The “Sean Avery Rule” was enacted to prohibit players from waiving their sticks in the face of an opposing goalie. Sean Avery, ladies and gentlemen…
As the only wide receiver taken first overall in the NFL Draft the last 27 years (1996), it was no surprise that Johnson entered the league with a sense of entitlement. Or that Johnson earned the nickname Me-Shawn. Or that this was the title of his rookie season autobiography.
Throughout his career, Johnson gained a reputation for being difficult with both teammates and coaches. He feuded with fellow Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, arguingyou guessed itthat he should receive more passes. In 2003, as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Keyshawn was suspended by coach Jon Gruden for the final six games of the season due to his conduct. Hell, earlier that year, after Johnson won the only Super Bowl title of his career, he donned a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey during the post-game celebration. He played for the Buccaneers. You can’t make this stuff up.
One of the NBA’s biggest fan favorites after entering the league in 1999, Carter became the game’s new “human highlight reel,” owing to his explosive dunks (most notably in the 2000 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, and over Frederic Weis in the 2000 Summer Olympics). Unfortunately, nagging injuries sapped Carter’s athleticism and derailed a great career early in its tracks.
Even more unfortunate, Carter became a malcontent towards the end of his playing days on the Toronto Raptors. By the 2004 season, many in the media accused Carter of dogging it on the court in an effort to force a trade out of Torontowhich is exactly what happened in December, when he was dealt to the New Jersey Nets. But was the writing on the wall? This is a player who chose to attend his college graduation on the same day as Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference finals, a game the Raptors went on to lose, with Carter missing the game-winning shot. At least he put his education first?
|The A-Rod is not happy.|
Being one of the highest paid players in sports year after year is usually a prerequisite for the egotistical athlete. Ever since A-Rod signed a $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers in 2001, the question became, how much of a team player is a guy that earns a salary equal to the budget of some small countries?
Despite posting amazing numbers, A-Rod didn’t make sense in Texas, as the team simply couldn’t afford to build around their nine-figure superstar. While Rodriguez fit in more on the New York Yankees from a financial sense, rumors still flew that he was unpopular in the clubhouse. Former skipper Joe Torre noted in his book The Yankee Years that A-Rod was nicknamed “A-Fraud” due to constant selfish demands, as well as a list of contract clauses that resembles a biblical scroll. And to think, being hand fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz wasn’t even one of them.
While he may not be the most recognizable name, no list of horrible teammates would be complete without Romanowski. Was the four-time Super Bowl champion linebacker accused of not giving 100 percent on the field? Never. Was the two-time Pro Bowl talent known for missing the occasional practice or meeting? A near flawless attendance record wouldn’t surprise.
No, Romanowski will always go down as a locker room leper for one nagging habitbeating the shit out of his own teammates. Being passionate on the field is one thing; ending the career of a guy who dons the same team jersey is quite another. Yet that’s exactly what happened during an Oakland Raiders scrimmage back in 2003, when Romanowski got into a scuffle with tight end Marcus Williams. The allegedly “’roid raging” linebacker tore off Williams’ helmet, and delivered a haymaker that crushed one of his eye sockets. Romanowski’s career ended shortly thereafter too, and honestly, locker room fights have just never been the same. Tear.
Another lesser-known player, it’s hard to argue whether there was ever a worse teammate than the man who shares his name with America’s favorite maker of classic board games. As far as the professional baseball player is concerned, you can literally create your own top 10 list of detrimental moments during the career of the man known as “Meltdown” Bradley. In fact, someone already did.
Bradley hasn’t been a stranger to in-game ejections or suspensions, which in turn have done no favors for his teammates. Whether it’s tossing a bag of baseballs onto the field after arguing with an umpire or tearing his ACL after (you guessed it) arguing with an umpire, Bradley is never at a loss for finding creative ways to take himself out of games. He’s had several well-documented clubhouse feuds (with players like Jeff Kent and managers like Lou Piniella) and has managed to wear out his welcome on eight teams in just 11 years. When it comes to anti-team athletes, Bradley is the gift that keeps on giving.
