Forbes Magazine recently conducted a poll of the most hated people in sports. The results are not surprising to anybody with the slightest sense of morality or human decency. They are, however, a terrible reminder of how one of the most honorable and respected franchises in all of sports, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are now just any other football team. Gone are the days when Steeler Nation could hold their heads up high for winning the right way.
The most hated athlete in America continues to be Michael Vick. Beating, torturing, and drowning dogs is not something easily forgiven. Although, it does bring to mind some sweet irony. Last year, the hot rumor making the rounds was that Mike Tomlin was interested in Vick. Tomlin’s mentor, Tony Dungy, serves as Vick’s spiritual adviser and both men grew up in the same section of Virginia. When I broke this news last summer, I recall the howls of protest as many people stomped their feet declaring they’d abandon the Steelers if they ever brought in human garbage such as him.
Oh how times change.
We’ll ignore number two on the list, Al Davis, because the negative feelings directed towards him are because his team sucks, not due to anything criminal. Which brings us to number three on the list, the second most hated athlete in America. More hated than the man who won a Super Bowl via cheating (Bill Belichick). More hated than a team destroying cancer and self-promoting fool (Terrell Owens). More hated than steroid abusers like Manny Ramirez or A-Rod.
Benjamin T. Roethlisberger.
Shocking, I know. The people of this great nation have spoken and, SURPRISE, arrogant jackasses who run around the country raping women are not well-liked. I guess the mountain of unsold #7 jerseys which clutter warehouses because Pittsburgh area stores are smart enough not to sell them (not that anybody with the slightest shred of morality would buy one) should be clue enough. When your hometown fans can’t stand you, one can only imagine what the rest of the country feels. At least T.O. or Belicheat are still beloved by their own fans. Of course, us Pittsburghers have long been wise enough to recognize a scumbag as a scumbag regardless of whether he played for the hometown team (see: Barry Bonds circa 1992). It’s nice to see the rest of the country knows a vile pig when they see one, as well.
Unfortunately for us, we’re still stuck with him until the glorious day when he wears the black and gold no more. A day that for the vast majority of us can’t come soon enough.
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