Many successful sports stars attract a lot of hate. This comes in the form of online abuse or even loud stadium chants. Sometimes their personal actions make this justifiable. But it’s also true that a lot of time it’s totally unreasonable and simply because they’re great athletes (who perhaps beat these fans’ favorite teams at one point).
Today we’re going to take a look at 30 elite sports stars that fans love to hate. Some of these have done nothing wrong except play for another team. Others committed criminal acts that understandably left supporters disgusted. Check out the list below via Ranker.com and Sportscasting.
30. Tom Brady
It’s a reality that winning breeds jealousy. Brady is arguably the greatest NFL quarterback of all time but fans certainly don’t universally love him. He led the Patriots through the most dominant era in their history and infuriated other teams along the way. Brady developed a ruthless reputation because he did whatever it took to win. One of the most obvious examples of this was the DeflateGate scandal.
This made a lot of fans hate him because it was so cynical. Nobody proved that he even gained an advantage from deflating the balls against the Colts. But he still received a four-game ban. However, Brady rebounded in a disgustingly brilliant fashion and won the MVP award. Also, his clean-cut demeanor infuriates many fans who are determined to find a reason to hate him.
There’s no doubt that Davis is an extremely talented boxer. Floyd Mayweather’s protege is one of the hardest-hitting young fighters on the planet. But fans hate him because he is a proven woman beater. Nobody likes anybody who commits domestic abuse. However, Davis showed no qualms about assaulting his girlfriend in front of the watching world.
In 2020, police arrested Davis after he committed battery and domestic violence. A leaked video showed Davis grabbing his girlfriend by the throat and dragging her away. This isn’t the first time that he became embroiled in an unsavory incident either. Now he is a hate figure for many boxing fans because of his disgraceful antics. But it’s much more reasonable to hate Davis than many of the other athletes on this list.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many NBA fans hate George. His playoff record is dismal despite the fact that he is generally brilliant throughout the regular season. Meanwhile, his arrogance also rubs people up the wrong way. Infamously, he called Damian Lillard’s game-winning score ‘a bad shot’ in 2019 when the Blazers defeated the Clippers. But there are more examples.
He also went on an Instagram Live call with Denis Schroder in 2020 where he built up the Clippers’ chances of winning the Championship. Needless to say, the franchise suffered a meltdown and George came off as a fool. He is a very talented athlete but doesn’t show all that much humility. Nowadays, many fans roll their eyes when they hear his name mentioned in basketball conversations.
It’s an undeniable fact that Mayweather was one of the greatest boxers of his era. But he undeniably made a lot of people hate him with his behavior and attitude as well. Firstly, his treatment of women is appalling. In 2012, he went to jail for three months after a domestic assault. This turned a lot of people against him. Then there was the cynical manner in which he forged his career.
Mayweather was a brilliant businessman and avoided putting himself in harm’s way when possible. He delayed fighting Manny Pacquaio until the Filipino was an older and less explosive version of himself. Meanwhile, he fought a young version of Canelo Alvarez before the Mexican star fully developed. While this made sense from a financial perspective, it infuriated boxing purists.
Everybody knows that Ronaldo is one of the most exciting soccer players in the world. But he doesn’t enjoy the universal love of his rival Lionel Messi. In fact, many fans hate Ronaldo because they think that he is too arrogant and greedy. They also believe that he dives more than he should. To be fair, this is true but it’s also the reality that Ronaldo backs it up on the playing field.
Recent allegations of sexual assault also turned many fans against him. The Portuguese superstar continues to perform at a high level deep into his thirties. He deserves respect for his soccer because he is a supreme athlete. His high level of success caused many people to resent him and feel jealous. Maybe fans will look back at him more fondly when he retires, but only time will tell.
The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal rocked MLB after it emerged that the franchise cheated their way to World Series victory. For some reason, Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t strip them of their win, but fans now hate the players involved. A two-time All-Star, Bregman attracted the ire of baseball fans with an ill-timed tweet. He took aim at the New York Yankees after news broke they potentially cheated too.
Bregman didn’t read the room. The third baseman received a lot of online hate and venom because of his franchise’s dubious deeds. It’s important to remember that the players were at the heart of this cheating scandal so it was hypocritical of him to say anything negative about another franchise. But Bregman lit a fire underneath himself instead of just keeping his head down.
Logano experienced a lot of hate when he first made it to the Sprint Cup. It definitely eased off over the years but a lot of fans didn’t like his introduction. That’s because they thought it was a marketing gimmick because he was the youngest driver at the time. They also didn’t like the way that his father fought his public battles in an overbearing manner. Maybe none of this was reasonable, but it was the reality of the situation.