What’s the name of that famous
psychologist… Sigmund Fff…
Sigmund Fuh… anyone?
There has probably never been a player as soft-spoken, yet universally despised, as baseball’s all-time home run king (ASTERISK). Bonds wasn’t one of the biggest trash talkers in MLB history, but rather a subtle assassin who did things, such as walking into a team pitchers meeting after becoming a member of the San Francisco Giants, and pointing out all the guys he’s homered off of while saying, “I got you, I got you, I got you…”
If the above incident just sounds like innocent fun to you, how about reports that Bonds took up multiple lockers for himself in the team clubhouse? It’s no surprise that Bonds regularly alienated himself from teammates, and was a constant no-show at practices and meetings as his star power continued to rise. All of this, and not even one mention yet of Bonds’s role in Major League Baseball’s steroids scandal, in which Bonds was indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury during the BALCO hearings. I mean, what’s not to like?
By all accounts, Brett Favre was a great guy to play with; one of the most fun loving, inspirational team leaders in NFL history. So why include him on such a list? For a player who was building a reputation as one of the game’s all-time greats, Favre did everything he could do to sully that reputation during the final five years of his career. Bogus retirement speeches, turn-coating, and penis textsoh my!
Yes, Favre began his “will he or won’t he” retirement campaign all the way back in 2006; constantly breaking out the waterworks at press conferences, while subsequently holding back the career of a guy (Aaron Rodgers) who is currently shaping up to be one of the all-time great quarterbacks. Favre’s string of prolonged retirement dramathons soured his status in Green Bay (he constantly missed training camp), and after a controversy-riddled year with the New York Jets (see, penis texts), Favre infuriated Cheesehead Nation further by signing with the division rival Minnesota Vikings. When you add in the fact that Favre rarely traveled with his teammates towards the end of his career, the Wrangler-wearing gunslinger is a surefire, first ballot, “me-first” hall-of-famer.
“I play when I want to play.” In one career-defining quote, Moss created a mantra for future generations of selfish professional athletes. Of course, when he did “want to play,” Moss was arguably the most talented wide receiver in NFL history, running full steam down the field and making acrobatic catches in the end zone. When his physical skills diminished, however, it appeared as if Moss didn’t want to play a lot more than he did. What other reason could there be for a player who was traded twice within a single season?
The double swap, of course, happened in 2010, when Moss was traded from the New England Patriots to his first team, the Minnesota Vikings, and then later to the Tennessee Titans. While a lack of effort sealed his fate in New England, praising the very same team and coach (Bill Belichick) that got rid of him did Moss no favors in Minny.
Moss has also been criticized for his lack of effort on the practice field, failure to mentor younger receivers (who he probably just viewed as competition), and dogging it late in gamesas well as the entire 2010 season. “The Freak’s” signature moment came during a 2004 game against the Washington Redskins, when he left the field before the game was over, even though Minnesota still had a chance to recover an onside kick. Moss claimed he didn’t believe his team had a chance to do so. Neither did we, Randy, neither did we.
|No one wants to fist-bump with T.O.|
Oh, T.O., where do we begin? Like Randy Moss and Keyshawn Johnson, Owens lived the life of a diva wide receiver to the hilt. Even though he is sixth all-time in receptions, Owens never seemed pleased with the amount of passes thrown his way. He had a habit of throwing anyone and everyone under the bus following a poor performance and, in effect, burned bridges with all five NFL franchises he played for during his 14-year (and presumably finished) career.
In San Francisco, Owens established his Pro Bowl career catching passes from quarterback Jeff Garcia. So obviously, he spread rumors that Garcia was gay after getting traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Things started great in Philly, as the team made the Super Bowl in 2005. Things ended horribly in Philly when T.O. claimed quarterback Donovan McNabb choked away the Super Bowl, and the receiver was released the following year after constant feuding with coach Andy Reid. Owens continued his whining ways in Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati; so it came as no shock that not a single NFL team representative showed up when T.O. held an open workout session in October to kick off his comeback campaign. Hey, there’s always hope that VH1 will keep renewing The T.O. Show. We wouldn’t put it past them.