Few athletes polarize public opinion like Fury. Some believe he is a role model because of his return from depression and mental health advocacy. However, others remember his comments directed at gay people and women earlier in his career. That’s why he failed to win the BBC Personality of the Year award despite sporting successes. He’s too problematic to receive a mainstream endorsement.
A case in point occurred in 2020. Fury announced that he reached a deal to fight U.K. rival, Anthony Joshua. This was a highly-anticipated bout for the undisputed heavyweight crown. However, controversy arose when Fury thanked Irish gang lord Daniel Kinahan for helping out (via The Times). The Irish government protested and it became a global issue. In the end, the fight between Fury and Joshua never materialized.
McGregor needlessly attracts controversy like a hobby. The Irishman burst onto the scene as an elite athlete. He became the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. However, he increasingly became a caricature of himself. ‘The Notorious’ infamously punched an older man in a bar in Dublin. Another time, he foolishly smashed a fan’s phone off the ground outside a nightclub. He even had a face-off with Machine Gun Kelly at the MTV Video Music Awards (via FOX Sports).
Then there was the time he stormed Brooklyn’s Barclay Center with a posse of 20 goons. Meanwhile, somebody should confiscate his phone because of his drunken tweets. There was a time when McGregor galvanized his entire nation but now they mostly treat him with indifference. It’s disappointing because now people forget how good he was but that’s his fault.
Irving had a tough start to life in Brooklyn after arriving from the Celtics. Boston fans expected him to stay for the long haul but he jumped ship to “the Big Apple.” Then he succumbed to injury for most of his first season and missed key games in the second. Fans hoped that they would see the best of him in his third year alongside teammates James Harden and Kevin Durant.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way they thought. That’s because Irving refused a vaccination to play. According to New York State law, all athletes based in the region had to receive vaccinations to play. Visiting sports stars were an exception. Irving refused and played hardball with the franchise (via Fox News). It left them in a tight spot because they were without one of their best players.
Rodgers was a popular and unproblematic figure for the longest time. Even if NFL fans didn’t like the Packers, they still thought that the QB was a decent man. However, perceptions changed in 2021 when he demanded a trade from Green Bay. This was despite their roster enjoying an enhanced strength in depth. In the end, he agreed to stay until the end of the season.
But the drama didn’t end. NFL rules mandated athletes to receive vaccines. When asked if he had his, Rodgers said that he was “immunized” against the disease. It emerged that he used this choice of words for a reason. Instead of taking the vaccine like the majority of other people, he sought alternative treatments (via N.Y. Times). Needless to say, he fell ill and missed a key game for the Packers.