People thought that he was just a rich kid and also a wimp. Then, they resented the fact that he proved his ability on the track. Over the years fans changed their opinion of him because more drivers came along to hate him. However, it’s fair to say that he had a baptism of fire. Nonetheless, Logan’s record speaks for itself as one of NASCAR’s best drivers.
Almost everybody loves dogs. They’re called man’s best friends for a reason. But Vick threw his reputation away with his dog-fighting ring. He was one of the most exciting talents in the NFL. The Falcons QB was an outstanding rushing quarterback who showed coaches the possibility of the role. Then, the investigation came and ruined everything.
Vick went to prison and returned as a figure of hate. His NFL career didn’t end because he joined the Philadelphia Eagles. Philly fans are some of the most notorious in the sport so they were a good match. Vick played well but he was an easy target for opposition supporters. Meanwhile, a lot of animal rights activists resented the fact that the NFL allowed him to continue with his career.
King James may be the greatest player of his generation but not everyone loves him. In fact, a lot of fans search for new reasons to hate him every day. The legendary Lakers star has won everything in the sport but still can’t win over every basketball supporter. He’s an outspoken civil rights activist but they call him a hypocrite and a sellout. That’s because he refuses to criticize Chinese human rights abuses when he sells his shoes.
Another major reason why fans hate him is that he walked out on Cleveland. ‘The Decision’ remains one of the most earth-shattering moments in NBA history and the Cavs remember. While he regained goodwill after returning to help them claim that elusive ring, the offense still rankles. Then, he joined the Lakers and became part of another so-called super team.
It’s easy to see why NFL fans hate Suh. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end is one of the NFL’s dirtiest players of all time. Of course, his own franchise’s supporters love him because he leaves everything on the field. But as Aaron Rodgers discovered, sometimes he leaves a bit too much. He once stamped on Rodgers and later claimed that he didn’t feel anything because of frozen feet.
As a Super Bowl champion and a five-time Pro Bowler, nobody can disrespect Suh’s career. But they don’t have to like him. Suh was handed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fines over the years for his blatant dirty play. In fairness, the sport would be more boring without villains like Suh but this is also a dangerous game. However, he’s never changed his approach and he isn’t going to.
Suarez is one of the best strikers on the planet but he’s also prone to moments of madness. The Uruguayan icon produced some fabulous goals in the Premier League for Liverpool. He also played brilliantly for Barcelona before a move to Atletico Madrid, where he won La Liga. However, he also bit two separate players in different incidents and became embroiled in a racism scandal.
Then there was the time he cynically handballed Asamoah Gyan’s shot off the line at the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay played Ghana for a place in the semifinals and Suarez committed a deliberate to keep his team in the game. The referee issued him a red card for the offense but Uruguay made it through to the next round. His biting and dark arts make him a popular hate figure.
Busch is a phenomenal NASCAR driver but has a very abrasive personality, the reason why many fans hate him today. It’s totally unreasonable because he hasn’t really done anything wrong. But the combination of his aggressiveness on the track and his ability to win doesn’t go down well with everybody. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the world we live in.
Fans accused him of padding his stats by racing against inexperienced truck drivers. They also didn’t appreciate his angry interviews and the time he copied Marshawn Lynch’s famous interview. “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” didn’t sound as good from his mouth. Busch never takes the blame for anything that goes wrong but that’s just his winning mentality in action.
Not everybody is a fan of ‘Big Ben.’ While his place in the Hall of Fame is secure and he is a Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend, he is also a shady character. The reality is that a lot of people look at him and see a criminal after his 2010 suspension that came after a pair of sexual assault allegations that rocked the NFL. While a judge dismissed these cases, people haven’t forgotten.
After his acquittal, Roethlisberger returned to the NFL with a black mark on his reputation. He escaped a criminal conviction but he didn’t fare as well in the people’s court. However, he continued to plow on and remained the Steelers’ starting quarterback for the next decade. But many fans were pleased to see his humiliating deterioration as his career progressed
Williams changed the face of women’s tennis but made a lot of enemies along the way. It’s true that she faced adversity on the way to the top but she hasn’t always helped herself. The American legend has a reputation for temper tantrums. She once called an umpire a terrible person after he made a call against her. This made a lot of fans hate her because it was very unsporting.
Another time she made Naomi Osaka feel incredibly awkward after her Australian Open win in 2018. Fans booed Osaka after Williams stirred them up because she felt slighted. She has been embroiled in a multitude of incidents throughout the years and lost a lot of support because of this. Another reason why people hate her is that she is so successful. It’s as simple as that.
One of the greatest Formula One drivers in history, Hamilton is a real trailblazer. He enjoyed success with McLaren before becoming a superpower with Mercedes. The seven-time champion even received a knighthood for his domination over the sport. But not everybody likes him because he is a very vocal personality. Some fans dislike the way he brings politics into the competition.
Others claim that his car gives him an unfair advantage. They point to the fact that he drives the most advanced vehicle in the championship. However, the reality is that this is just sour grapes and he is a phenomenal driver. It’s sad that people find a need to hate the best athletes in the world but Hamilton doesn’t care. He’s a legend and always will be.
The main reason why people hate Crosby is that he’s very good. Similar to Tom Brady, Crosby enjoyed a long time at the top of his sport. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain won everything there was to win in his sport. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner and has a host of individual awards to his name. It’s easy to see why opponents can’t stand him.
There’s also no denying that he can be a bit annoying. That comes down to his competitiveness but it’s the sort of thing that rubs fans up the wrong way. He’s also infamous for trying to influence referees and for flopping when he takes a hard hit. Of course, the reality is that most of the hate he receives is unreasonable because he’s such a good player. However, sports fans don’t care about that kind of thing.
Brown went down the road of redemption (somewhat) in 2020 when he helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl. But fans still remember the sexual assault case that turned him into damaged goods. In fact, many analysts believed that his career was over after the Patriots cut him loose. But he rebounded and in style. This case was the culmination of a number of unsavory incidents throughout his NFL career.
In 2021, fans booed him off the field because he punched the Titans’ Chris Jackson in a preseason game. The wide receiver is a volatile personality and has caused trouble for multiple franchises. However, it’s the shocking allegations that surrounded his assault case that turned him into a public pariah. He escaped jail but he didn’t dodge the wrath of the public.
It’s no surprise that Harden is the most hated NBA player in Texas. While the rest of the league may not feel so strongly about him, a lot of fans still hold him in contempt. He already attracted hate because he was a ball hog. Many viewers believed that he thought every play should run through him. Then he forced his way out of Houston after they built their team around him.
The Rockets’ loss was Brooklyn’s gain because Harden was a fantastic asset. That’s why Houston fans felt so emotional about the situation. If the former MVP wasn’t so good they wouldn’t have cared. But he was their best player and he made it clear that he didn’t want to be there. The feeling of rejection hurt them a lot and they struggled to forgive their former hero.
It’s a sad reality that success breeds hate for athletes. That’s what Rousey discovered after becoming the UFC’s most successful female athlete and a bonafide superstar. She experienced significant mental health problems because she was under so much pressure. However, fans refused to accept this and criticized her because she refused to do media interviews later in her career.
Meanwhile, many people have tried to rewrite the narrative of her career. They claim that her early dominance comes with an asterisk because she defeated easy opponents. Realistically, she was the best of her generation and the same can be said of any fighter of any gender. Sure, she didn’t always make it easy for herself but she deserves a lot more respect than hate.
Few soccer players inspired as much hate as Terry did throughout his career. The Chelsea legend was an undeniably brilliant athlete but he was a horrible human being. He became embroiled in scandal after scandal and ultimately the F.A. banned him from playing for England. That came after he racially abused Anton Ferdinand, a fellow Premier League star.
Terry infamously slept with the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge. This attracted media attention because Terry committed a terrible betrayal. Fans sneered at him as well because he loved the attention. He didn’t play when the team won the Champion’s League in 2012 but wore his full kit as he lifted the trophy. Furthermore, he orchestrated his retirement from the Premier League in a cringeworthy manner.
Altuve is another Astros star who received a lot of post-scandal hate. While he was less exuberant about his franchise’s misdeeds, he couldn’t escape the wrath of the public. In fact, MLB fans sang abusive chants about the second baseman, even when Houston wasn’t even playing. In 2021, the Yankees played the Blue Jays and this chant filled the stadium.
Altuve is one of the Astros’ most famous faces so it’s no surprise that he experienced such hate. However, it’s a bit unfortunate because he didn’t bring it on himself directly as some of his teammates did. Ultimately being a cheating franchise’s superstar brought his name into disrepute. Ironically, it’s likely that Altuve didn’t even cheat directly but fans don’t care about that.
Rivers enjoyed 17 seasons in the NFL where he was one of the league’s most reliable quarterbacks. But he never won the love of fans in the same way as many of his contemporaries. In fact, many hate him because of his over-expressive manner. His supporters appreciate his emotional exuberance but that’s exactly why so many people couldn’t warm up to him.
His big belt buckles and Stetson hats turned him into a caricature. Meanwhile, he slammed the ball down in fury on a regular basis and threw tantrums when he wasn’t pleased with play calls. Rivers was an extremely tough individual and even played through an ACL tear. There’s no question he gave everything to the cause. But the only way to change fans’ minds was to win a Super Bowl and he never achieved that.
In 2021, Wilson won an unwanted accolade. He became the most hated hockey player on social media. According to Onlinecasino.ca, almost 50% of his impressions skewed negatively. But why do people hate Wilson so much? That’s easy, it’s because he’s one of the dirtiest players in the game. He famously left Zach Anton-Reese with a broken jaw in the Capitals’ Stanley Cup-winning 2018 season.
A few months later he received a 20-game suspension after a brutal assault on Oskar Sundqvist. His long history of head-hunting and on-ice violence left the NHL with no choice but to throw the book at him. This also turned him into one of the league’s most polarizing players. Washington fans love him because he’s on their team but everybody else loathes his vicious nature.
Leonard is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. There’s no doubting his quality but it’s fair to say a lot of people don’t necessarily respect his career path. Everybody loves it when a superstar makes one franchise their home. However, Leonard is a bit of a mercenary and appears focused on playing for the highest bidder. That’s why a lot of San Antonio Spurs fans still hate him.
They thought that he would spend the best years of his career with them. But he decided to pack it in and move North to Toronto. Then he inspired the Raptors to a Championship win before moving back south to Los Angeles. Even today, Spurs fans still boo Leonard because they resent him for leaving. Maybe it’s time for them to move on but memories are long and careers are short.
Covington made the entire nation of Brazil hate him when he referred to its people as ‘filthy animals.’ The American causes chaos wherever he goes and lives up to his nickname. While most people understand that he created a character to polarize the masses, the reality is that it’s tiring. He is extremely cringeworthy and he comes off as trying too hard, which makes him very unlikeable.
Sometimes he takes it too far. That was the case when he posted a photo with fellow UFC fighter Polyana Viana. He wrote a lewd, offensive comment that humiliated the Brazilian fighter. Many of Covington’s fellow fighters also dislike him because they think he is fake. If he stayed true to himself then they would respect him more. But instead, he persists with his annoying persona.
Former Real Madrid captain Ramos became a master of the dark arts. The Spaniard was a brilliant defender but capable of incredibly cynical moments. In 2018, he infamously left Mohammed Salah with a dislocated shoulder following a vicious collision in the Champion’s League final. He escaped without punishment but it was a deliberate foul.
Ramos and his former defensive partner Pepe were two of soccer’s biggest pantomime villains. Opposite fans hate him because he berated referees and targeted opponents. He had a dirty reputation because he broke the record for most red cards in La Liga history. However, his leadership qualities are proven and that’s why PSG took him to Paris in 2021.
Many UFC fans loathe Hardy. They hate the way the promotion shoves the former NFL star in their faces. His violent reputation as a domestic abuser stains his image. Hardy played for the Carolina Panthers and made the Pro Bowl in 2013. But the defensive end’s football career stalled after the Dallas Cowboys cut ties with him. No other NFL franchise wanted him so he decided to become an MMA fighter.
UFC President Dana White saw this as an opportunity to market a mainstream sports star. However, the combination of Hardy’s past and the reality that he isn’t a very good fighter means that fans hate him. He tries too hard to be something that he isn’t and his lack of talent is evident when he faces more technical MMA fighters. Fans won’t miss him when he leaves the promotion.
Another Astros villain, Correa was a ringleader in the sign-stealing scandal. The Yankees hate him after his solo home run against them. Meanwhile, his team lost and 50,000 fans booed him from the rafters. He also antagonized the Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone. But Correa is happy to be the villain and provided a number of cringe-worthy, dark moments in recent times.
He went on an unforgettable rant during the 2020 playoffs and received significant vitriol in response. Furthermore, he told the Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger to ‘shut up’ after the latter claimed he lost respect for the Astros. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to know that everybody in the baseball world lost respect for Houston. Even their own fans felt betrayed.
There’s no question that Durant is one of the most despised basketball players in the NBA. However, he doesn’t care at all. Everything was great for Durant when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But then he chose to join the Golden State Warriors and he lost all of the goodwill he bore. Fans hate him because they think he was a traitor to their cause.
He won rings with the Warriors but it’s not the same because they were a super team. It would have meant more if he achieved that kind of success with the Thunder. In the end, he left his old franchise high and dry. In Durant’s mind, it made sense because he moved to a bigger market with a higher chance of winning. Unfortunately, a lot of NBA fans think that he sold out.
When McGregor rose to superstardom, he took the Irish nation with him. After several one-sided losses, however, now almost everyone dislikes him because of his embarrassing antics. The Notorious suffered numerous arrests for multiple assaults and driving violations. Meanwhile, his online behavior turned many people against him because he takes rivalries too far. In 2021, he insulted Khabib Nurmagamedov’s deceased father before deleting the tweet.
McGregor also infamously punched an older man in a bar in 2019. Then, he bought the bar and banned his victim from returning. Meanwhile, he faced numerous allegations of sexual assault over the years with reported settlements. These days many fans watch his fights because they want to see him lose. He makes it very easy to hate him because he keeps digging a hole for himself.